Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama Clears the High Bar

The polls might not show it, but the large gap between the Obama and McCain campaigns was illustrated this week, when Obama was presidential, meeting soldiers and foreign leaders, and McCain was being attacked by applesauce and riding in a golf cart, with senior Bush.

Obama has cleared the high bar. Of course, it's been raised again. But Obama will jump over that too, with more details of his economic plan

Meanwhile, McCain has barely cleared the bar where it was first set, but no one has called him on that. He is, after all, a military hero who has had little scrutiny about his ties and his policies. It's all been about Obama. How high can Obama jump?
Looks like he can jump pretty high.
American Prospect: Watching the week's events, I was reminded of the 1990 U.S. Open, when John McEnroe, clearly past his prime and five years removed from his last Grand Slam final, made an improbable run to the semifinals. There he met 18-year-old Pete Sampras, whose cannon serve and freakishly precise ground strokes were so overwhelming that it seemed as though he were some kind of tennis-playing cyborg sent by an advanced race of aliens to humiliate human athletes. By the end of the match, it was clear McEnroe's career would soon be over.

The imbalance is more than just the two campaigns' relative talent at staging photo-ops. The fact is that in every aspect of campaigning, Obama's team is showing more skill and results than that of his more seasoned Republican opponent.

To say this is a reversal of recent history would be an understatement. Over the last few decades, we've gotten used to Republicans running circles around Democrats. In a book that was released in 2006, I note that the 2004 Bush campaign outperformed its opponents in field organizing, the one area at which Democrats had always excelled. As a consequence, the Democrats faced "an extraordinary realization: there is now not a single area of campaigning -- not organizing, not message development, not candidate recruitment and training, not fundraising, and certainly not ruthlessness -- at which Republicans are not demonstrably better than Democrats." read more

And this is interesting: What happened to the republicans? They became campaigners and forgot about governing.
Why was this the case? The most important reason may be that Republicans have almost no interest in governing. Freed from the burden of coming up with new ways to more effectively deliver services that will produce tangible benefits to the public, they put their finest minds to work on the messy business of getting elected and keeping their opponents on the defensive.