Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Strategic Credibility

Here's how I think McCain gains his credibility. He publically arranges to do something substantially different from the party line, or makes some statement critical about a policy, and then makes sure the media covers it as if he's what he says he is.

The rest of the time, he does the standard things. The trick is to have those moderate, bipartisan things (or things that seem that way) be the face of his political career, rather than the stuff he actually does.

The key is to get the maverick, bipartisan, moderate stuff out in front, so when he backslides in private, he still appears like he's got the potential to do something surprising.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Problem is not that we're pulling troops out...

...too fast or not fast enough. The real problem here is that regardless of what we've been doing, we've had no real control over the situation in Iraq, which right now seems to be worsening.

Last year, we benefited from the cooperation of the Sunnis, and the cooperation of the al-Sadr in reaching a ceasefire. The way things are arranged, though, even with the numbers of soldiers we had at the height of the surge, it's not enough to smackdown the insurgents if they want to get rowdy. Meanwhile, we stand in the way of the Iraqis and their government coming to a modus vivendi, which they'd pretty much have to reach if they didn't want things to utterly fall apart.

Withdrawal was the best of bad options in 2006. Now it's the best of genuinely terrible options now, and things have become quite a bit more complicated now that we've been arming sides. The best we may have done is allowed certain groups to consolidate at the expense of others, making them stronger in comparison to the weak central government. I know some might say, but isn't that the best government? But looking at a failed state, I say, no, not really. You need a government that people actually listen to. It doesn't help the Iraqis that they're living in this kind of system of de facto tribal feudalism, unmanaged, unchecked by a strong modern government.

Bad Idea. Terrrrrrrible Idea.

I'll tell you what the problems with holding a Superdelegate convention before the real one to decide who gets them are:

1) It won't prevent a nasty public fight, it will likely just relocate it.

2) It would have all the elitist charm, if it's results went a certain way of somebody trying to appeal to the superdelegates at the convention.

3) Mathematically, we already have a decent standard on hand: pledged delegates. And that has the bonus of having a winner ready made, even if some in the party don't like it.

4) There's already a way for the superdelegates to decide what to do on their own. Follow the general state of the primary. If some catastrophe happens, you can always turn around and goe the other way.

At the end of the day, if the Superdelegates weren't so craven, we'd have a candidate already. And if we didn't have them at all, we'd hardly be having this conversation. We'd have a candidate. But that would be doing things the easy way, and the Democratic Party's hardly been interested in that for the generation or two before this one. Oh well, said the hydrologist.

The Long and Short of this...

Is that if they're being this reckless with letting Bill out to do damage, they are really desperate.

Bill's problem is that he's not merely a loose cannon on deck, but essentially a second captain on a ship that should only have one. Ideally, he should have have remained in the background, because he's hardly the kind to stay on the bench and let Hillary shine for herself.

Reality Call for Evan Bayh, Steve Daugherty on the Line...

I know the Indiana senator's just trying to back his candidate, but it's a little too early to start calling these states for Hillary in the General Election.

Here's how it breaks down: she's a long shot in the general election if she can't unite her party behind her. No matter what the poll results say now, they will say something else entirely eight months from now.

Senator Clinton has a chance to beat McCain that's better than even odds, but she will depend upon and campaign mainly in the swing states, and in the safe states that form our core constituency. This will make for a fragile set up, where local victories by McCain will make more of a difference.

Obama has the skills and organization to move past this, to make our victory more robust. Every time we've depended on swing states to win, we've lost. We need to move into new territory to win. Obama can take on challenges in both the Swing States and the Red States, and by doing that lead us to a comfortable win and mandate, as opposed to a weak 50+1 victory that only benefits Clinton politically, and that, by getting her into office.