Monday, September 8, 2008

Signs of the Apocalypse: Hillary unwilling to attack Palin; Obama campaign abandoning 50-state strategy

From The Australian [h/t Real World Libertarian], we discover first that Senator Hillary Clinton has declined to become a major anti-Sarah Palin surrogate for the Barack Obama campaign (perhaps because she recalls that this is exactly the strategy Obama used against her):

HILLARY Clinton may be the most obvious choice to throw into the ring against the new darling of American politics, Sarah Palin, but the failed Democratic presidential candidate is refusing the job.

"We're not going to be anybody's attack dog against Sarah Palin," a Clinton insider said yesterday....

Her refusal to roll up her sleeves against Palin, who describes herself as "a pit bull with lipstick", has already come under questioning by Democratic apparatchiks. "The strategic imperative right now is to do something about Palin and prevent her cutting through the race," said Democratic strategist Tad Devine.

This in reference to

...the roster of prominent women deployed by Obama to such good effect against Clinton herself during the primary campaign.

Clinton will be stumping in blue-collar areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

In the same article, we discover that the Obama campaign has--without fanfare--dropped the 50-state strategy that was going to take the fight to Senator John McCain, forcing him to defend formerly safe areas like Georgia or North Carolina:

Just before Palin's selection, David Plouffe, Obama's astute campaign manager, looked at the electoral map of the US and declared the national polls less important than the 18 battleground states where Obama had the ground troops, enthusiasm and money to win.

Palin's emergence has upset those calculations and forced the Obama campaign for the first time to re-examine its successful campaign tactics. Obama now has a great need to drive up voter turnout among black people and the young, while staunching defections to McCain from blue-collar workers and women.

On New Year's Day 2008 the two Presidential candidates left slugging it out in September were not to have been Barack Obama and John McCain. The spring primary campaigns, I would hope, have cured us of the strange addiction to conventional wisdom.

Palin's selection as McCain's VP has--for better or worse--wrenched the race into an entirely new direction: one that the Obama camp clearly did not foresee. That's how they beat Clinton: they kept her campaign off balance throughout the entire spring, until it was too late to change the momentum.

But given the amazing turns this year has already taken, I'm sure we've got at least one September, and maybe two October surprises still to come.

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