My email has been overflowing this week from wonderful people concerned about the presidential campaign. They all have valuable input. Many are deeply worried about how the campaigns are proceeding, some people are in full fledged panic, many have good advice on 'what must be done immediately' and others simply are resigned to failure and victimhood by invoking our losing races in 2000 and 2004.
After forty years and this being my 13th presidential race, my advice is to take a deep breath, chill and get to work. All is not lost and actually we are doing better than I expected at this stage. Let's focus on the reality:
1. The Republican Convention was just one week ago.
2. Supreme Court anointing notwithstanding, we won in 2000.
3. In 2004, we came within a few thousand votes of defeating an incumbent President which is extremely hard to do.
4. Did anyone really believe we would be leading by 10% coming out of the Republican Convention and maintain that lead to the end?
5. Coming out of a Republican Convention with a major political surprise we are still basically TIED with them. That is not bad at all.
6. The Obama campaign has run a brilliant campaign so far and have risen to every tough situation so far. I have seen nothing yet to shake my faith in them.
7. There is no question that a week ago the McCain pulled a great political move in the short term (and maybe the long term) and we have to figure out how to handle it. But PLEASE lets not rush strategic judgements in order to make ourselves feel better. Take time and don't make mistakes....haste helps the other side.
8. The debates are coming up and my guess is that these debates will be the most important debates since the Kennedy/ Nixon debates in 1960. That was an election where it was about a generational shift in power.
9. We will lose if we don the mantle of victimhood, losers and hand wringers. What will really hurt is to let the Republicans sap our spirit, our contributions and crowds.
10. Lets be real here. This race will be neck and neck until Election Day. When a new generation seeks change from the status quo, the old timers will fight as if their lives depend on it. This is going to be political trench warfare.
So my dear friends, take a deep breath, chill, get strong, give it your all and fight like hell.