Friday, September 5, 2008

Stick to the Issues

Earlier this week, I wrote that the Obama and McCain campaigns probably wouldn't want to go after one another on the experience issue. As it happens, I was wrong. Either directly, or through surrogates, both have attacked the other for having nominees with thin resumes. Rasmussen has some polling data on how the voter's take on the experience issue:
Thirty-nine percent (39%) also believe the GOP vice presidential nominee has better experience to be president of the United States than Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

But 49% give Obama the edge on experience, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey – taken before Palin’s historic speech Wednesday night to the Republican National Convention.

While Republicans and Democrats predictably favor their party’s candidate by overwhelming margins, the experience gap among voters unaffiliated with either party is even narrower than the national totals. Forty-two percent (42%) say Obama has better experience to be president, but 37% say Palin does.
At first glance, we should be relieved. It's effectively a draw. But look at the wording: "better experience to be president." The danger for Democrats is that our weaker candidate is at the top of the ticket.
The potential problem for Democrats is that Obama, the junior U.S. senator from Illinois and a former state legislator, is the party’s standard-bearer, while Palin, an ex-mayor and now governor of Alaska, is number two on her party’s ticket.
And also note that the date for this poll was collected on September 3rd, before Sarah Palin's speech at the convention, which may have gotten her a few more points. Friends, bloggers, Obamacrats, and Clintonistas for Obama, the experience issue is not a winner for us. We need to let it go.

In Sunday's post, I also wrote that we needed to be very careful in how we criticized Palin, being careful to avoid sexist language in what we wrote and what we said.
Now, a warning. We have to be careful about how exactly we criticize Sarah Palin. There are still some very hard feelings about the sexism that pervaded the Democratic primary. I know that because I myself have them. (But I'm not allowing them to cloud my judgment about who to vote for in November.) Democrats should criticize Palin for her actions as a public official and her stands on the issues (drill, drill, drill, bomb, bomb, bomb and science schmience). Joking around about her beauty pageant background, belittling her as a token (especially when our own historic candidate has a thin resume), and using terms that demean women--such as bimbo--will only bring up bad memories and force some progressives to defend a candidate whom we do not like.
The Obama campaign has officially been careful, and both Senators Obama and Biden have indicated that the Palin family is off-limits, but the commentariat and Obama's overzealous supporters, particularly those at the big orange cesspool, have gone unhinged. And the McCain campaign has played it brilliantly. The media is on defense and the public is siding with Sarah Palin.
Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November.


Among unaffiliated voters, 49% say reporters are trying to hurt Palin, while 32% say their coverage is unbiased. Only five percent (5%) say reporters are trying to help her.
We have winning issues. We have more money. We have stronger voter ID. We are better organized. And our side is hungry for victory. We can win this race without going to gutter. What recent history--and perhaps this polling date--have told us is that Republicans play gutter politics far better than Democrats.

It easier to beat a governor who believes that the earth is only 6000 years old, that women who are raped should not have an abortion, and that 47 million uninsured Americans isn't a crisis than it is to defeat a hockey mom with an imperfect family. Stick to the issues. That's what we're good at. That is how we will win!


LakersFan said...

I agree completely. Let's play our strengths. We've got them on the issues that most Americans really care about. We should be going after them on the dreadful state of our economy, national security, education, environment and health care.

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