Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama and the Convention

I've been without the Internet for almost a week now and have now been welcomed back by my old friend.

The past week has been quite typical. McCain attacks, backtracks, changes the story, throws in the words "surge", "POW" and "straight-talk" and continues to run the dirtiest campaign many of us have been alive for. I don't need to rehash any of that.

I will instead tell you what Obama needs to do and when he should do it. If we look at the composites of the polls we can see that Obama got a hearty three or four point bounce from his travels. First of all, DO NOT LISTEN TO THE MEDIA when they claim that this is a "dead heat". Again, they just want that perception for ratings. He is leading anywhere from four to twelve points now and remember that these polls are conducted on landlines and do not include those voters who ONLY have cell phones. That demographic tends to be young and more often minorities. The polls are slightly favoring the McCain bloc and he is still losing handily.

Here is a quick Gallup tracker. Personally, I think Gallup is one of the worst pollsters out there, but it seems to be the metric by which most voters gauge the state of the season.

You can see Obama has a clear lead and I am willing to bet that these numbers won't tighten too much more. So what does Obama need to do up to the convention?

1) Timing is everything here and he has to remember that McCain has very little to work with beyond good timing to counter Obama's move. The next major step is announcing his VP. The Olympics start next week. He needs to announce it right before the Games start. When he does this, McCain will immediately announce right after him and then the press is going to have a choice during the Olympics: talk about the Games, Obama VP or McCain VP. The narrative is not as important because the political interest will be low anyways. In doing this, Obama can effectively limit the bounce that McCain would get from such an announcement. Low public interest AND the fact that Obama has bought millions in airtime during the Games. McCain has not done so. He can't afford it. So, announce before the games. Let the press go wild. McCain announces and the press question the timing. The Olympics start and McCain gets no bounce.

2) The VP choice is crucial and I have speculated many times as to who he might choice, still he needs to make sure that August affords several stops with Hillary. 86% of Dems have lined up behind Obama, but there STILL are a few out there who have moved to Nader, McCain or have simply given up. Tour a little with her AND your VP and that should help mend the wounds. I also think that having Hillary out there attacking McCain (she's good at that) would get her embittered supporters moving.

3) Obama has to pack that stadium with the loudest and wildest crowd he can find. He also needs to make sure that he does not ban protests outside the stadium like McCain did. This will hurt his cause.

4) And finally, Obama needs to play it cool. McCain has been a slime ball this month and last and it will only get worse as he discovers he is more ineffective than Dole. Let him attack. Obama should resist the urge to defend against such garbage. He should continue to be slightly smug and as he did with Hillary, brush it off and not let McCain have any ammo.

McCain has ended his political life with this campaign. He will come close to losing his own state in November and will not run again in the Senate. Too bad he had to end it this way.