Thursday, June 26, 2008

HubrisWatch Update

Megalomania rampant at Obama HQ:

Democrat Barack Obama could be coming to Alaska to campaign as part of his effort to win a state that hasn't chosen a Democrat for president since 1964.
"That is the plan -- we are pretty sure he's going to come at the end of the summer," said Kat Pustay, who was named Wednesday as Obama's Alaska director. . . .
"The campaign in Chicago is saying this is a battleground state so we're going to get resources," she said.

If any further evidence were needed that Axelrod and Plouffe have fallen into the deadly maddening throes of Ibogaine addiction, this is it.

Alaska has only three Electoral College votes; TPM's Greg Sargent notes that Gore got 28% and Kerry got 36% in Alaska; Obama opposes drilling ANWR, while Alaskans overwhelming support it. Obama's chance of winning Alaska is negligible, and the reward would be small.

Furthermore, travel time to Anchorage from the nearest major airport (Seattle-Tacoma) is about 2-1/2 hours. So, just to reach Alaska would likely require that Obama travel to Washington state (a solid "red state" where he doesn't really need to campaign anyway), and then spend 5 hours round-trip in transit to campaign in a state where he has practically zero chance to win.

By comparison, what might Obama accomplish by spending a single day in Florida, which has 27 electoral votes -- 9 times the Electoral College weight of Alaska -- and is much more likely to be a swing state in November?

Alternatively, Obama could do a morning rally in Akron or Youngstown, Ohio, hop over to Pittsburgh (65 miles from Youngstown) for a noon event, and then fly to Dulles International in time to do a 6 p.m. rally in Northern Virginia that would draw live TV news coverage. By such scheduling, Obama could -- in a single day -- be "local news" in three competitive states with a combined 54 Electoral College votes.

Both Sargent and Ben Smith appear to be taking this Alaska talk seriously, but it would be sheer madness for Team Obama even to think about it. In fact, it was wrong for the Obama campaign's leadership to suggest to their Alaska campaign chairwoman that they would even consider such a trip, because it's a promise that Obama surely will be forced to break.

If any sane Democrat happens to be reading this, I would urge you to go up to Chicago, get the top Obama campaign officials into a room, and stage an intervention:

"Here, David, let me take that Red Bull. Have a nice cup of hot mint tea instead. Would anybody like a cookie? Listen, guys we've been thinking, maybe with all the stress of the campaign, all those problems from Hillary, the 19-hour days and all, maybe you're ... a little tired. Maybe you could use some time to get away from it all, y'know? Just chill out for a few days and not worry about the campaign for a while. . . . David, stop checking your Blackberry, OK? Just listen to me . . ."

These bizarre fantasies about campaigning in Alaska, Wyoming, Texas -- Texas? Texas? Are you freaking kidding me? -- are clear evidence of a delusional condition at Obama HQ. I can't swear for certain they've gotten into the Ibogaine, but given their grandiose ideation, it's a possibility that can't be ruled out.

UPDATE: Some sanity at MSNBC:

It's not dissimilar to what Bush did with California in 2000, when he spent real money and campaign time to see if he could dare Gore to follow suit. Gore didn't and the Bush strategy almost cost him the presidency.

In other words, "Hunt where the ducks are."

UPDATE II: A conversation about this at The American Spectator blog, where James Antle tries to explain David Plouffe's manic babbling in terms of "leveraging the 'enthusiasm gap,'" to which I respond:

Either Plouffe's trying to head-fake the McCain campaign off-balance, or else he's trying to deceive Democrats (and their media minions) into believing that Team Obama is such a mighty juggernaut that the candidate can afford to kill time in Wyoming to help local Democrats, rather than campaigning in a state he might actually win. I frankly think they're over their heads, they know it, and they're talking this bold talk as a facade to hide their own panic.

Nor am I the only one who sees this Alaska talk as evidence of (possibly Ibogaine-induced) lunacy. Newsweek's Andrew Romano writes:

During a session with reporters at the Democratic National Committee's Washington, D.C. headquarters this afternoon, Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe made a pretty interesting prediction: Obama could win Alaska in November. I wasn't there, but I imagine Plouffe's projection was greeted with the sound of every hack in the room scribbling "crazy" in his notebook. And underlining it. Twice.

They say there's a fine line between genius and madness. And Plouffe sounds like he's at least four miles on the other side of that line.


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