Obama Strategy for Destruction of Conservatism

>> Friday, August 29, 2008

The general dynamics of the campaign narrative have been a feature of the campaign. There has been a fight going on over the type of strategy that Obama should run. Most Dems are so petrified of losing that they want to pursue what they feel is the least risky strategy, tie everything to Bush and let him sink McCain like an anchor. The greater part of the blogosphere has been insistent that the Dems could win only if the election is a referendum on Bush. Anything else and McCain wins. I have argued something different.

I have argued that Obama has been more than willing to allow the campaign to be about him. In this way it is more than a simple rejection of bush in a retrospective manner, it is an embarrassing of Obama. This is what i wrote back on Aug 2,

The real debate here is about how Obama should be placed in the meta-narrative of the election. One school of thought is that after the last eight years everything should be about how awful Bush has been and how McCain is just like Bush. It is a theory based around retrospective voting. This school wants the electorate to punish the ruling party by rejecting its policies and choosing the other guy. I think it is a strategy formed on desperation. It is a strategy from a party out of power that is so scared of losing that any way back into power is ok. Do not get me wrong winning is the goal but to govern with a progressive majority and to gain a mandate Obama needs to do more.

There is a very good reason Obama would want the election to be about him. If it is a referendum on him and his Ideas, the win becomes more powerful. It is not merely a rejection of the other but an embracing of Obama. An Obama win when the election is about him shows that the American people want his ideas and policies and that Congress should get in line and pass them. If there is any hope for a transformative election I think that the election needs to be more about the prospective. Prospective voting would be an acknowledgment that Obama is the right direction.

When it comes down to it I think that people vote on the future not the past making the current Obama strategy more sound. It will not leave questions about what Obama plans to do. No lingering, "Yeah Bush Sucks, but what do you plan to do?" Building a strategy around the future is better than building one around the past. It may be a little more risky if only because there is so much to punish the GOP over but the reward is greater. Obama also seems like the type of person who wants to win on his own merits and gain the confirmation that he is being chosen because of who he is and his policies.

Kevin Drum now at Mother Jones echoed my thoughts today.

Tonight Obama made a start on a campaign that's based not just on talking points (though there will be plenty of those), but on a sustained assault on modern conservatism and a sustained defense of modern liberalism.

But it was only a start. He needs to keep pressing both halves of that game plan, even if it means occasionally saying some hard things. If he takes a few chances and does that, though, he'll not only win, he'll win with a public behind him that's actively sold on a genuinely liberal agenda. This is why conservatives have so far been apoplectic about his speech tonight: if he continues down this road, and wins, they know that he'll leave movement conservatism in tatters. He is, at least potentially, the most dangerous politician they've ever faced.

It is a more risky strategy than the one that most dems would prefer, the simple, "Bush sucks. Therefore, Republicans suck. McCain is a Republican. McCain sucks" election strategy. Obama's definitely has a higher reward and that reward is the destruction of movement conservatism.

The reason that i bring all of this back up is that Barack Obama is making sure this happens with his focus on the policies of John McCain. He is working to take out all the personal aspects of the campaign. That is why he went out of his way to deny something most dems hold true, namely that John McCain takes his positions for political reasons. It is not even that controversial as he has reversed on 75 plus issues during his campaign. Obama though wants to have the public support to enact his health care and other domestic plans. This can only come with the referendum on ideas he is trying to force.

Kevin believes that this tact will make it harder for McCain to justify his campaign of dishonor. I disagree and think it only gets worse. When faced with obstacles McCain is not likely to change course he is likely to escalate. The GOP has one mode and that is "any thing to win". That means that any slander they can think of will be thrown out there. Republicans dont adapt they escalate. The question then becomes not only what the voters decide to do but what does the media want to do?

They have a long standing love affair with the Mythic Maverick. This has started to fray around the edges as he cut down access and ran a sleazy campaign. However, it still exists, McCain is still graded on a curve and some still wonder why McCain lets his advisers dictate his actions. Obama's speech and strategy might even get us some media reform. Who knows what could happen if they start covering issues?

Over all i think Obama is going for the Big Win the transformative win. If he gets it he will change America and the results should be something to behold.


O-le,O-le, O-le, O-le! O-le, O-le!

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