Obama is no peacenik

/ 29 February 2008

Obama is no peacenik, and I’m a bit sad about that. I don’t suppose someone who think quite like I do can (or perhaps even should) become president. Still, I do worry about what the future holds, even if we can elect Obama. Here he is being smart, but also being a bit fierce for my taste.

Yesterday the Obama campaign showed it can respond quickly and hit hard. The speed was impressive, and may be vital to a win in November. This may foreshadow an uglier campaign ahead. A comment by ivorybill on Daily Kos gives me some pause.

I’ve seen Axelrod in action before this campaign, and there’s a lot of truth to what you just wrote.  He is the kind of campaign manager who sees an attack as an opportunity, and he can counterpunch extremely hard. He’s fortunate to be working with Obama, because Obama has the rhetorical chops to flip attacks to his advantage.

There’s another thing about the Obama campaign that is not commonly known, at least not yet.  Axelrod is as good at negative campaigning as he is at positive campaigning.  Axelrod used opposition research and surrogates against Blair Hull and Jim Ryan with devastating impact in Illinois, and he knows how to insert a knife while publicly appearing to take the high road. I’m relieved that the Obama campaign has not fully unleashed Axelrod on HRC, because Axelrod is one mean dude and we are better off saving that for McCain.  But Mr. Straight Talk is going to be slapped around something fierce if Obama is the nominee. I can guarantee you that.   

That may be how it plays out. All I can say is I’ve loved this campaign to date and I hope the general election can be as positive and empowering as the primary has been. Hell, I hope the rest of the primary can be that way. But the ground will get awfully slippery.

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