Not PUMA, but undecided
by TCQuad, Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 12:02:41 AM EDT
He is a pleasant man, who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President.
The speech that Hillary gave was, in a word, perfect.
However, the question becomes... She couldn't do anything more, but did it work? How effective was this speech in convincing her hesitant supporters to join Obama and the Democratic Party in November?
The battle for hearts and minds takes place in two parts: bringing people back from anti-Obama to neutral and then bringing them from neutral to voting for Obama. Hillary, for her part, ended the discussion on pro-McCain or anti-Obama support.
I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches, advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights here at home and around the world to see another Republican in the White House squander our promise of a country that really fulfills the hopes of our people. And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months or endured the last eight years to suffer through more failed leadership.
No way, no how, no McCain.
I want you -- I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me, or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him?
Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids?
Were you in it for that young boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage?
Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?
On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice: "If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there's shouting after you, keep going. Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going."
And even in the darkest moments, that is what Americans have done. We have found the faith to keep going.
Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hangs in the balance.
I could keep quoting, the speech had so many essential lines (I didn't even get to the Twin Cities!) As Olbermann put it, it was a speech that, if given to a football team as a locker room pep talk, would cause them to charge out to the field without checking whether the door is open first. It was inspiring, moving and motivational. It eviscerated McCain's chances with those who support Hillary's policy positions.
However, as I watched on CNN, I saw a moment that I found interesting. I have said before: Not all undecided Hillary voters and delegates are PUMAs. PUMAs are those who have projected the slights they have felt during this campaign and during their entire life onto the DNC and the Democratic Party, choosing to try and poison the well rather than work for the betterment of everyone. On the other hand, there are those who are genuinely conflicted, genuinely undecided. Those are the people, the 15% of her supporters in the latest poll, who need to be convinced over the next two days.
This is the end of an interview with one Hillary delegate who apparently falls into the latter category:
Maybe I'm a sucker for a show of emotion, but she sincerely seemed conflicted. Unlike some PUMAs who have been featured on MSNBC and other stations, she stayed away from ad hominem attacks, lies and smears. She simply could not get over the experience topic.
The "Obama is inexperienced" message has been pounded into the ground through the primary season and will be through the general election debates. However, there are three important ways that this must be addressed, for both the undecided voters and independent voters.
First, Biden and speakers tomorrow must pound home the message: John McCain's experience is being wrong. For all of his experience, McCain has made the wrong decision continually. Continually wrong on Iraq. Continually wrong on the economy. Continually wrong on all of the issues that Americans care about. On the flip side, Obama, especially on concern issues like the "war on terror" (with tomorrow being national security night), has been continually correct. He said Iraq was a mistake and would distract us. He was right. He said that we needed more troops in Afghanistan and, hey, what do you know, the Pentagon says more troops are needed (but unlikely since they're in Iraq). He said that we need timetables on when our combat troops step aside for the Iraqis. Now even the Bush administration has started talking about that. John McCain is currently to the right of the Bush Administration on this issue and that cannot go un-noted. All the experience in the world is not helping McCain with fundamental judgment.
Second, while the Republicans and the media will talk, at great length, about Obama's inexperience, he's made some very wise decisions. He chose a running mate who serves as a liaison to the establishment but, through some miracle, did not become part of it. He'll have Hillary in the Senate fighting and leading from there. With a newly crowned champion in the Senate and a bulldog in the White House, Obama can lead from a position of knowledge and strength. There will never, ever, be an issue on which he will make a decision uninformed.
Finally, for all the narratives and all the ads, experience is an asset but not an absolute requirement. I started this diary with an undated quote. The quote is actually fairly old and one of the nicer ones made by the influential journalist Walter Lippmann. He was speaking in 1932 about the man who would eventually become President: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
While I make no claims that Obama could be the next FDR, it is important to note that questioning your opponent's qualifications and experience is a common tactic on both sides of the aisle (Quayle, for instance, raised it about Clinton and everybody raised it about WBush and Reagan). Obama is not the first person to rise quickly through the national political scene. He has done so both on his ability to inspire and on his ability to show sound judgment.
Sound judgment for our future is what this election must be about.