Over the past few weeks, I heard from folks who work in other media and in GOP circles that Team Obama was variously frustrated, scared, angry, panicking, etc. I didn’t put much stock in it, as some of these folks wanted to believe it, and there weren’t a lot of outward signs of panic in the Democratic campaign.
But in the past few days, we have seen three separate signs of panic.
First, in Virginia a moment ago, Obama deployed a variation of his comments in San Francisco:
“Now, you want to win. And saying it doesn’t make it so,” he told the crowd. “It would be nice to think that after eight years of economic disaster, after eight years of bungled foreign policy, of being engaged in a war that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged, that cost us a trillion dollars and thousands of lives, that people would say, let’s toss the bums out. Toss the bums out, we’re starting from scratch, we’re starting over. This is not working.”
“So I understand why a lot of folks are saying, this should just happen. Why are we having to run all these television commercials? Why do we have to raise all this money? Just read the papers. These are the knuckleheads who have been in charge. Throw ‘em out. But American politics aren’t that simple,” he said.
On XM a moment ago, Obama said, “It would be great if the country said, ‘let’s throw the bums out,’ and I didn’t have to campaign.”
When a campaign is telling voters that their superiority is obvious, and that they should be way ahead, it calls attention to why they’re not way ahead. Voters ask themselves, “why don’t I like this guy?”
Second, Team Obama went after McCain on a “questionable association,” opening up the door to discuss William Ayers.
Third, Team Obama went after McCain on his houses… so yes, it was the Obama campaign who was the first to raise the issue of candidate house purchases. Indeed, none of McCain’s houses have been purchased with a longtime political associate convicted of six counts of wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud, two counts of corrupt solicitation, and two counts of money laundering.
In every one of these cases, the counter-punch was so glaringly obvious that the risk of the counter-charge made the original charge not worthwhile. In each case, the Obama campaign swung away anyway.
That fits the definition of “flailing.”
UPDATE: Team McCain, seeing the perfectly set volleyball, comes down with the spike:
“Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people “cling” to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?
“The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.” –McCain spokesman Brian Rogers