Super Tuesday is just around the corner, and the basic
story lines for Clinton and Obama have pretty much solidified. Both contain a
fair amount of fiction.
Hillary pushes herself as the experienced candidate in her
new ad mentioning her endorsement by the NYT. See it here. It is good
thoughtful stuff and if you vote with your head you might pull her lever. But Hillary has
clearly learned from Drew Westen’s The Political Brain (which Bill is said to have read in one
sitting) and knows she has to make things viscerally relevant to be emotionally
memorable – so she has also come out with “Freefall”. This ad attempts to reposition her “I’m the candidate strongest on security
issues” line as an economic rather than a foreign policy pitch. The way the
economy is going, this approach is at least forward looking.
Obama’s ad is unabashedly
backwards looking as he continues to run on his “new politics” platform. Hey,
if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Obama’s Superbowl ad
basically says to new voters, “Come on in, join the Democratic Party, the
waters fine.” If good intentions were all we needed from a President, this
thing would already be over. Clearly Obama’s heart is in the right place.
One problem for the future is that both story lines depend on
large doses of the willing suspension of disbelief. Hillary actually has no
executive branch experience (though she clearly was a major adviser to Bill),
and Obama’s political pitch – “elect me, because I’m not part of the same old
thing” – is actually pretty standard political fodder. He certainly isn’t the first candidate to
run as a “uniter not a divider”.
Meanwhile McCain looks like he is on rock solid ground as
“the last Grand Pa standing” with enough time to mend any political fences
before things get nasty come next November. The Dems may have actually figured
out how to lose this thing.