The Politics of Delusion
Yesterday, a commenter said:
...[Obama] doesn't just give good speeches, he writes good speeches and that is the key. He wrote that speech on race and understands the issues well.
Think what a debate between him and Mccain will be like, he will distroy him.
I have a different view of Presidential elections based on past experience. The Presidency is not going to be won by the candidate with the best speech or the best debate performance (think Al Gore, John Kerry v. George Bush). Anyone who thinks that is unfortunately oblivious to what happened in the last two Presidential elections. The conservative-leaning traditional media will determine the next President (the media that many "progressive" bloggers and activists have co-opted in this primary season just because it happens to hate Hillary Clinton). If you've not been paying attention, John McCain continues to have the highest favorables despite one damaging story after another coming out about him in the past weeks. There's a reason for that. He is a press corpse favorite - Teflon's Teflon. My prediction, having observed how right-wing conservatives work the media to their advantage (Bob Somerby has the latest example), is that Sen. McCain will remain the press corpse favorite if Sen. Obama becomes the nominee. Additionally, the DNC is dramatically hurting for $ compared to the RNC and is not focusing as much attention on defining McCain now in the 50 states - at a time when Obama and Clinton are duking it out. This will prove to be a big problem in the general election.
I have noticed some Obama supporters are dismissive of the Wright fiasco saying it is not going to hurt him long-term. This is wishful thinking. I still believe it is unlikely to hurt him that much in the primary and nomination primarily because of the media's (and part of the progressive blogosphere's) Clinton-hatred. However, over time, as the GOP mainstreams the fiasco and Obama's poor response to it (including the glaring contradictions in his statements and behavior), the Wright situation will most definitely hurt him in the general election campaign and hurt the Democratic party as well. (Most people don't realize that the Swift Boat Veterans attack against Kerry was mainstreamed over months, not days). For example, here's just a tiny sample of what we can expect to see in the general election from 527s and Republican front groups - via Marc Ambinder (and we've barely just started with the GOP's "vetting" of Sen. Obama, mind you):
A couple of final points. I recommend Turkana's post "And Speaking of Dirty Tricks" for those who haven't read it. The Obama campaign lost any remaining credibility it had on the Wright fiasco by sending the photo of Bill Clinton with Jeremiah Wright to the media, even though the Clinton campaign scrupulously avoided bringing up the story with the media until then. With this astoundingly stupid act, Sen. Obama and his dumb advisors have now made his association with Wright completely fair game. They will pay for this mistake and the Democratic party will pay for it dearly as well if he becomes the nominee.
P.S. I don't need to be reminded that there will be a million videos about Sen. Clinton and how she murdered XYZ or associated with ABC and so on. I already know that and I expected no less since I know a thing or two about how elections against Republicans work. The issue is the delusion amongst some of Obama's supporters that he's somehow going to have a much better chance of winning the Presidency based on "issues" and "debates" and "speeches". He's not.