Monday, June 09, 2008

Figuring It Out

Also on yesterday's (6/8/08) episode of Meet The Press, NBC Political Director Chuck Todd spoke of the influence of the economy on the upcoming presidential election:

You know, it's funny. Now that the--next week, Obama's starting this economic tour. Next week, John McCain is going to focus on the economy. Both of them got their nominations because of their stances in national security. OK, Barack Obama would be nothing without Iraq. He would not be the nominee of the Democratic Party. John McCain would not be the nominee of the Republican Party without Iraq. And now these two guys want to--both of them want to have this national security debate, and the country's begging them to have a debate about the economy.

And what I'm wondering is, we're seeing--and look, you see John McCain trying very much to keep this about national security, because he believes that's his trump card. He believes that's the one time where age matters and experience matters. But the first candidate that figures out how to talk to working class voters about the economy and feel their pain is going to be the one that eventually wins this election. And neither one of them are good at it yet. Barack Obama's not good at this yet, and neither is John McCain.... And, and, you know, the funny thing is, if we thought this was going to be an economy election 18 months ago, there'd be different nominees today.


Todd is largely correct that the two candidates procured the nomination because of national security- though in Obama's case, because of Iraq rather than national security generally. He is arguing, as everyone (prematurely) is doing now, that the economy will be the main issue this fall. But I can tell him that some of us always suspected that it would be the main issue, that assurances by Joe Scarborough and other professional Repubs as late as last fall that the economy was doing better than people thought were foolish. Todd's insight that these two candidates are uncomfortable with, and weak on, economic issues is a welcome insight that I haven't heard elsewhere. And eventually the punditocracy will figure out what a few of us have believed all along- the two major political parties have managed to put up nearly the weakest candidates they could have.

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