It's an odd thing to watch the Democratic Convention in Denver. The messages just aren't consistent - there's an off-kilter feel to the whole thing. Just take Mark Warner's remarks last night for example. Here's a guy who's viewed as the future of the party, whose withdrawal before the presidential stakes was shocking to a lot of people, and who - if Barack Obama loses - would immediately become a frontrunner for the nomination in four years. But his speech seemed stilted and off - he was talking as the moderate he is, not the podium pounding populist the audience wants.
Maybe now we have a clear reason why speakers are struggling: the biggest foreign policy issue of the campaign - the largest policy reason, in fact, that Obama is the nominee - has swung so firmly away from the Democrats as to make their message incoherent at best, and dramatically out of touch at worse.
Voter confidence in the War on Terror is at the highest level ever recorded since Rasmussen Reports began regular tracking in January 2004. Fifty-four percent (54%) of American voters now think the United States and its allies are winning the war. The previous high-water mark for optimism--52%--was reached a handful of times in September and October 2004.
Optimism about the situation in Iraq is also at an all-time high. Forty-eight percent (48%) now expect the situation in that troubled country to get better over the next six months. Only 17% expect things to get worse. In addition to being the most optimistic assessment ever recorded, these numbers reflect a remarkable turnaround over the past year. Last August, just 27% thought things were going to get better while 47% were pessimistic.
Guess when the worst time to discover your message on the war and Iraq sucks? Well, during a huge televised national convention is probably near the top of the list.
Let's wait and see what Barack Obama has to say on Thursday. This used to be his political wheelhouse, one that combined with his skill as a speaker inspired a following of passionate young voters and academic communities; now, it's a deadweight with all the middle class voters Obama needs to win the election.
In what has to be one of the great political ironies of our time, one wonders if, had the surge strategy the Democrats opposed started six months earlier, Hillary Clinton would've been the nominee.