Highlights from Politico's "Autumn Angst: Dems fret about Obama:"Ms. Lake, we've been wondering the same thing for years!
“It’s more than an increased anxiety," said Doug Schoen, who worked as one of Bill Clinton’s lead pollsters during his 1996 reelection "It’s a palpable frustration. Deep-seated unease in the sense that the message has gotten away from them."
“They were set up to run ‘experience versus change,’ what they had run [against Hillary] Clinton,” Trippi said. “And I think Palin clearly moved that to be change [and] reform, versus change. They are adjusting to that and that threw them off balance a little bit.” “Their 50-state strategy is insanity,” said Schoen. “If they don’t use their financial advantage where they need it most,” he said, citing states from Ohio to Nevada, “and put every thing there and blow it out, they are at deep risk of losing.”
"[The] shift in the public’s perception of the issues, in Democratic pollster Celinda Lake’s words, “tremendously concerns me...”
Steve Rosenthal, a veteran field organizer for Democrats and organized labor, said that some entrenched Democratic vulnerabilities never receded this year. And in his view, Palin has reawakened those liberal weaknesses. “For some white, working-class voters who don’t want to vote for Barack Obama but weren’t sure about McCain, Palin gave them a good reason to take another look and consider supporting McCain,” Rosenthal said. “On the one hand, it could be a temporary reshuffling of the deck,” he added. “And on the other hand, it underscores the deep-seated problems we have in this race with race, class and culture.
Asked if partisans in his state are worried, New Jersey Democratic Chairman Joseph Cryan responded: “Absolutely, absolutely. It’s a ‘sit up straight and listen’ kind of thing.’”
A former top strategist for past Democratic presidential campaigns, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “Obama is struggling with working-class whites just like John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis did, and Walter Mondale. He’s struggling with voters in the border-state South. And he’s struggling with an enormous wind at his back, a hatred for George Bush and a mainstream media that is little short of a chorus for his campaign.”
“A lot of Democratic elites thought this was a slam-dunk. And I thought, no it’s not,” said Lake, the pollster. “People in this town were already measuring drapes. And I was thinking, have you been in the real world lately?
Democrats worry about gains made by GOP ticket
BY NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON AND CRAIG GORDON
September 11, 2008
...Democrats worried that Obama's campaign has been too passive - effectively ceding front-page coverage of the race to McCain and Palin for the last 10 days, since the GOP convention. Some said they even noticed a change in Obama's demeanor - from cool and confident to, in the words of one Democrat, "somewhat deflated" by the tightening polls
One problem for Obama is that any attempt to attack Palin seems out of character for voters drawn to him by the sense that he is a different kind of politician. "He's supposed to be above the fray. That's why people wanted him, " said one Democratic strategist.
But it seems the Palin pick has left the Obama campaign with no clear strategy - it has gone from belittling her mayoral experience to congratulating her for making history, and from not naming her to talking about her at every turn.
Misery Loves Democrats
By GAIL COLLINS
New York Times
September 10, 2008
It has come to our attention that a large number of Democrats have gone completely nuts about Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
He’s going to lose! Sarah Palin is getting all the attention! The Republicans are so mean! Why isn’t he tougher?
They’re calling each other up to discuss how doomed they are, vowing to move to Canada as soon as the election is over and the inevitable worst has occurred. Really, we evacuated several hurricane-prone states with more cheer and optimism.
Meanwhile, Howard Fineman writing at Newsweek lists the seven strategic errors Obama has made:
- Declining to take federal financing for the general election
- Declining McCain’s offer to hold ten town hall debates
- Failing to go all the way with the Clintons
- The 22-state strategy
- Failing to state a sweeping, but concrete, policy idea
- Remaining trapped in professor-observer speak
- Failing to attack McCain early
It's too early to write Obama's political obituary, but Democrats may just be experiencing a little September Surprise as the vast silent majority has awoken from it's slumber tuned in to the political campaign and tuned out the Democrats!