WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com
When I was a kid, my dad used to take 10 items, put them on a tray, have me study them for a minute, and then, while I left the room, he would "hide them in plain sight" and I would have to find them. This exercise was to help me learn to look at details, and to be able to scan a scene I knew well and (hopefully) immediately notice if something was different.
Today's metaphoric tray is the 2008 General Election. The specific items on the tray are relatively unimportant, but they fall under the categories of polls, media, and campaign rhetoric and action.
Let's play "What's Different?"
Normally, when we're 21 days out from an election, both Presidential candidates have actual plans and proposals. You know, an actual plan of what they would do if elected. In general, those ideas dovetail with the party platform. You should immediately know what's different here.
Normally, we do NOT have candidates who are selected at a time when they are under active ethics investigation. (And yes, I too was stunned when she gleefully announced AFTER the finding of breach of ethics that she "had done nothing wrong." Shades of Nixon's "I am not a crook.")
Normally, we do not have surrogates, party regulars and media who lean towards a candidate who dis a candidate. It's so rampant, even the low information voters have seen it on the news. (Personal pick fave: Charlie Christ chose Disney World over a campaign appearance. Now, that would have been my choice, but Charlie and I so rarely disagree. NO DRILLING. Sorry, I digress.)
Normally, we do not have the internet. The technology that brings us the immediacy of blogs, twitter, viral video is really only ubiquitous this election cycle. Without the internet, Senator Obama would likely not have been able to build the grassroots organization and war chest that he did. And let's not forget cell phones - while the professional pollsters believe they know the impact, we probably won't until after the election.
Normally, we DO have Tim Russert. And I miss him, and his Sunday frame, as much now as when I wrote this. His commitment to truth matters more with each passing day.
But we are still 3 weeks out. And as a Democrat, I know to NEVER count my chickens before they hatch. So, as always: "We have a plan, we work our plan, we get our voters out." It certainly looks much better this year than in 2004, 1988, 1984, 1980, 1972 (imagine what the truth would have done THAT year), etc.
We need to remember 2000. Frame of reference. So of course, you know what's coming: if you can take off on Election Day, PLEASE call your local Obama office and sign up to help. We need our voters out, we need our votes counted, we need people at all the polls in case anyone needs a lawyer called. If you're a lawyer, please consider joining your local rapid response team.
So here is today's morning poll: the internet makes raising money different. Here is a list of how much Senator Obama has raised so far:
January: $36.8 million
February: $56.7 million
March: $42.8 million
April: $31.9 million
May: $23.4 million
June: $54.2 million
July: $51.4 million
August: $67.5 million
How about September?
Use the comments to say what you see as the biggest differences this year. Also, see if you can guess what the picture is. If you've ever been to my house, you're ineligible, since you've seen it in my living room and heard the story.