Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pennsylvania Here We Come!

So this latest super Tuesday has not resolved the nomination. I guess this should be really no surprise, as Hillary has much more experience in a negative down and dirty campaign. In a way, I guess this is a validation of her point that the Democratic nominee must be ready for the opposition to go very negative. She's right of course. We know that the Republican machine will do pretty much anything legal (and much that is not) in order to gain the spoils of electoral victory.

Hillary's "3:00 AM" ad is pretty mild stuff compared to the this
ad against Harold Ford's run for senate. (Harold is young, Black and single, and was running for office in the South, so the visual of the white woman with no visible clothing, saying "Harold, call me" was pretty inflammatory). And in any case, the "3:00 am" ad is just a preview of what McCain will run against Obama in the general. So maybe Hillary has done Obama a favor by running this ad.

What saddens me, is that in many voter's minds, Obama's unwillingness to be more negative than Hillary equates with a weakness on foreign policy. Specifically, they see the willingness to negatively campaign as being tough. And they see toughness as being the required trait to keep us safe from "the terrorists." The problem is that in order to defend against this sort of attack, Obama has to go negative. In going negative, he kills some of the goodwill that he has built, and makes himself seem like the lying, duplicitous politician he's said he ain't.

Maybe they are on to something. Maybe the desire to campaign in a positive manner correlates to a desire to NOT use the military to solve every problem. Perhaps being tough means not engaging in "shoot first, ask questions later" diplomacy. The Obama campaign needs to figure out how to make that point in a pithy 30 second ad. And they need to do it quick!

On the other hand, maybe that's a good reason for an Obama - Clinton ticket. Obama gets to be the good guy, the inspirational front man, and Clinton gets to be the viscous attack dog of a VP candidate. That could work! It would allows a rapid unification of the Democratic party, it would play to both candidate's strengths. The only downside is that Clinton would bring out the hard-core republican base. But maybe if she's the VP candidate and not the Presidential candidate, they won't be so excited.

Interesting stuff.

In the mean time, I am going to start calling people in my home state of Pennsylvania. We need em to vote, and in big numbers. PA isgoing to be tough to win, but it is critically important.

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