yes, public policy is hard that way sometimes. Wouldn't it be easier if we coudl just pick "sides" and root blindly in favor of policies instead of thinking them through and assessing outcomes, some of which may have been unexpected?
That blog is on semi-hiatus, however. I realized I was just posting about national politics, which i already do at Nation-Building anyway. So I am going to restrict my posts at DBM(etc) to Wisconsin-specific stuff only henceforth.
I understand that there is an argument to focus scrutiny on McCain, but I think that in some ways the scrutiny on McCain wll be less when we have a nominee. The reason is that at present, McCain has no target, so the media is not giving him the kind of bully pulpit coverage that he would have after his opponent is known for sure. There are increasing stories about mcCain that stray from the linem and I think that trend is increasing. The press doesnt have much else to write about regarding McCain during this lull period, where they want for sake of balance to write something about him they are incentivized to dig.
Once the dem nominee is known, then McCain will go on attack mode as well, and the news cycle will be mostly dominated by teh back and forth.
I am not sure if I am explaining this clearly. At any rate I think that McCain is in limbo right now and the press every incentive to look for a story that is new. Figuring out hes a fake is a good avenue of inquiry, but the incentive wont be there to pursue that line once its a straight up match.
or maybe i have my head up my ass. i dunno. Still, don't panic. :)
I dont think Obama is gaffe-prone, I think he is simply saying things that usually arent said in politics. Things that are true. Things that need to be said if we are going to have a mature political public debate for a change.
Nor do I believe that these "gaffes" have really hurt him. The Wright affair was an excuse for the Race speech and that seemed not to have blunted his momentum in PA, closing the gap with Clinton from a 20+ point lead to less than 10. As far as the elitist thing, I havent yet seen evidence it has hurt him, either.
We need to not fear gaffes and in some ways hope that there are more, not less, because at least each one is an opening to talk about something substantive.
To be honest I think the damage to McCain by having the Dem primary drag out as long as possible far outweighs any advantage he might get from Obama's gaffes or Clinton capitalizing on them. As I explain above I expect the dems to unite just as strongly behind the nominee as the reps did, since their primary was far more divisive (just browse through RedStates archives from January).
So, to answer the question, I woulnt be concerned, and in fact would even welcome the primary to reach the convention and bet settled there - especially since that way the loser (likely Clinton) will have had full opportunity to make their case within the system and cannot cry foul,and their supporters will fnd it easier to unite. Cut this off now, even before the remaining states have had their say, and the ad blood will fester a little longer.
Wright showed that Obama can take a hit. But with Clinton still in, Obama cant afford to relax. He has to stay in fighting trim. Otherwise he miht just coast to victory in the primary and then get flattened in the general.
Clinton is previewing a lot of the attacks on Obama that he will face from McCain. This is like a vaccination of sorts.
Obama partisans wont like the analogy, but Obama's campaign is kind of like a virus. The longer it has to incubate, the more it grows under the radar. In PA the long lead time has really given Obama the room he needs to steadily encroach on Clinton's base. And only Obama is showing signs of any growth - Clinton is largely static, and what gains she makes usually come at the expense of Obama due to some controversy (ie, Wright), and even then those are transient.
The money aspect is also important. I think in a way it too is viral - as the "virus" infects more voters, it increases the number of copies of itself that can generate new payloads. Each infected person infects R more people (R > 1). Thus the increase in fundraising is exponential (and like all exponential functions, the payoff is much larger the longer the time interval you integrate over).
FWI, I do not think HIllary should drop out. I really do think that she is helping Obama be abetter candidate. Last thing i want is to send a guy with a glass jaw up against McCain. I hope Clinton stays in as long as possible, frankly.
and you know, all of those arguments have some merit, but none of those issues are binding on the superdelegates. And thats the crucial thing that these people don't seem to understand.
I really think Hillary has a case to make to the superdelegates, but I don't think it's a better one than Obama's. Ultimately the supers will vote and probably come down roughly split, and even if they favor Clinton they wont be enough to close the gap.