- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FALLING INTO A TRAP

“The brilliance of the McCain strategy and messaging is that it includes a trap for Obama,” Democratic political consultant Joe Trippi writes at JoeTrippi.com.

“To push back on the McCain claim of ‘country first’ and ‘the original mavericks who will shake up Washington’ the Obama campaign’s attack of ‘four more years of George Bush‘ becomes a problem. In a country that yearns for post-partisan change, the Obama campaign risks sounding too partisan and like more of the same,” Mr. Trippi said.

“It would not surprise me if in one of the debates, Obama or Biden uses the ‘You voted with George Bush and supported him 93 percent of the time’ and it’s John McCain that retorts ‘that’s the kind of partisan attack the American people are sick of.’

“What worked for Obama is now working for McCain. The important lesson for the Obama campaign is that the Clinton campaign kept looking at its research, kept stressing experience and did not adjust until it was too late. The McCain campaign has not only adjusted to the Obama message, they have changed the terrain.

“Now the Obama campaign and its allies need to understand that in arguing that John McCain represents a third term of George Bush and the GOP agenda, it is the Obama campaign that risks sounding partisan in a country that yearns for the post-partisanship of ‘country first’ and ‘shaking things up in Washington.’”

FEMINISTS GONE WILD

“Left-wing feminists have a hard time dealing with strong, successful conservative women in politics such as Margaret Thatcher. Sarah Palin seems to have truly unhinged more than a few, eliciting a stream of vicious, often misogynist invective,” Cathy Young writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“On Salon.com last week, Cintra Wilson branded her a ‘Christian Stepford Wife’ and a ‘Republican blow-up doll.’ Wendy Doniger, religion professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, added on the Washington Post blog, ‘Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.’

“You’d think that, whether or not they agree with her politics, feminists would at least applaud Mrs. Palin as a living example of one of their core principles: a woman’s right to have a career and a family. Yet some feminists unabashedly suggest that her decision to seek the vice presidency makes her a bad and selfish mother. Others argue that she is bad for working mothers because she’s just too good at having it all,” the writer said.

“In the Boston Globe on Friday, columnist Ellen Goodman frets that Mrs. Palin is a ‘supermom’ whose supporters ‘think a woman can have it all as long as she can do it all … by herself.’ In fact, Sarah Palin is doing it with the help of her husband Todd, who is currently on leave from his job as an oil worker. But Ms. Goodman’s problem is that ‘she doesn’t need anything from anyone outside the family. She isn’t lobbying for, say, maternity leave, equal pay, or universal pre-K.’”

BASIC TREND

“The two party conventions and the trend of recent events have moved America more toward the Republican Party than it has been at any time this year, data from the latest Fox News survey suggest. The nation still trends Democratic, but less so than it has during this entire election season,” Dick Morris and Eileen McGann write in the New York Post.

“The most dramatic manifestation of this reversal is, of course, in the head-to-head ballot test of John McCain vs. Barack Obama. While Fox News had Obama ahead by 42-39 in its August 19-20 survey, its poll for September 8-9 shows McCain ahead by 45-42. Obama hasn’t changed, but McCain has moved up six points,” the writers said.

“It’s way too early for slight changes in the head-to-head ballot test to matter, but there has been a basic trend away from the Democratic Party in recent months. In an April 28-29 sample, 44 percent of voters said they were Democrats, while only 30 percent said they were Republicans.

“That 14-point gap in favor of the Democrats closed to a 9-point gap at the end of July and collapsed to only 7 points by September 8-9. Now, 41 percent say they’re Democrats, while 34 percent identify themselves as Republicans. It’s still a Democratic year, but by only half as much as it was four months ago.”

VOLATILE OHIO

“A striking feature of the University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll, which was released Friday, was that while McCain is winning the support of 90 percent of Republican voters, Obama is only picking up 82 percent of the Democrats,” Walter Shapiro writes at www.salon.com.

“These differing levels of party loyalty — which might (note the conditional tense) be attributed to Palin for the Republicans and Obama’s African-American heritage on the Democratic side — partly explain why McCain leads 48 to 44 percent in the survey. (A Quinnipiac University poll gave Obama a 49-44 edge in Ohio over McCain, which underscores why slavishly following the gyrating surveys can be an exercise in frustration.)

“But polls, which tend to put the undecided vote in single digits, may understate the volatility of the race. In the Ohio Poll, 19 percent of the state’s voters said that they could change their minds before Election Day and another 4 percent were undecided. ‘I think voters know less at this point about Obama than they do about McCain,’ said Eric Rademacher, the co-director of the Ohio Poll. ‘The people who were saying that they could change their minds are those who normally don’t pay attention to politics until after the convention.’ ”

LOOKS FAMILIAR

Barack Obama has turned into Michael Dukakis, John Kerry and Al Gore. Sarah Palin has turned into Ronald Reagan,” John Brummett writes in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“Thus the electoral map looks fairly typically red where it counts and blue where it doesn’t,” Mr. Brummett said.

“Ohio and Florida show up red, which, unless Colorado and Nevada and New Mexico flip en masse from red to blue and are bigger than I think, pretty much means the old ball game.

“Democrats win the cities. John McCain and the moose-hunter take all that space in between.

“For all the talk of newness and history-making, we’ve seen this presidential race before.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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