10 Sep 2008

Obama: Losing Precisely Because of Inexperience

Mark Cunningham thinks he knows why Obama’s collapse is so sudden and so complete: Obama has no real experience of a fighting a really contested election. He has only run as the machine candidate in unmeaningfully contested races.

Barack Obama has never run a campaign against a real Republican. And his main strategist, David Axelrod, is way out of his areas of expertise.

Axelrod specializes in urban politics. He’s run a bunch of mayoral races (usually in cities with lots of blacks), plus contests in true-blue states like Massachusetts and New York.

And his favorite guns may well misfire now.

New Yorkers may recall that he was on the Freddy Ferrer team – and how the class-warfare theme of “the Two New Yorks” managed to lose the 2005 mayoral race in a city that’s overwhelmingly Democratic. (Yes, Bloomberg had his billions – but he was beatable.)

Nor did the same shtick do much for Axelrod client John Edwards, who didn’t exactly score big with “the Two Americas” in the Democrats’ 2004 presidential primaries. …

Axelrod is also known for playing the race card, but that can backfire, big-time – especially when neither he nor Obama really has much feel for the political and cultural landscape of most of the nation.

Obama has lived a lot of places, but his adult life has been overwhelming “anti-Palin country” – urban and/or elite: here in New York as a Columbia undergrad, and later with NYPIRG; Cambridge, Mass., for Harvard; Chicago.

You start to see why he couldn’t name a single right-wing friend when Bill O’Reilly asked. And how he unleashed that idiotic comment about how small-town people “cling to guns or religion.”

A race against a serious Republican might have awakened him to this weakness – but he’s never been in one before. In Illinois, he was the surprise winner of the 2004 primary for the Senate, in part because two white candidates split the vote.

In the general, he basically had it won once a Chicago paper took down the GOP nominee by getting a court to unseal unseemly divorce papers, and the local Republicans then tapped Alan Keyes – a carpet-bagging right-wing performance artist – as their standard-bearer.

So it’s not such a mystery that the mean machine of the Democratic primaries, which stole the nomination away from Sen. Hillary Clinton, is sputtering so badly now.

What was that the democrats were saying about Sarah Palin’s lack of experience?

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Hat tip to David Wagner.

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