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QUICK: Obama seems back on track

Two things: Barack Obama is a fast learner, and he’s a man of his word. First, he has learned from people who last week gave him the right advice, and second, he’s sticking by his promise that he would not allow the GOP to do to him what they did to Al Gore and John Kerry.

Obama and his campaign have been dominating the campaign, relentlessly bombarding McCain with everything they’ve got for more than 48 hours. That’s two full news cycles. And Team McCain seems to be getting worried, as they are back to responding to Obama. Two days ago, McCain was confidently saying that “the fundamentals of the US economy are strong”. Today, McCain is acknowledging that, yes, perhaps the economy is indeed in bad shape…

Let’s see if Team Obama can keep it up.

QUICK ADD TO QUICK: But there is a danger. If McCain can somehow manage to neutralize the economy-issue, by turning around and acknowledging the problems and make people believe that he, too, promises real change, then it’s back to square one for Obama.

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Oh ye of low intelligence…

Every four years in America, somebody takes out a cattle prod and slams it up the bum of approximately half the population. Those are the ones who go out to vote during presidential elections. Suddenly, they wake up, pull their heads from the sand, and in their naivete expect the political campaigns to inform them about the candidates and their positions.

Like I said, every four years. But this year’s voter vintage seems exceptionally stupid.

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Are You Experienced?

A new Wall Street Journal / NBC poll (opens as Acrobat .pdf document) out today shows that a majority of voters questioned is comfortable with the idea of having Sarah Palin in the White House as vice-president, despite a “national debate” on whether she’s experienced enough for the job.

That’s very interesting. Because polls have for months been showing that voters are somewhat concerned over Barack Obama’s lack of experience. It is the very reason why Team McCain has from the start been highlighting Obama’s perceived “lack of experience”.  Obama selected Joe Biden, a Senator with 33 years of experience in foreign affairs, to be his running mate. That’s a lot of experience, but it hardly made a difference in the polls.

So what can we conclude from this? That experience is something that only troubles Obama? Or is experience simply not that important to voters?

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QUICK: Politico hits the nail on the head

He’s  been hurt by nagging questions about his leadership experience as the GOP tries to shift the election from a referendum on Republican economic policies to a test of whether Obama is up to the job of president”, wrote the excellent Glenn Thrush of about Barack Obama.

That’s exactly what happened to Kerry in 2004. Team Rove managed to make the election a referendum on Kerry’s character, not about Bush’s wreaking of havoc. If Team Obama allows the same to happen this time, they will lose the election in a grandiose way. And they will have deserved it.

UPDATE: Arianna Huffington also hits the nail on the head. Let’s see if Team Obama will listen. But I’m starting to wonder whether there’s a new problem on the horizon… For political journalists, the “McCain is just like Bush” line is getting a little stale. Being journalists, they’re in want of ‘new’ lines. Obama will thus have to repackage his ‘McCain is Bush’ line in several new ways, or they’ll simply start to ignore it.

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QUICK: Palin pregnancy won’t affect race

The pregnancy of Bristol Palin, McCain’s vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s daughter, will not affect the race. If anything, it will remind some independent-minded mothers of their own teen pregnancies (or their daughters’), and will only bond them to soon-to-be grandmother Palin. But it will probably also turn off a comparable number of christian wingnuts, so in the end, no win-no lose.

(The ‘QUICK’ is a new feature, to offer an opinion on a matter in a fast way. You will be seeing more of these. It’s sort of neo-Twitter – which is cool, and why? Because any word with the keyword ‘neo’ in front of it, is hot!)

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The Pope of Hope is losing

Back from my holidays in Morocco and Spain (it was fun, thank you – we sorta followed the ‘Moorish Trail’), and lo and behold! Barack Obama no longer seems to be in the lead. As the electoral college polls over at the (pro-GOP) and (more neutral) websites show, John McCain has closed the gap. Obama needs to get worried.

