OK, the Olympics are dominating things, but let's "run a few campaign heats" of upcoming political events:
Because the polls show that the race could go either way, neither McCain nor Obama needs to throw a Hail Mary desperation pass such as picking someone from the other party (Sen. Chuck Hagel or Sen. Joe Lieberman). So they will both play it safe. Predictions: Obama will pick Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and McCain will pick former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Bayh is a bore, but a moderate, safe bore who will not make mistakes. He puts normally safe-for-the-GOP Indiana in play and thus stresses McCain’s electoral map and limited campaign budget. Bayh was for the war in Iraq and chaired Hillary’s campaign in the Hoosier state so he should help bridge the gap within the Democratic Party. He also is a moderate, which will take the leftist edge off Obama a bit.
Romney solidifies the GOP and gives McCain a real shot at stealing normally-Democratic Michigan. Romney was vetted during the primaries and improved as a candidate. He is not a great choice — some on the right will object over his Mormonism and flip-flopping — but there are no perfect choices this year for McCain.
Romney will follow the script that Steve Schmidt gives him. He is a total political chameleon; he was once against McCain and now will become his most enthusiastic supporter.
Neither Bayh nor Romney will hurt their tickets and both may give them a state their ticket would not have otherwise won (Indiana for the democrats and Michigan for the GOP).
Hillary is still looking to cause trouble. She and her hubby simply cannot fathom that they lost to an upstart like Obama; they are reveling in Obama’s poor poll performances since June. They are hoping McCain wins in November. Thus their speeches in Denver, while having some pro forma praise for Obama and condemnations of Mccain, will really be the Clintons’ first campaign speeches of the 2012 presidential campaign.
And the media will love this discord!
Obama needs to get on this and prevent trouble or else show he is helpless and cannot even run his own party. Team Obama needs to create the right atmosphere and TV image in Denver. What should that be?
At the 2000 the GOP Convention in Philadelphia team Bush set out to “sell” compassionate conservatism. How? By putting dozens of little African-American kids on the stage. This was not an attempt to get the black community to vote for Bush; that constituency always votes 90 percent for the Democrats.
No, this was a reach-out to moderate suburban whites and to show that Bush wasn’t a harsh, hate-filled conservative, as the so-called mainstream media always portrays him to be.
Similarly this year the Democrats need to craft an image aimed at their weakness: middle-class and working-class white voters who are resistant, so far, to Obama’s sales pitch.
So they need to aim at that audience in Denver.
They need to calm down middle-of-the-roaders who have grave doubts about Obama, his exotic background, his wife and preacher, and all the Muslim stuff floating around.
He needs to assure people that he is a mainstream guy, not some Ivy Leaguer who cannot relate to average people.
So they need a stage filled with those voters. They need the media to interview those voters in Denver and to hear enthusiasm for Obama. They need to aim at so-called Reagan Democrats and convert a high percentage of them into Obama Democrats.
If he can do it, he will win in November. If, however, he fails to do this, he will lose in a year that almost any other Democrat would have won.
The GOP Convention
McCain needs to give a better-than-expected speech. You can bet Schmidt and crew will drill this into McCain through multiple rehearsals.
That is all he has to do.
Because it is now becoming clear: 2008 has become a referendum on Obama when it should have been a referendum on Bush/McCain.
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