This Frank Rich piece from the NY Times makes a good point about the listlessness that seems to have infected the Presidential campaign in the past month or so. Most of that is attributable to the summer vacations drawing away the attention of both the press and the media audience, but it’s true that there hasn’t been a lot of substance recently. So why though does the Obama campaign move away from all that fun audacity of hope stuff?
Thing is, Obama and his campaign have the calculation down: he isn’t going to win the election by appealing to Frank Rich, and no matter how much his changed policies on Iraq and public-campaign financing make his original fans angry, they aren’t going to matter much to the rest of the electorate that has tuned things out until the fall and didn’t agree with the lefty positions on those issues in the first place. He can also save the exciting rhetoric for the time that the spotlight’s turned back on. It’s cynical, but Obama surely won’t lose left-leaning voters in the general election — they’re going to sit this one out after what happened in 2000 and 2004? — and can only potentially gain middle-ground voters by moving that way. Sure, it’s inconsistent, but sometimes you gotta know who you can afford to piss off, and that’s usually the party base.