From the Washington Wire, about John McCain’s appearance with Daddy Yankee:
Many in the press corps joked about the intersection of the song (with its lyrics, when translated into English, are: “She likes gasoline,” he says. “Give me more gasoline!” a woman responds) and McCain’s energy policy. In fact, Washington Wire is told the phrase has nothing to do with the traditional meaning of gasoline.
I know some friends who were disappointed with the choice of Biden, but I really like the pick. I think (and I could be mistaken) that the disappointment was more strategic than ideological… it’s unclear how a Senator from Delaware helps in key swing states, with the possible exception of Pennsylvania.
Still though, Obama’s perceived weakness is the 3am emergency, and there’s nobody in Congress with more knowledge and experience on foreign affairs than Biden. Not that this helped John Kerry… but I think Biden has a way about him of assuring his expertise and leadership on issues without carrying the ivory tower stigma:
Now, it’s relatively easy to rip into a one-trick pony like Giuliani, but as Joe Klein reports, Biden can take it to McCain as well:
Biden called me in June to express his amazement that McCain continued to insist that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the leader of Iran, even after I pointed out–during a press conference–that the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei controlled Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear program. McCain’s response was that the “average American” thought Ahmadinejad was Iran’s leader…and Biden proceeded to jump all over that in a subsequent interview with Think Progress:
I don’t want an average American as president. I have great respect for average — average Americans don’t want an average American president of the United States of America. I want someone above average. I want someone who knows what they’re dealing with. And it surprises me that John didn’t understand the complexities of the power struggle going on in Iran right now.
As Paul Krugman observes, Barack Obama’s lead in the polls is not as dominant as it once was:
This chart is from fivethirtyeight.com, a (very pro-Obama) poll analysis site. The site now warns:
Although Barack Obama remains a slight favorite in this election, his position is more vulnerable than at any point since the primaries concluded, and he no longer appears to have a built-in strength in the electoral college that we had attributed to him before.
SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?
Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.
Let’s frame our political options in the following way, shall we?:
The Republican Party is fractured. The big tent is folding in on itself.
Conservatives, social progressives, fiscal hawks, and the establishment are fighting for the “soul” of the party.
Most Republicans are luke warm on the candidate they have chosen for themselves, John McCain.
McCain therefore represents the candidate who is least likely to lose an electoral blowout, and save the most seats (and face).
McCain’s appeal lies with independents. Pundits would have you believe he is therefore more a viable matchup against Obama, who also appeals to independents.
Obama appeals MORE to independents. And he appeals to his party base. He wins.
Not only does he win, but he brings more Dems into the fold… Republicans are less likely to “hedge” against Obama… that is, they’re less likely to vote for a Democratic president and a Republican Congressmen.
If Hillary’s the ticket, right-center independents hedge against the perceived establishment. Gridlock ensues. No clear mandate is achieved.
Hillary’s coat-tails are far shorter than Obama’s. She’s not a better candidate against McCain, no matter what conventional “wisdom” might tell you.
Forget the polls. The fact is, the next President will be a Democrat. They have too much momentum, too much money, and too much George W.
The real question becomes: who carries the party further? Who carries the country further?
If you frame it this way, the choice is clear. Obama for President.
Why would voters who disapprove of the war overwhelmingly support McCain? Are they reacting to the fact that McCain is constantly claiming that he “disapproved” of the conduct of the war? Has McCain’s uber-hawkishness not gotten a lot of play? Or what?