Things I know about the general election:

1. McCain and his campaign overstate the degree to which the American people know his bio.
2. McCain and his campaign circulate with too many politicos who remember what a thorn he has been in Bush's side. The American people don't remember.
3. The map will largely be the same. I've said this for the last 6 months until I was blue in the face, while many very smart people were saying silly things about the map was going to change.
4. If Obama is elected president, he will rival Jimmy Carter for incompetent governing (although let's hope he deregulates some things like Jimmy...though don't bet on Obama having any libertarian impulses.) and serve only one term.
5. As I've said many times, Obama has much more variability as a general election candidate than any candidate I can remember. He could crash and burn worse than Dukakis, or he could sweep Democrats to 60 votes in the Senate. Still, in terms of probability, Obama benefits from such a fantastically fabulous political climate for Democrats that he is a slight favorite. If he weren't such a miserable general election candidate, he'd be a shoo-in. [In fairness, Edwards and Clinton are also pretty bad general election candidates.]
6. I do not envy McCain's dance with Bush. He needs to run as far away as possible. If I were running the McCain campaign, I would be looking for every single potential break I could have with Bush.
7. Barack Obama will continue to get a pass on being the most liberal member of the Senate. Can you imagine if the Republicans nominated Tom Coburn? Every article would declare that the nominee was known as an "arch-conservative." Barack Obama gets to slip by without the liberal label. Ladies and gentleman, the political media of America. Heart them.
8. McCain has a bit of variability in him as a candidate as well. It is not impossible that he could blow up.
9. McCain brings quite a bit of variability as president. He could be fantastic as president, he could be as bad as Jimmy Carter or Harding, or he could die in office after a year.
10. I will shed no tears if McCain loses, though I will fear for my country.
11. It would be very exciting to have a black president. The very likely prospect of the first black president being an epic failure is a sad inherent risk to that excitement.
12. Our first view of President Obama are his actions on campaign finance. Remember that pledge he made to take public money?
13. Number 13 is something I have no idea about. Barack Obama has arguably organized his campaign around the idea that he can transcend politics in order to get things done ("Yes We Can"/"Change We Can Believe In"). Yet, arguably, he has never done this in his life. Yes, there is a Republican state senator he's best buds with (but didn't actually like him enough to endorse him, if I recall correctly). John McCain has an excellent track record of working across the aisle to get things done. Comparing the time while they have both been senators provides a massive contrast.

When you organize your campaign around a flawed principle, you very well might lose. (John Kerry: I served in Vietnam; Hillary Clinton's "ready on day 1", HW Bush's experience.)

If I get around to it, maybe I'll discuss some of these points.

Posted by Evan @ 06/09/08 03:18 AM


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