After all the back and forth of the primaries it now appears that Barack Obama will secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency. His supporters and campaign staff surely think so as they have now begun the first stages of their active campaign against John McCain. To say the least this will be an election that offers some unusual candidates. Neither fits perfectly the standard party positions.
I think Obama is right to begin his campaign against McCain now. If he waits he loses precious time. Obama has been speaking about McCain far more than Hillary Clinton the past few days. I expect this to continue. Obama is even campaigning in states he has already carried in the primaries or in states he lost. He is working to sign up millions of potential Democrats to vote in November. All of this is important to his strategy.
Obama’s campaign manager said on Sunday that "By November, every voter will know that McCain is offering a third Bush term." This appears to be a major strategy in Obama’s campaign. If it works he likely will win. Bush’s approval rating is only 31%, an all-time low for an incumbent. McCain must demonstrate why he is not George W. Bush. I think he can do it but the challenge is there for him.
Obama’s inability to win primaries in large industrial states appears that it will be a problem for him. McCain has a strategy to go after places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio.
Obama does not appeal to working class voters, older people or women voters. His lack of economic and foreign-policy experience also makes him vulnerable.
In some ways it comes down to how willing Americans are to go with a man that they do not know very well for a man who has served the nation for decades and has a long and impressive public record that is moderate. And McCain has demonstrated his ability to work with people who disagree with him again and again. Obama says he can deliver change but McCain
has done it already. Obama has to defend a very liberal voting record while McCain can truly run to the middle on many issues.
Michael Gerson, former speech-writer for President Bush, refers to Obama’s problem as "the Obama narrative." That narrative looked awesome a few months ago but a lot has happened to tarnish it recently. He now looks more like a man of the academic left than of the people. Obama’s campaign people will need to move people away from these questions if possible.
John McCain does exceptionally well with Hispanic voters, having won nearly 70% in Arizona once. Obama has had problems with these voters in the primaries. This could also be a huge issue in the end.
I am convinced of one thing. In a year when Republicans are in deep trouble, and could well loose many seats in the Congress, McCain gives them a chance to win. No other Republican gave them that chance. I also thought Obama was almost unbeatable in a general election a few months ago. That has changed as the primaries have unfolded. We are in for a long race to the finish line. As they say, "In politics a few days can be an eternity sometimes." This will be an interesting race. My prayer is that Christians will remain involved but not as they have been in the past when they virtually identified their (Republican) candidate with the Christian Church so closely. With McCain this is not likely to happen at all since he is not promoting this idea in the least. I, for one, am grateful for this fact.
The only campaign ad I have seen that references "Christian faith," so far, came from Obama last week. In telling his story the ad refers to his coming to embrace the "Christian faith." Who would have thought a year ago that the Democratic candidate would refer to his Christian faith in this way and the Republican would not? Stay tuned. This will get interesting, very interesting.