Monday, August 11, 2008

Obama’s Coattails Just Got a Little Shorter

Original Link:

By Ani

According to The Washington Times’ article Centrist Voters Tilt from Obama:

Sen. Barack Obama is doing what Republicans once thought only a presidential candidacy by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton could do – united the right and center.

State Republican Party leaders interviewed by The Washington Times said fear of a far-left Obama presidency is warming once-skeptical voters to Sen. John McCain, fueling growing enthusiasm among Republicans that Mr. McCain’s more aggressive campaigning can lead to victory.

“It appears that the more that Obama speaks, the more afraid folks in South Carolina get,” said Spartanburg County Republican Party Chairman Rick Beltram. “We are seeing ‘die-hard’ Democrats tell us that Obama is not their man.

“We are expecting the white Democrats to be fleeing the Democratic ship when November 4 comes around – plus, the Democratic candidate [Bob Conley] that is running against Senator [Lindsey] Graham is also running away from the Democrats, and you can quote me on that,” Mr. Beltram said.

Holy Cow, Batman! This is one of the states Howard Dean said he could turn blue in the fall!!

Look, this is an article quoting some state party leaders and the conventions have not happened yet; all too true. But one of the DNC’s main reasons for pushing Obama was their confidence in picking up seats for down ticket Dems. That Democratic candidate for Senator Bob Conley is “running away from the Democrats” does not bode well. And we know he is not only one to have done so these last couple of months.

In union-dominated Michigan, a state targeted by both major parties, state Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis said he is seeing signs that independents and Reagan Democrats are moving toward Mr. McCain.

“People who may have been apprehensive about McCain now see this race as potentially winnable,” Mr. Anuzis said.

What accounts for this development?

Republicans credit Mr. McCain’s gains in recent weeks partly to the campaign’s new feisty, hard-hitting ads painting Mr. Obama as a self-absorbed celebrity who ducks meetings with wounded American troops and wants to raise taxes.

Couple that with the fact that foreign policy issues are coming to the fore once again with Russia attacking Georgia – McCain was widely touted as having his 3 A.M. moment this weekend and having been prescient on his warning about the dangers of Putin.

If Senator Clinton were still in the race, McCain would not be able to take advantage of this right now. Hillary would be way out in front with a specific call to action and policy recommendation – unlike Obama, making some vague, generalized statement about this new conflict, on his way to yet another vacation.

“People are getting more enthusiastic about McCain because he is getting more aggressive toward Obama, which makes Republicans and conservatives believe McCain actually can win,” said Jeffrey M. Frederick, the newly elected Republican Party chairman in Virginia.

“…the more people hear about Obama, the more enthusiastic they get about McCain,” Mr. Frederick said.

Uh. Isn’t it supposed to be the opposite? The more you hear about Obama, the more you like? Apparently as more people get to know the real Senator Obama, his poll numbers are sinking. Even his hugely touted foreign tour didn’t give him a bump.

People used to think they ‘hated’ Hillary – certainly reflecting the after-effects of 15 years of incessant media brainwashing by the Republican machine that did not want this lady to succeed – either with universal health care or any progressive agenda. She was labeled in the worst possible terms. Over the years, without knowing why, people started to think they agreed with those unfair assessments.

But a surprising thing happened out on the campaign trail – particularly in the last three months of the primary. Voters got to know her and hear her on the stump, and many were converted. In fact, some voters were left scratching their heads as to where this initial reputation came from. She also won a grudging respect from many on the Republican side who had previously been her detractors. I personally know many Republicans who had every intention of voting for her in November, confident of her preparedness, smarts on the economy as well as feeling safe with her centrist foreign policy.

In Indiana for example, despite being massively outspent, despite the negative drumbeat in the media and the dirty snarks of Pelosi et al, and no matter what voting shenanigans happened in the state, Hillary pulled out a win. Obama was supposed to take Indiana comfortably. It is, after all, his neighboring state. And now…:

“It’s the polls - it’s definitely happening,” said [Indiana] state Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican from Elkhart. “But it’s not that these hard-core conservatives I talked with at the county fair here are softening their attitudes toward McCain. They’re sliding toward him out of fear of a liberal Obama presidency, and they think McCain can win.”

In Michigan, Mr. Anuzis said, “the idea that McCain all of a sudden could win is generating a degree of excitement and involvement among people, many of whom may not have been very excited or motivated by McCain at the time he locked up the nomination.”

Jay Kenworthy, communications director for the Indiana Republican Party, said his state’s voters are getting to know Mr. Obama and not liking what they see. “We hear people saying, ‘McCain may not have been my guy, but we can’t afford Obama,’” he said.

But where are all those ‘Obamicans’ we kept hearing about back in February? It just might turn out they were just being “Democrats for a day” after all.

Mr. Kenworthy said a tax raiser who is weak on national defense - the image Republicans are trying to create for Mr. Obama - is “not a good combination in the Hoosier state.”

These are battleground states: South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Michigan. Wow.

How about Nevada?

“McCain is attracting independents and Hillary Democrats. The more time he spends in Nevada, the more people like him. It’s a small state and easy to reach out to voters,” [Nevada Republican Party Chairman Sue Lowden] said.

Uh oh.

Down ticket Democrats may have some reason to worry. Senator Obama’s fundraising may not be the continuing cornucopia his campaign bragged about. In the past week, I have received six fundraising letters from him. Just me. Obviously, I’m not sending him a dime. Why are they pushing so hard if they’re rolling in it? Even if he has plenty of dough, since Senator Obama decided to forego public financing, those running in state races have expressed unhappiness because his need to fundraise for his own election bid is cutting into contributions they might otherwise receive. Further, his policies, to the extent that he can stick to them, don’t seem to be registering very well out in the heartland.

It looks like the DNC was brainwashed, too, when it bought into the Clinton Derangement Syndrome that labeled Hillary as “divisive and polarizing” – turns out, she may not be after all. In fact, she would have been – and still is – the stronger choice. Just as she always predicted.

Divisive and polarizing?

It looks like Senator Obama may wind up being the man stuck with that moniker.

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