Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Daily Strike-6/2/10-Campaign Speech

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Excuse no entry last night, but I should get a pass for my birthday. It's also a Congressional recess, so things are a bit slow this week.

SPEECH: President Obama gave what amounted to his first speech of the 2010 midterm election campaign. The speech was a robust defense of his accomplishments, and a sharp critique of the Republican party. He noted that change can be scary, but it is necessary given the magnitude of the problems we face. He talked about how Republicans have reflexively opposed everything he's done in the last year, even things they should be supporting like small business tax breaks. It comes from, Obama said, a worldview that government should have little or no role in our lives. He mentioned all of the government programs that give the American people more "prosperity and security" like Social Security, Medicare and the FDIC. He also used the oil spill as a rally call for a comprehensive energy plan.

This is more like it! The President finally is explaining his governing philosophy, and what his ultimate goal is: giving families security to allow them to pursue their dreams. I'm just afraid that he's been too caught up in the mire of other issues recently (not completely his fault) like the oil spill, and recent international conflicts for this speech to gain any immediate attention among the electorate. He will have to sustain this message through November, and he has to get every Democrat on board. Only by making a sustained, persuasive case for why we need government to help solve our most pressing problems will the Obama truly be a transformative President.

PRIMARY OBSERVATIONS: I was particularly pleased with the results of two primary elections last night in Alabama. In the Governor's race, Rep. Artur Davis, an African American Congressman got trounced in the Democratic primary by Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks (who is white). Davis ran a positively stupid campaign. He blew off Alabama's African American leaders because he wanted to appeal to white voters, but in doing so, he alienated his potential base. He also came out strongly against President Obama's health care plan. It was a position against not only the popular opinion of his poor, black Congressional district, but also the district's interests. It was a shallow political calculation. Sparks, on the other hand, came out strongly in support of not only the health care bill, but the public option. He also won the endorsement of the state's African American groups. Sparks ended up carrying all of the majority-black counties in the state. This is a great lesson that you can't abandon your base, and you can't start campaigning for a general election until you make it through the primary. It's also a strong rebuke to Davis' anti-health care stance among the Democratic electorate of Alabama. His position was particularly irritating, because it forced Democrats to pry away other votes from more conservative members.

In Alabama's 5th Congressional District, party-switching Republican Rep. Parker Griffith lost by a wide margin in his primary election. He wasn't even able to force the leading candidate into a runoff. Switching parties can get you the support of the Washington political establishment, but it doesn't reflect well to voters, who are good at spotting political opportunists.

That's it for tonight, we'll see you tomorrow!

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