Monday, March 31, 2008

Obama's charm

Barack Obama is showing that he isn't giving up in Pennsylvania, and I have to admit that I find his re-introduction of retail politics into the race to be an ingenious move politically:

Obama has launched a charm offensive in Pennsylvania, forgoing days packed
with town halls and cheering crowds at rallies to make small unannounced stops
that take the locals by surprise.

Case in point, trying not to strike out in Pennsylvania to Clinton, Obama
went bowling Saturday night at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, five minutes
from a hot dog shop that he had visited earlier in the day.

When Obama walked in with Sen. Bob Casey, who recently endorsed him, locals
stopped munching mid-fry to stare. The presidential hopeful shook hands, posed
for pictures and then joined local Roxanne Hart to bowl a few frames.

Everyone knows that he stands as a long-shot in Pennsylvania, but with 23 days to go there until the Primary, he doesn't need to win to make it impossible for Hillary Clinton, he only needs to race her close. Even a 15-point spread would keep Obama in the overall delegate lead. The switch back to a "retail style" of politics could be good for the Obama camp, because we've already seen that Obama does his best in that kind of political setting.

Obama's big problem is going to come in the General Election. The polls that now show him with a narrow lead over
John McCain are not likely to hold, not only because his primary opponent's former supporters may be inclined to vote for McCain, but because the McCain camp will use all of the unsavory elements in Obama's background against him. They will do so in a way that makes it appear that they had nothing to do with it, and that John McCain is the honorable party-but the political hay will be very effective nonetheless.

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