Last post, I made the suggestion that the Dems need to change their campaign style to bring Joe Biden and Barack Obama together, to start making big announcements early and chart their own course and ignore McCain and Palin. With Palin being quite as awful as she is in terms of her message (but great at campaigning) it seems that the Dems can outflank the GOP with sensible concentration on the first 100 days of the Obama Administration.
My friend Iain Gill suggested that my post betrayed a slight smugeness about an assured victory; in fact, if that’s the way it came over, I’m a worse writer than I thought. I think Obama can blow the McCain – Palin campaign apart if he’d just stick to the things that made him popular with the nation before the P-bomb was dropped on his acceptance speech.
The ‘more of the same’ thing is dangerous as a campaign tool, because it alienates the ‘stay the course’ voters who think the President is a good man in difficult times (though of course it’s not certain how many of those there are, or whether that’re open to the Obama message anyway). A much better solution, which may be opening up now, might be ‘even worse’.
For all Bush’s myriad faults, he didn’t undo Roe v Wade, and he was woolly around alternative lifestyle rights, partially because he didn’t have time to handle them effectively. Palin-McCain, on the other hand, could be astoundingly dangerous; they could easily be painted as enemies of diversity, enemies of long fought-for rights, and a clear, present danger to disadvantaged groups. By painting Bush as a buffoon, but Palin and McCain as forces for real regression, the danger lies entirely with McCain – Palin to define what they are; in so doing, the Dem mainstream can be galvanised and woken up.
Obama still looks punch-drunk from the Palin media whammy. Perhaps by forcing the republicans to define themselves, they can be forced to define the election as one between progress on the path to the American Dream and regression.