August 25, 2008
Taste the Rockies
By Monday, more than 50,000 Democrats, journalists, protesters, and hangers-on will have descended on Denver for the Democratic National Convention. It promises to be an epic event, peaking with Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in front of 76,000 people on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The people of Denver are excited. We hope all the Democrats have a great convention--we really do. If you give us some of those funny hats, we’ll even join in on the fun. We just get a little worried when we’re in the spotlight.
Smothering The Hatchet
The New Republic has asked me what advice I would give to Senator Obama to improve relations with the Clintons during this convention week. To be clear, I believe both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have done much to heal the rifts endemic to a long primary. Hillary has done more than any runner-up in the history of the Democratic Party to support and campaign for the nominee since her concession. She has traveled the country making campaign appearances for Senator Obama, imploring her supporters to vote for him, and successfully urging her donors to support him financially.
Talking Like Bill Clinton
Barack Obama prefers to get economic advice from "academic economists" rather lawyers or former White House aides, according to David Leonhardt's fascinating New York Times article on Obamanomics. But Obama doesn't just talk to academics – he talks like them. For example, Obama told Leonhardt, "The market is the best mechanism ever invented for efficiently allocating resources to maximize production."Academic terminology is a good way to talk to the Times, but not to Democrats in Denver. Nor, contrary to editorials in today's Times and Washington Post, is it a question of "putting some fles
Today on TNR.com, former Hillary communications director Howard Wolfson gives advice to Senator Obama on how to improve relations with the Clintons during this convention week: ...By encouraging Senator Clinton's name to be placed in nomination, Senator Obama has shown real respect for her and her supporters. That roll call will be an important unifying event, and is a credit to Senator Obama's foresight and understanding.There is still work to do on the Bill Clinton front. He feels like the Obama campaign ran against and systematically dismissed his administration's accomplishments.
August 23, 2008
I have long been on record in support of Hillary Clinton for v.p., but it is clear that was never in the offing. Clinton aside, Joe Biden was the best possible pick for Senator Obama. Here's why:The fighting in Georgia underscored the need to bring some foreign policy experience to the ticket. No one does that better than Biden. Absent the situation in Georgia, Virginia Governor Kaine might have been the pick--in effect Vladimir Putin vetoed him.It's critical that the veep be willing and able to take an axe or at least an icepick to the presidential candidate of the other party.
That's the Ticket!
It’s a great pick! He connects with blue-collar voters and reassures voters worried about Barack Obama’s foreign policy inexperience. It’s a lousy pick! He’s prone to gaffes and, as a senior member of the Senate, steps on the message of change.In the next few days, pundits will be obsessing over the political impact of putting Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket. But the more important questions are the more tangible ones. Is Biden qualified to serve as an advisor to the president and, in an emergency, his stand-in?
Biden: A Reassuring Pick
I am not sure whether Senator Barack Obama made the best political move in choosing Senator Joe Biden as his vice-president. Hillary Clinton would have probably helped more; and, perhaps, the bland Evan Bayh, too, in the battleground Midwest. And choosing Biden will force Obama to retool his political message of anti-Washington outsider and will make it more difficult to attack John McCain’s judgement for supporting the Iraq War, since Biden did as well.
One obvious hazard of picking a veteran like Joe Biden is that it complicates Barack Obama's promise to "change the culture of Washington." The campaign, of course, has thought of that, too.
August 22, 2008
The August Jinx
WASHINGTON--Don't worry, Democrats, the worst of August is over. Like baseball players, political people are superstitious. In the Democratic imagination, August is the month when Republican presidential candidates destroy their opponents with clever, underhanded attacks that meet with ineffectual responses. Democrats are now petrified that if John Kerry was Swift-boated in August 2004, Barack Obama was Paris-Hiltoned this summer, and there will be no coming back. Never mind that this analysis is based on the experience of exactly one election. Superstitions are not necessarily rational.
Mock a presidential candidate, and you're participating in a venerable tradition. Mock a popular website, especially if your own design skills aren't as impressive, and you're cruising for a bruising.