Is the Campaign Turning a Corner?

There are little indications here and there that the Obama campaign is regaining momentum while the Palin bubble is losing air.

There’s a tiny uptick for Obama in the Gallup daily tracking poll. Some other polls show that Sarah Palin’s popularity is fading fast.

The Obama campaign has released a two-minute ad explaining Obama’s economic plan. I understand this is already beginning to run in battleground states.

If you can stomach it, you can watch McCain’s new ad about the economy here. It amounts to blah blah blah American workers blah blah reform blah.

There’s a discussion at Washington Monthly about whether a two-minute ad is a good idea. Personally, I like it, and I think it is a good idea. The American people on the whole aren’t as stupid as some make them out to be. We have more than our share of idiots, yes, and the idiots make a lot of noise. But, particularly regarding domestic issues, most Americans really can come to sensible conclusions and sort shit from shinola if they are given accurate information. That last part is nearly always the catch. But not always.

For example, remember when President Bush was going all out to sell his social security privatization scheme to the public (and ain’t it good that didn’t happen)? A majority of Americans pretty much figured out by themselves — because news media weren’t helping much — that Bush’s plan was dangerous. The more they heard about it, the less they liked it.

One commenter at Washington Monthly remembered Ross Perot’s infomercials, which went on for a whole lot longer than two minutes. Think what you want of Perot (and you’re probably right), those infomercials helped a lot of Americans understand for the first time why a big federal budget deficit is bad.

This sort of calm, straightforward explanation of complex issues was a hallmark of the Franklin Roosevelt administration, and people loved FDR for it. Are Americans appreciably dumber now than they were then? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, news media are actually pointing out the McCain campaign’s, um, lies. See CNN:

Here’s the Associated Press — Yeah, I know, it’s the Associated Press, but I’m going to link to it anyway — “McCain has 2 faces: Washington in- and outsider.” So much for Mr. Straight Talker.

See also: Elitism for Elites.

9 thoughts on “Is the Campaign Turning a Corner?

  1. I think Obama’s ad is great, but then I’m biased. It shows the guy is serious, and has something more than empty slogans to offer the public. And I think there’s a good chunk of the public that’s tired of being treated like it’s stupid – but these were probably Obama voters already anyway.

  2. It’s interesting you mentioned FDR in your post, because “fireside chat” was the phrase that came to mind while I was watching that ad. It’s simple, smart, and substantive. What’s not to love?

    I’d like to know where they’re showing it, and when. I wonder how much 2 minutes’ ad time would cost for all the “big three” networks at, say, Thursday night, 9:30 EDT. And I wonder what the polls would look like after that broadcast.

  3. I’m biased too, but it seems like a good strategy to me. Even if people don’t actually watch the ad, its sends the message that he takes people’s problems seriously and is thinking about ways to help them. The contrast with McCain’s blizzard of lies should be apparent to at least some of our beloved low-information voters.

  4. I think it’s a good piece and I’d like to think that it will make an impression on voters. Everyone’s been after Obama to attack and do a slash and burn against McCain, but by playing it smart he’s letting McCain and Palin shoot themselves in the feet with there obvious Liar’s Express. And he comes off looking smart, calm, and ready to lead.

    I heard on ABC news a feature item about her inability to tell the truth. I was stunned. They took videos of her campaign speech quotes and debunked her most oft-repeated lies and refuted them. NETWORK TV! I was amazed.

    So if Obama can keep a level head, he’s going to come off looking like the only choice. Let’s hope so.

  5. I think Obama’s ad is excellent. It’s refreshing to hear a sincere appeal to reason and good judgment without all the extraneous bullshit intended to confuse and beguile. Obama is on the mark with that ad. When you compare Obama’s ad to McCain’s cheap attempt to puff himself up.. It’s almost laughable. Notice how McCain ends his ad with the claim, ” The original Maverick”..Really, It screams con job!

    In the construction industry there’s a time honored admonition that’s been passed on through the generations of working men that would aptly apply to MCain..”.If you’re so fuckin’ wonderful you don’t have to tell people how fuckin’ wonderful you are,…They’ll see it for themselves, asshole”

    As an aside..James Garner was the original Maverick

  6. Yes the ad is superb. Just yesterday I commented how stupid I was convinced Americans are, have I been proved wrong? My spirit feels slightly brighter at the moment, but I also read something in the Economist today highlighting McCain’s sell out to the Christian re-born people (60+ million people!) with this Sarah Palin shill. The article’s big message was to say polls show higher support for the McCain-Palin ticket right now than they showed support for the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2004. We all know what happened in 2004… will an actually intellectually stimulating discussion work?

  7. I was just about to remark here that I don’t know how many Americans will appreciate the fact that Obama is trying to talk to us as if we are grownups, when I was distracted by the TV:

    I caught a snippet of Bill Maher on the Rachel Maddow Show (highly recommended) commenting that Americans are too stupid to be governed; they can’t absorb the details or something to that effect.

    I really liked this new ad because it had a calm and serious tone with some details.

  8. One little flaw in Obama’s ad was that he claimed that we were rebuilding Iraq, when we should be rebuilding here at home. We’re not exactly rebuilding Iraq. The seriously intended reconstruction money for Iraq has died up, and all we’re doing now is building blast barriers and huge cement walls to partition neighborhoods throughout Baghdad. If constructing the worlds largest labyrinth in Baghdad to be the 8th wonder of the world is considered rebuilding Iraq; then maybe Obama has a point.

    The 10 billion a month we’re spending in Iraq is going for security, military operations, and pay offs to hostile Iraqis to make Bush’s surge appear successful. We’re also supporting a shadow army of civilian contractors equivalent in size to our military forces who are being paid astronomical salaries.

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