Election 2008 – Random Political Thoughts
Obama’s World Tour – I was thinking of a way to start this column in any other way imaginable, but it is next to impossible. All of the political oxygen has left the country for the week and that has got to be driving the McCain campaign bonkers. As I wrote in my previous column this week, the Berlin speech has got to be an excellent one in order for this July trip to be a success. Obama has to be detailed in how he expects to rebuild the trans-Atlantic relationship; the diplomatic requirements that will be expected from both the European and American sides. All of the photo ops in the world won’t help him if he does not deliver the goods tomorrow.
McCain’s invisibility – The pure fact that his campaign did not plan for this press blackout is not a good sign for Team McCain. How many weeks did they have to plan for this inevitability? President George H.W. Bush went through the same scenario in 1992 when Bill Clinton made his first post-primary foreign visit in 1992 (and he was the President). If the lack of press coverage was a real issue, it would seem that the campaign would have made a series of VP selection announcements this week, perhaps ending with McCain’s choice of VP on the day of Obama’s speech.
Dobson’s reversal toward McCain – It is no mystery that Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family) and John McCain do not see eye-to-eye. A few days ago Dobson said “I never thought I would hear myself saying this…While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might.” The evangelical movement is not happy with either candidate but it seems to be moving in McCain’s favor. The move was expected, but the more interesting question is how much the evangelical Christian voting block will split in November. It will depend on how you define pro-life; reducing abortions or saving American soldiers and Iraqi lives by ending the war?
The bonehead play of the week: “Brandenburg-gate.” Some poor press advance person probably got fired this week because they didn’t know their presidential history and made a poor decision (that is what happens when your staff is mostly under 30 – ask Bill Clinton). While it is always good to look for the good camera shot for your candidate, a great shot can be a poor political decision. The advance team made the mistake of assuming Obama’s popularity in Germany should afford him a speaking engagement at the Brandenburg Gate and totally missed the historic connection between the venue and the President of The United States. The decision may cause Obama perception problems concerning arrogance in November…it has already caused unneeded tension with the German political leadership, and more importantly, may have raised a red flag with swing voters in purple states.