The Spectacle Blog

Disoriented Democrats

By on 9.13.08 | 11:53AM

I'll leave it to others to fret over Sarah Palin's unpreparedness, and instead point out how unprepared Democrats were for Palin. The most revealing fact is that, when Team Obama listed nine GOP vice-presidential possibilities as "The Next Cheney," Palin's name wasn't on the list. The reason Democrats' initial attacks were so wildly off-target was that the Obama campaign hadn't prepared a full oppo-research file on Palin.

Michael Barone discusses the Palin impact in terms of "the OODA loop," aerial strategist John Boyd's acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act:

The Palin selection -- and her performance at the convention and on the stump -- seems to be having that effect. Obama chief strategist David Axelrod admitted of the Palin pick: "I can honestly say we weren't prepared for that. I mean, her name wasn't on anybody's list."

The choice of Palin threw Team Obama off-balance for two weeks, at a key point in the campaign cycle. It deprived them of their accustomed place in the media spotlight and, by putting them behind in the polls, contradicted their narrative of the inevitable triumph of Hope. Instead of the front-runner soaring to new heights of popularity, Obama now looks like a fading star -- and perhaps even a victim of what a friend of mine calls a "Mondalean-Dukakoid meltdown."

How bad is it for Obama? There is now talk that he's out of the running in Florida.

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin surveys the brightened GOP prospects and cautions:

Republicans should be under no illusion that this is in the bag. Democrats made that mistake and look where it got them.
Exactly.
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