Thursday, June 5, 2008<

What Barack Obama Underestimates

Mark Halperin just posted 15 things that John McCain underestimates. I presume that he is going to do the same for Obama soon, so i'm going to beat him to the punch (and we'll see how close I get to his list):

1) The ferocity of the Republican attack machine - while McCain officially wants to keep the campaign clean, there are plenty of 527s and other surrogates who won't be afraid to hit Obama hard (and dirty)

2) The extent to which patriotism can be used as a bludgeon, no matter how much Obama wishes otherwise

3) The ability for some Americans to hold conflicting thoughts in their head, specifically that Obama is a Muslim and that he's got a crazy minister

4) The dislike of the American public for having their government controlled entirely by one party

5) The resentment of Hillary supporters over the primary - for most it will go away, for some it won't heal by November

6) The need to fight the pompous/arrogant/elitist label before it becomes the campaign narrative

7) The limits of speaking the unvarnished truth to the American public - Americans only like so much bad news and calls for sacrifice

8) The fear of change - some people think that as bad as things are now they can always get worse

9) The transition in the style of the campaign - Barack won't have a primary night every week or so in which he can give a big, nationally televised speech - he's going to have to create occasions to give speeches and make the most of them when he does

10) The ability of Republicans to raise money - Barack will have the money advantage, but not by as much as people think

11) The strength of McCain's personal story - he's a war hero without the Kerry post-war complications

12) The difficulty of the electoral map - he's going to have to win in places where Democrats haven't won in a while

13) The difficulty of linking McCain to Bush - despite simiarities in policy, people do see McCain as representing a different direction

14) The potential for Republicans to use referendums on divisive cultural issues to drive turnout (e.g., gay marriage in CA)

15) Changes in the economy - gas prices will likely start to come down by the fall as gas stations switch back from summer to winter blends and demand drops, this will feel to some voters as though things are getting better under the incumbent party

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