1980 Redux

More evidence that the Obama campaign is seeing this election as 1980 in reverse:

“Democrats should take a deep breath and realize that there are a group of voters who won’t make up their mind about a candidate until deep in the fall,” said David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager. “And there are 18 states that are battlegrounds for a reason, and they’ll be decided by 2 to 4 points. I don’t care about national polls.”

Others, though, have the whiff of panic about them.

McCain/Obama Tax Comparisons

Let’s see … Obama wants to give me a tax cut, and eliminate taxes for seniors making under $50K a year. The latter would be good for my 80-year-old mom, who is under the threshold, lives totally on Social Security and investments, and is getting socked with big tax bills every year. 

McCain likely would cut the tax rate on my income too, but also wants to take away the tax break that now allows me to buy employer-provided health insurance without counting the benefit as income, even as my salary remains flat thanks to the state of the industry I work in.

What would a rational voter do here?

The real question, though, is how much of a stink will Obama make about McCain’s health-care tax proposal. The negative ads write themselves.

Back to the Future, Tax-Wise

Obama’s top economic advisers have an op-ed in the WSJ laying out their guy’s tax plan. Interesting point of emphasis is to peg many of its provisions to the Clinton era’s tax structure. That’s a good move, strategically, as it sets up the question, “Are you better off now than you were eight years ago?” A lot of the voters Obama’s targeting will say no, particularly if inflation continues to spike. The Bush tax cut and the deficits it caused were the first triggers for inflation, followed in no particular order by loose interest rates, rising global demand for energy and materials, and uncertainty in energy markets. And the idea that a return to Clinton tax policy would spike the economy refutes itself when one remembers that the late 1990s featured the best economy anyone of Obama’s age has ever worked in.

Why the MSM Ignores Certain Stories

Short answer: When they seem like a waste of time. Example: the one now going around that wonders why journos haven’t checked Obama’s draft-registration status when the registration law specifies that unregistered people aren’t eligible for executive-branch jobs. Never mind that the Constitution spells out the eligibility threshold for president, nowhere mentions draft status and nowhere gives Congress the power to change the threshold without going through the amendment process. Really, is that so damn hard?

They Didn’t Get It

The Clinton people never appreciated the power or value of Obama’s ground game, and were without the vision or means to assemble one of their own:

Not long after New Hampshire, in a senior-staff meeting that both Clintons attended at the campaign’s Arlington headquarters, Ickes announced to his stunned colleagues, “The cupboard is empty.” The campaign had burned through its money just getting past Iowa. And the news got worse: despite spending $100 million, it had somehow failed to establish ground operations in all but a handful of upcoming states. Now, urgently needing them, it lacked the money.

The Atlantic’s Clinton Campaign Expose

It’s up, finally. Here’s the nut:

Above all, this irony emerges: Clinton ran on the basis of managerial competence—on her capacity, as she liked to put it, to “do the job from Day One.” In fact, she never behaved like a chief executive, and her own staff proved to be her Achilles’ heel. What is clear from the internal documents is that Clinton’s loss derived not from any specific decision she made but rather from the preponderance of the many she did not make. Her hesitancy and habit of avoiding hard choices exacted a price that eventually sank her chances at the presidency.

Clintonian Delusions

Hillary Clinton ex-spokesman Howard Wolfson’s idea that Clinton would have won the Iowa caucuses had John Edwards gotten forced out of the race before that point because of his infidelity is what I call dumb-shit stuff. You have to be an idiot to say it, or an idiot to believe it.

Over at FiveThirtyEight (the definitive campaign horse-race/poll blog), Nate Silver does an excellent job of explaining why: If Clinton wasn’t a caucus-goer’s first choice, she quite likely wasn’t a second choice, either. That only stands to reason. Going into Iowa, she’d been the front-runner for the better part of two years. Democrats had a long time to think about whether they’d support her. For those who answered that question with a “no,” for whatever reason, Obama and Edwards were the natural destinations. It was a much more difficult leap for an Edwards supporter to turn back to Hillary once he was out of the race than it was to get behind Obama. 

Unless, that is, the Edwards supporters in question really disliked Obama’s stance in Iraq. Policy-wise, that was the only real difference between the two.