Monday, August 25, 2008

spoke too soon.....,

The NYTimes goes to great lengths to deny that race is a pivotal issue. The Race Isn’t About Race and Accentuate the Negative - we'll start with Krugman;
And the McCain campaign, after initially mumbling something about how Mr. Obama eats arugula, quickly resorted to its all-purpose answer: you can’t criticize the candidate because he’s a former P.O.W. Maybe the campaign hopes that the Obama people will fall into a reflexive cringe, the same way they did when Wesley Clark made the entirely reasonable point that having been a P.O.W., while it makes you a hero, doesn’t necessarily qualify you to become president.

Assuming that the Obama campaign isn’t scared off by the P.O.W. thing, can it really win in an exchange of character attacks? Probably not — but it doesn’t have to.

The central fact of this year’s election is that voters are fed up with Republican rule. The only way Mr. McCain can win the presidential race is if it becomes a contest of personalities rather than parties — and if his campaign can instill in voters the perception that Mr. Obama is a suspicious character while Mr. McCain is a fine, upstanding gentleman.

The Obama campaign, on the other hand, doesn’t need to convince voters either that he’s the awesomest candidate ever or that Mr. McCain is a villain. All it has to do is tarnish Mr. McCain’s image enough so that voters see this as a race between a Democrat and a Republican. And that’s a race the Democrat will easily win.
and then go back to Bai, whose claims are a priori somewhat more ridiculous.
The only hitch in this plan is that there’s plenty of reason to think that Mr. Obama’s race is not the insurmountable detriment to his candidacy that a lot of anxious observers believe it is.

The theory that race is holding back Mr. Obama’s candidacy rests on a pretty simple premise. Adherents argue that the Democratic candidate ought to be effortlessly leading by double digits in the polls at this point — and that his failure to do so can only be explained by latent racism among older voters.

After all, this thinking goes, the Republican president suffers from abysmal approval ratings, and even half-witted voters should be able to see that Mr. Obama is a superior candidate to Mr. McCain, were their views not clouded by race.

These are flawed assumptions, however. While it’s entirely possible that Mr. Obama’s race is costing him some support, it’s also true that the electorate that voted in the last two presidential elections was almost symmetrically divided between the two parties. It would defy the laws of politics if, at this early stage of the campaign, moderate Republicans and conservative independents were to reject Mr. McCain (a candidate many of them preferred back in 2000) simply because they don’t like George W. Bush.
Inability to face superficial facts does not bode well for the prospect of facing substantive facts. So many folks caught up in the minutiae of political theater, that they never even consider the cool and calculating hand of the man behind the curtain orchestrating the entire production with an eye to simple governance continuity.