January 3, 2009
I’ve already discussed Bush’s current effort to ‘rebrand’ his tenure on the way out (so history will judge ever more kindly).
Another effort going on in parallel is to discredit Obama’s skill in winning the election. For examples see Mark Halperin claiming the media was in love with Obama, or Kuhn’s opinion in RCP that Obama won by pure chance.
So to help history in ‘making its judgment’ let me reprint here my Digg comment from 10/15/08 on why McCain would lose:
1) Palin drove away the independents (actually I blame the party for this: They wouldn’t accept Lieberman, then Kristol ‘found her’). Her ineptitude undermined his own BO-lacks-experience message.
2) Obama’s fund raising blowout: He’s outspending McCain on ads in most markets by a factor of 3 (thanks to all of you who pitched in).
3) Obama ran a disciplined, strategic (vs. tactical) and carefully managed campaign (e.g. he never went after Palin even when everyone was scared and pushing him to do it), with an unprecedented outreach, registration and GOTV operation.
4) McCain’s successive stunts made him look anything but reassuring. Again, he undermined his own message (‘steady hand at the tiller’).
5) The economy (get the bums out), and McCain’s own admission it wasn’t his strong suit.
6) Obama and Biden’s performance at the debates was spotless: No heavy punches, just a reassuring and educated message that connected with people. McCain sounded like a broken record.
7) McCain’s campaign was a disaster in general: He was a snoozer at the podium, his surrogates shot themselves one by one (some were let go!), no message discipline, he lied unabashedly way too early and went negative only after he lost his credibility, etc, etc.
8) Netroots influenced the news cycle heavily, to BO’s advantage.
9) Ultimately I believe many people just didn’t know BO like those of us that have been supporting him for years, but once they heard him directly they actually discovered he could be trusted, and his depth and judgment far outweighed his lack of experience. This was inevitable.
10) Bush came out of hiding to try and drum support for the rescue bill. Seeing him on TV day after day just reminded us all how much we hated the last 8 years.
The fact that Obama’s win wasn’t a bigger landslide, even with his spectacular campaign, and McCain’s disastrous one, was a testament to two things: Racism, and the GOP’s ability to scare voters (and Obama’s color -black-, name -Hussein-, provenance -Chi’s South Side- and education -Harvard- making for the perfect boogie man).