Friday, July 25, 2008

Why is the Presidential race so close?

The short answer is that it's only July, and Americans simply aren't paying much attention to politics right now. But Steve Benen has reason to be nervous:

So why am I still a nervous-nelly? Because Obama’s been running a
nearly-flawless campaign in a cycle in which Americans are practically desperate
to vote for a Democrat. McCain, burdened by gaffes, flip-flops, and surrogate
scandals, has been a bumbling, incoherent candidate, who can’t seem to do
anything right.
He notes in the same post that McCain is currently spending heavily in key battleground states, while Obama is not, choosing to save his money a little longer. This must surely have something to do with new poll numbers that show him losing ground to McCain in states like Minnesota and Colorado.

Still, he shouldn't get complacent. His world tour bought him a lot of fawning press coverage and unbeatable imagery of hundreds of thousands of Berliners turning out to see him, but the real battle is going to take place domestically. American voters are generally quite insular and don't usually care much about foreign policy...unless there is a clear and present danger to national security (in which case they want to confront it) or they are stuck in an unpopular war like Iraq or Vietnam (in which case they want to get out as soon as possible; misconceptions about the first issue usually lead to the second). I don't know how much Obama's wildly successful foreign trip will impress laid-off factory workers in Michigan or suspicious gun owners in Ohio, since it was mainly about building and strengthening diplomatic relationships, and possibly increasing international engagement, something that many Americans are wary of.

In any case, here's yet more idiocy from the McCain campaign:

In his interview with NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, which will air on NBC's Nightly News tonight, McCain questions whether Obama should have given a speech in Berlin before becoming president.

"I would rather speak at a rally or a political gathering any place outside of the country after I am president of the United States," McCain told O'Donnell.

"But that's a judgment that Sen. Obama and the American people will make."
Yeah, it's not like McMaverick's given any speeches outside the US during this campaign.[/snark]

However, on June 20, McCain himself gave a speech in Canada — to the Economic
Club of Canada — in which he applauded NAFTA’s successes. An implicit message
behind that speech was that Obama had been critical of the trade accord. Also,
McCain’s trip to Canada was paid for by the campaign.
Also, Colombia and Mexico, this very month.

Another senior moment, or was he just being disingenuous?

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