I’m with Tim Fernholz. (h/t)

It’s not that it’s wrong to criticize a campaign, or that some criticisms don’t ring true. The Obama campaign and its surrogates need to stop saying that McCain is such a great man before they tear him apart. (Joe Biden, for one, has already gotten the message.) They could be doing a better job sending out rapid responders on the state level, but it’s clear they’re not in a bubble. They understand the concerns of their supporters. Still, they are on the offensive — that sex-education smear by McCain was actually a response to an Obama attack ad that ran that morning. The Obama campaign, day-in and day-out, is extraordinarily disciplined about delivering its message.

Obama is essentially tied in the polls with McCain, even as the Republican senator experiences his convention bounce. These numbers will change with events, especially with the debates, and as the sheen wears off Palin. (A reminder: She has been known nationally for less than two weeks.) Obama has invested in a much larger field operation than McCain. The press seems to be developing a spine, if these comments criticizing the media’s “outrageous” cowering before the McCain campaign from conventional wisdom apparatchik Mark Halperin are any indication.

But it certainly doesn’t help to have Democrats wringing their hands and complaining about problems Obama doesn’t have. Enthusiasm is the big indicator in an election that will ride on turnout, and Democrats have every reason to be enthusiastic.

Read the whole thing.

Every time I express optimism in this race, I get really skeptical looks.  I’ve started to think that I’m intermittently sprouting a second head.  But there are in fact three reasons why I’m optimistic, and I will tell you them now:

1. I have to be.  For my own sanity.  For my own sense that things will be okay, I just have to believe.

2. As Fernholz notes, being pessimistic when we should be enthusiastically rallying behind our candidate doesn’t help us.  Not by a long shot.  Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t criticize Obama.  I think at this point we ought to be thinking carefully about whether or not it’s worth it when we do, but he’s not in any way immune to accountability.  It does mean that moaning about how “Obama will lose” is only going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if it keeps catching on.  Right now, it does in fact look like Obama will win.  It has for a while.  But do you hear Republicans publicly whining about how John McCain is an idiot who’s going to lose because of X, Y, and Z?  No, really, do you?  Because I don’t.

3. This may be naive, and I’m aware of that.  But I really, honestly, truly do believe that for the most part . . .  Obama has got this.  Have we forgotten that the man has a political operation with a professionalism and efficiency that we have not seen in a long time?  Have we forgotten that he managed to go from almost completely unknown to upsetting expected nominee Hillary Clinton?  And have we forgotten how he did it — by quietly and strategically targeting key districts to win important delegates, a tactic that set up the campaign perfectly to play the electoral college politics of the national race?  Because I have not.  Obama’s not the messiah.  I don’t even agree with him on quite a few issues.  But I do think he’s an incredibly intelligent man who knows what the fuck he’s doing, and who could run strategic circles around John Kerry with one leg tied behind his back.

We’ve still got a few months ahead of us.  Lots of things could happen, and we should definitely be vigilant.  But am I particularly worried?  Nah.  And it’s my humble opinion that you shouldn’t be either.

0 thoughts on “Chill.

  1. Tali

    Thanks for this. I panicked a little earlier in the week when I saw some of the post-RNC polls. In response, I signed up to go canvass in New Hampshire this weekend. That helped, but I need to keep reminding myself that, frankly, Obama knows what he’s doing better than I do. This is a great reminder. Thanks.

  2. Cara Post author

    I’m glad that you’re canvassing! I think everyone ought to be. I’m really upset/annoyed that I’m so completely broke that I can’t afford to go campaign for Obama in PA or OH. I did get a scholarship to go campaign against the abortion bill in SD in a couple of weeks, which I couldn’t be more excited about, and I am signing up to canvass for my local congressional race, which is a really important and tight one. And once I get some phonebank training in SD — I have a really weird phone phobia — I’m going to start using Obama’s online phonebank system to do that from home.

    Get involved, people!

  3. Ryan

    I really liked the analogy Nate Silver over at 538 used a few days back. Elections, conventions, and polls are like the big drops in roller coasters. We all knew in advance the RNC was going to bump McCain’s polling #s. Conventions always do, but somehow, this knowledge has not made his bump any less “scary.”

    Also, as the above poster pointed out: anybody can have a large impact by volunteering for the Obama campaign. If anybody is planning on volunteering they should get to it; the election is close!

  4. fourthwave

    Wow, do I ever appreciate this. I need to stop freaking out and be more optimistic (the optimism that I certainly felt before I realized that people are actually falling for this Palin BS). So thanks.

  5. Ashley

    Hey Cara,

    On the money issue, they usually have free buses organized by the Democratic party in your area that go to the nearest swing state for campaigning. If you’ve got Howard Dean leftovers or a Unitarian church in your area, you might check with them too. Churches can’t be partisan, but UUs usually have social justice groups that operate independently and organize that sort of thing (also, I know you’re an atheist. A ton of UUs are too, so don’t worry that they’ll start trying to “convert” you or anything).

    The only downside to busing it is that you usually have to wake up a few hours before the buttcrack.

    Anyway, like you, I’m totally optimistic. I can really clearly visualize Obama taking the oath of office in his peacoat. McCain? Nah. It’s not gonna happen. Even if the election is close, no one on our side is staying home. Can’t say that for Repubs.

  6. Cara Post author

    Thanks Ashley, I’m hoping. I’m signed up on the Obama website and groups will post stuff like that, which will show up for all of the people in a certain mile radius. There was a bus a couple of weekends ago that went to PA for the day, but I found out less than a day in advance and so had to be like, um, no. But fingers crossed, there will be another opportunity.

  7. MzBitca

    That picture is the background of my laptop. It makes me smile and feel better after I finish reading about all the crap thats been going on in this fucking election.

    I never would have voted for McCain and I definitely disliked many of his stances but this latest turn, has really left a bad taste in my mouth for him as a person. He is worse than Bush and that scares the shit out of me

  8. sbsanon

    I am so with you on your first reason for being optimistic. I just can’t go around thinking nonstop that Obama’s probably going to lose because that’s just too depressing. So like you I have to stay optimistic to stay sane.

  9. Renee

    Reading this really made me think of the difference between our two systems of government. An election was called by our gutless premier last Sunday and we go to the polls on October 15th I believe. I have barely seen any ads on television and comparatively it would be hard for an “outsider” to know that an election was going on in Canada.
    I actually believe that more Canadians have more invested in the US election than our own, yet so many of the issues are the same. The US really is a polarizing nation to have on your border.

  10. BigDina

    I’m freaking out. The latest gallop poll has Mc up by 10%!!!!!
    I thought we had our man in the house. What is this Palin got besides a vagina? She’s not qualified. Running a state is nothing like being a Senator. Obama stands up for us. He cares about woman and she is a pig and I’m glad he called her a lipstick pig. That’s what Palin is, full of lipstick on a pig.
    So what if McCain has reached across the isle with Democrats, Obama has NEVER had to reach over to those Right wing war mongers.
    I don’t know girls, I hope you are right. This is scary.


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