Jim Geraghty has put his finger on what’s been bugging me about the President’s reelection efforts. Would you believe… inexperience? Of course you would:
The 2008 Democratic party was indeed a tough fight, but again Obama was assembling his familiar coalition – African-Americans, Hollywood, gays, the party’s liberal wing – to overcome Hillary’s white working-class base. And then in 2008, even with the wind of Bush fatigue at his back, Obama was trailing… until Lehman collapsed, McCain insisted the debates be canceled, and then he changed his mind two days ago. In other words, 2008 was a perfect storm for Obama’s appeal to independents, centrists, Democrats who were unconvinced in the primary and frustrated Republicans. Obama has never really had to try to win over, say, the suburbs or exurbs of Columbus, Orlando, Colorado Springs, or other “in play” parts of the political map in less than ideal circumstances.
I can tell you, the dispirited voters of Colorado Springs did nothing for McCain in 2008. By the fall of 2010, they were fully re-spirited, hustling and campaigning like Reagan Himself was on the ticket — in an off-year election with very little competition to worry about from our local Democrats.
Part of Axelrod’s plan — and he’s executing it as well as anyone could — is to redispirit (Shhh — that is so a word) those same voters.
But he might instead be kicking the hornet’s nest.
I think next week it will be time to launch this season’s Wargaming the Electoral College series.