While most people are still focusing on the protracted Democratic primary race, we are approaching the threshold of the real election and it is becoming increasingly obvious what the Democrats' election gameplan looks like. It's 1992 all over again.
If the Obama campaign message is basically Jimmy Carter's left wing spirituality lite and phony attempts at "connecting" with the voters, the overall Democratic plan is rooted in the 1992 strategy that defeated the elder Bush in the wake of the first Iraq war.
The Democrats have spent so long being obsessed with Bush, that they would much rather run against Bush than John McCain. And that is exactly what they're going to do.
It's the economy stupid.
Look for the growing drumbeat of economic downturn stories in the media, jobs lost, people out of work, companies closing down and a recession growing. (Of course these stories will vanish the instant a Democrat gets elected, the way it did with Bill Clinton.) The media will continue pushing these stories to create a gloomy outlook about the economy and emphasize that major changes are required to save the economy.
This combined with a general air of pessimism about the War in Iraq will foster a gloomy atmosphere of hopelessness that the Democratic candidate, Obama has been particularly geared for this, will stride in to blow all the economic doldrums away with a "Can Do!" attitude. (Note Obama's, "Yes We Can" slogan, you haven't seen its full utility though)
The Democrats are treating this as a race against an incumbent and know that they need to make people dissatisfied with the way things are, in order to sell themselves. Those into conspiracy theories might wonder how much of the banking and wall street mess they conveniently engineered and what role Elliot Spitzer may have played in deliberately targeting certain executives without any evidence and demanding their removal. I won't go that far however, especially since it isn't necessary.
Because as with school shootings the media itself is very much a player in creating negative outcomes through its reporting. Repeated downward reporting that repeats the word "Recession" and portrays the economy in a negative light, can easily create a downward economic spiral when combined with an existing downward trend and a few economic setbacks. The media knows this. They worked to do it in the 90's to elect Bill Clinton. They're doing it again to elect Obama or Clinton 2.
If the party favors Obama, one reason is that he's a perfect figure straight out of central casting to sell a groundless optimism to America, the way Bill Clinton did. Democrats have learned the lessons of 2000. Al Gore ran on policy and lost. The Democratic candidate of 2000 will run on Hope.
The only snag in the road is the usual blind spot the Democrats have when it comes to Republicans, the sheer blinding hatred and rage that prevents them from thinking straight. Because the Democratic strategy is meant to beat Bush on the 3rd try and is poorly adapted to running against McCain. McCain was never Bush's VP, though the Democrats will do their best to emphasize a close relationship that never existed. McCain has very different politics and ideas than Bush does. There is a general dissatisfaction with the Republican party but there is also plenty of dissatisfaction with the Democratic party that this drawn out primary is only continuing to emphasize.
McCain is not the clunky gray robot that Bush Sr was and while the economic attacks will do their best to raise the ghost of Keating, Obama has managed to create his own scandals in a fairly short term in politics that are far more alive than Keating, such as Rezko, making it all too easy to exchange scandal for scandal.
With "Change" as the defining mantra, all that's left is for McCain to see if experience can trump phony optimism. It hasn't with Democratic voters but it likely will with the American voter.