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Monday, September 15, 2008
If you Can Dodge a Wrench... You can win the Presidency

I was thinking about this the other day and I realized that Obama's big problem in this race is best understood by those who enjoy the classic work of political theory known as "Dodgeball."

Obama's problem is simple. He (and his team) are used to running primary races against Democrats. In the primaries, their goal has always been to occupy the most left-wing position in the race and to generate enough enthusiasm to get people to the polls for their guy.

Obama's problem is that he has never learned how to "dodge a wrench" in a competitive contest with a Republican. Dodging the wrench means dealing with tough charges from your opponent, overcoming dips in the polls, and dealing with tough questions that could make or break your candidacy. The media has been lobbing underhanded throws at this guy for years and, when he catches them, they are amazed and excited. Wow. What an all star, etc...

Now that the McCain team is throwing real dodgeballs in an election where independent voters, not left wing activists, matter, he's just not prepared. We see this in election after election, but Republicans are used to seeing wrenches, because even when their opponents are a joke, the media doesn't give them an inch.

It was pretty funny to see the Clinton people facing a similar situation in the primary. In their case, however, she was having a hard time getting to his left. McCain isn't looking to occupy that ground and, on issue after issue, from taxes and spending to abortion and guns, he's much closer to the median voter in the swing states than Obama.

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