The reasons why Obama is losing? It ain’t rocket science:

  1. He has not been able to convince voters that he’s made of the right stuff.
  2. People doubt him.
  3. He’s black. (Well, sorta.) Which doesn’t help, not in the USA anyway.
  4. They’re Americans; they can’t handle the truth!

In short, the four reasons that have been toiling in the back of my head ever since Obama became the Democratic candidate-in-waiting.


Obama’s blunting strategy

There’s a strategy in nuclear war, believe it or not, that’s called Bravo-Romeo-Delta. The B stands for ‘blunting’, R for ‘retardation’, and D for ‘disrupting’. A blunting attack means that you’re trying to blunt the opposition’s capacity to strike you, retardation means you’re trying to take out your opponent’s communication infrastructure, and disruptive means you’re going all-out, in an effort to destroy your opponent’s means to conduct war. The Delta-stage is usually the last, and most destructive phase of nuclear conflict.

Over at RealClearPolitics, the GOP-leaning Tom Bevan looks at Barack Obama’s chances in getting 7 ‘red states’ to come over to his column. Bevan doubts that Obama’s strategy will work. But that’s beside the point. Obama’s campaign team is trying to ‘Bravo-Romeo-Delta’ the McCain team all at once. And the reason is that Obama simply has more money to buy ammunition, and the timeframe to do it.

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Closing the deal

Yesterday, I wrote an article called ‘Deconstructing Obama’. In it, I gave a very short rundown of the only strategy that seems to be left to McCain: go personal. The reason being that Obama has had the initiative since day one, it seems.

But perhaps I was wrong. The tracking polls are starting to show dents in Obama’s armour. Over at Real Clear Politics (I’m always careful with these guys as they’re clearly pro-GOP), the latest rundown of tracking polls shows that although Obama is still leading, the margins seem to be getting smaller, not bigger.

That spells trouble for Obama. Of course, Americans being Americans, I would not be surprised if they once again elect someone who will tear their country even further apart. Because that’s what Republicans do: they pretend to be all Christian morals, but before you know it, they’re out with TV-ads calling people traitors and sodomizing your 3-year-old.

Either way, Obama has not yet been able to close the deal and I’m afraid that that’s because people are still very doubtful of him. Of course, American pigheads being American pigheads, they keep noticing that Obama is black. Perhaps that’s it. It can’t be because of ideological reasons. Because how many average Americans read candidate platforms these days?

I‘ve said from day one, so even before the primaries, that Americans were very capable of electing a carbon copy of George W Bush into office. I also predicted that the election would be very close.

When the new King of Expectation beat the Oracle of Chappaqua, I said I was convinced that any generic Republican would win the election. Now, I’m going back to that position. I’ll be keeping it until Obama truly starts improving his poll numbers and significantly moves away from McCain.

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Deconstructing Obama

John McCain is on the offensive, and for all the wrong reasons. He has to find a way to dent Obama’s armor. For all intents and purposes, Obama is able to keep the initiative, constantly forcing his adversary to react and take on a defensive position. He is almost constantly asked by the media to respond to new Obama ploys.

In an effort to break that spell, McCain seems to have started a new offensive, directly attacking Obama’s persona. That puts him right where team Obama wants him. Unless something odd happens: if this continues, Obama will win the election.

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John Nichols, Obama and Afghanistan

John Nichols of is getting a bit infatuated with Barack Obama. That’s fine, a lot of journalists are being sucked in. John McCain should stop bitching about it – he was yesterday’s sweetheart for a long time, but that’s what he is. Yesterday’s news, just like Hillary Clinton was.

So it was refreshing to see Nichols criticizing Obama for a change in an article pasted here, but unfortunately, Nichols missed the mark. He was right to criticize Obama, but for the wrong reason.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain are right: more troops are needed in Afghanistan, but with one unifying mandate, not two different ones that cancel each other out. As is currently the case.

So I wrote Mr Nichols an email. To which he didn’t respond, of course.