Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama Dominates The Week

Obama, Obama, Obama.

There is no doubt as to who has taken the lead in the past week. First of all, he takes the lead in swing state polls. When fighting Clinton for the nomination, a consistent argument against him was that he couldn't win the swing states. These early polls may not hold, but they do work at refuting that idea.

Second, Michelle has spent the week on the View, a show that reaches out to a wide female audience. The right has been mounting personal attacks on her and this is a very effective way of countering them.

Finally, Obama opts out of public funding. In the US parties can get public matching funds, if they agree to spending limits and controls. Obama is the first major candidate to ever do this. Of course, having created new ways of generating revenue, he may be the first candidate who could do this and win. Throughout the campaign he has been out raising McCain, but the Democrats have not been able to outraise the Republicans, so this really is something new. Obama has been spending heavily in traditionally Republican states, trying to redraw the political map.

This decision comes as a major test for Obama, because it marks a reversal of a previous position. He had said he would take public funding, if his opponent did. And McCain is taking public funding. That Obama is open to this change should come as no surprise, given his fund raising success, but I wasn't surprised for another reason. Much of the matching funds come from lobbyists and pressure groups, after Johnson's resignation the bar was set pretty high for the Obama team and matching funds could open him up to charges of reversing his commitment on not taking monies from lobbyists. Then allows him principles and cash. A no-brainer. No politician gets far without having to compromise and that's a good thing. We don't elect dictators. This reversal will be condemned by those who would never support him anyway, but I think most will just accept it and move on.

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