"Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds."
- Henry Adams
This is not going to be an easy campaign for Obama.
His lead in today's polls means nothing --- could be a dead cat bounce after winning the delegates needed for the nomination.
More than likely, the present lead will be wiped out by the Bradley effect (racist voters who lie to pollsters), and the electoral map makes things doubly hard for him.
If he doesn't win Florida or Ohio or Pennsylvania or Michigan (at least three out of four), forget the election.
Reality Check: Obama is not going to win Georgia, or Virginia or all those mountain or southern states that he won in the primaries.
Remember how strong Howard Dean looked before the Iowa primary four years ago? What happened to his 50 state strategy then?
If Obama is going to win, he has to go back to the Democratic heartland and he has to play hardball.
The good news. He seems to have learned the game. The harsh spring primaries against Clinton were a good preseason for him.
Yesterday's contra temps was classic Political Jujitsu.
You take the opponent's best issue and flip it. When you see the force coming at you, you redirect your opponent's momentum. His best issues are heartbreakingly turned against him. It takes the wind out of a campaign.
Previously, Obama was ambivalent about playing the harsh political game, which opened up many opportunities for Hillary to successfully upend his message in the primaries.
Yesterday's resignation of his advisor and Vice Presidential vetter, James Johnson, could have been a tough day for Obama.
Instead, the Obama campaign changed the subject and started what should be a long running attack of political jujitsu against McCain, using the strength of McCain's persona and his core themes --- that he is experienced and reliable --- against him.
When McCain blurted out on the Today Show that "It's not too important" if American troops come home from Iraq, the Obama campaign hammered at him. Sen. Kerry called him "out of touch."
Other Obama advisors said that McCain seems "confused" and pointed out a "disturbing pattern" of previous errors about the Sunnis and the Shiites.
The Obama campaign seems wisely determined to come at McCain early and define him.
When McCain says "I am experienced," the Obama campaign will remind us --- code talk --- that McCain is "tied" to Washington lobbyists and that he is "confused" and not very likely, or able, to protect us. As Obama said a few weeks ago, "He seems to have lost his bearings."
Obama needs to do this every day until the election --- because we know that Straight Talk McCain is going to keep making mistakes --- and hope that the strategy doesn't backfire with its ageist undertones.
In 2004, the Republicans crippled John Kerry by discrediting his strengths ---his patriotism, Catholicism, character and well-documented war hero record --- with innuendos and falsehoods --- a classic Rovian Republican tactic.
The 527 soft money independent Republican ad groups are going to raise hundreds of million of dollars to smear Obama --- he needs to fight back.
As George Bernard Shaw said:
"An election is a moral horror, as bad as battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned."