Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This may now be moot

From The Left Coaster.

Some of you raise valid points about the need for Obama to run against the Washington Democratic establishment and party in order to appeal to independents and crossover Republicans. He is portraying himself as a Beltway outsider, and his rhetoric clearly indicates he is running as a movement candidate and not yet as the Democratic candidate for president. There are obvious advantages in running against John McCain as an outsider focused on the future against a party and a candidate still held hostage to a failed message and governing philosophy of the present and recent past.

Some of you agree with Obama’s reticence to go right at McCain, saying that it would be contrary to Obama’s message for him to get into a scorched earth battle with McCain. But that battle from the other side has already started, and the GOP’s narrative against Obama is already being seeded in the media. If Obama continues to play to his cheering crowds and continues his self-described reverence for John McCain much longer, he will wake up one day this spring and find that independent voters are starting to listen to the “experience” and “indecisiveness” critiques by McCain, and are starting to buy that narrative. The 2004 experience has shown us that waiting until the summer time to set a narrative against your opponent is a recipe for losing a close race.

If Obama cannot draw distinctions between him and McCain on real issues and their judgment, and between the Democratic Party’s priorities and those of the GOP, then by default you end up allowing your opponent to define you and your party to your detriment. He had no problem doing this to Hillary, and yet speaks of reverence for McCain. He now needs to point out what a Bush third term would look like under a John McCain, and what that means for all Americans here and overseas, and why a Democratic government is important. It means going right at McCain’s critique about experience and indecisiveness in the same way he went after Hillary when she used it against him.

Lastly, for those of you who support Obama’s critique of both parties inside the Beltway because he is appealing to new, independent, disaffected, and crossover voters, I understand your position. But tell me again how that argument constitutes a rallying cry to elect strong Democratic majorities in both houses, to carry out a “movement” mandate without party identification after the importance of the Democratic Party as an agent of change was routinely diminished and undermined during the campaign?

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