John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Trouble In Obamaland

Posted on August 1, 2008



         In 1988, Michael Dukakis had a 16 point lead over George Bush in polls leading up to the Democratic and Republican conventions.


         At the time, the conventional wisdom was that while the American people liked Ronald Reagan, they didn’t want a third Reagan term.  They wanted competence in government, and a turn from the sharp partisanship of the Reagan Administration. 


         That was the conventional wisdom, until Dukakis bombed in the debates and proved to be a weaker candidate than anybody thought was possible.


         Today everybody assumes that the Democrats will win the White House.  The Republican brand is facing stiff headwinds.  George Bush II is incredibly (and inexplicably) unpopular.  The economy is struggling to keep its head above water.  Most Americans think that the country is going in the wrong direction.


         So, Barack Obama should be doing just as well or better than Mike Dukakis, shouldn’t he?


Well, according to Gallup's latest poll of 2,682 registered voters, Obama only has the slimmest of leads, with a 45-44 percent lead over John McCain.


The poll was taken on Monday through Wednesday of this week, after Obama’s world tour.


A couple of conclusions can be reached.


First, Obama’s German trip was a bust.  It yielded a funny campaign commercial for the McCain team, it annoyed voters who want Obama to focus on their problems (not the problems of 200 thousand flag-waving Germans), and it hurt him in the polls.


Second, Obama is a weaker candidate than the Democratic brand.  In other words, if the Democrats had fielded just about any other candidate (Michael Dukakis for example) they would be killing McCain in the polls.


Third, Obama’s assumption that he will be the next President is preposterous.  It is as if Obama was winning a basketball game by 2 points in the first half, and he calls himself the winner.  Not smart.


Fourth, despite a frazzled campaign, an undisciplined candidate, and a host of other problems, John McCain should think of himself as the front-runner in this campaign.  No need to act desperate.  McCain is going to win this thing, hands down.

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