Obama Warns Supporters: "Don't Get Cocky"

Feeling good, Obama supporters? That was a pretty good debate run Barack had. Conventional wisdom was that he bested John McCain in three straight, with undecided voters declaring him the victor in each one. Obama’s got the ‘Big Mo’ now. The Republican party is a discredited mess, and with the economy being what it is, the Democratic candidate seems poised to come out ahead on November 4.

Just like John Kerry. And Al Gore.

And you know how those contests turned out.

Debate audiences gave Gore and Kerry the win in their debates with the idiot savant Bush, Jr. But when the smoke cleared, the debate performances didn’t mean a thing. This year’s crop of Democrats may point to a radically different political landscape, one that favors their party by wide margins. They’ll point out that Obama is seen as more likable, as Bush was, and that he’s got more money to spend in the final days than his rival, as Bush did. Given the extreme closeness of the last two elections, it may be tempting to think, “This time it’s got to turn our way. It’s just got to.” Fortunately Barack Obama is having none of it.

Yesterday he warned a crowd of supporters in NYC about getting too giddy with two words, “New Hampshire.” [www.cbsnews.com]

“You know I’ve been in these positions before where we were favored and the press starts getting carried away and we end up getting spanked,” Obama said, reminding the faithful of their setback in the Granite State primary. Today, on his way to Virginia, Obama reiterated that sentiment, calling attention to one of the flaws in the Democratic DNA, the ability to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” [www.afp.com]

“Don’t underestimate our ability to screw it up.” He added: “I want everybody running scared. Over the next 18 days, other than your family and your job, I want you to make a decision that there is nothing more important than bringing about this change that we need.”

When you go out to a nice restaurant, you don’t fill up on the free bread sticks. You save some appetite for the main course. You stay hungry. If you’re an Obama supporter, don’t get sucked in by the echo chamber of your friends and like-minded co-workers. If you’re an independent and look at Obama’s record-setting cash haul and think, “Eh, he doesn’t need my help, he’s got it in the bag,” don’t be foolish. Obama may not be up against Bush, who, for all his utter incompetence once he got the job, was a highly skilled and intuitive campaigner and a much better liar than John McCain, and he may not be facing the Rasputin of politics himself, Karl Rove. But he is facing those who studied at Rove’s feet, and they’re following the playbook just as Karl wrote it, with robo-calls so disgusting they’ll make your toes curl. [tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com] And if you’re not familiar with the Bradley Effect, maybe you should be [en.wikipedia.org]. Then there’s the continued hackability of Diebold’s electronic voting machines and the usual voter suppression tactics the GOP rolls out every four years…..In short, the most Democratic-favored landscape you can imagine may not be enough. And even if it were, it would be foolhardy to behave as if it was.

A few good debates and surging poll numbers are good, certainly better than not. But when you’re trying to defeat the Death Star, there’s no room for overconfidence, even if you are a Jedi.

(Luke blows up his first TIE fighter)

Luke: Got ‘im! I got ‘im!

Han Solo: Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.

– Michael Turner