Bil Browning

How Obama can win Indiana

Filed By Bil Browning | August 14, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics

The Obama campaign released a new television ad yesterday that will be playing heavily in Indiana. In my opinion, this is the best ad yet.

All of the internal polling that I've seen says that unlike the rest of the country, Hoosiers' predominant complaint about the current administration isn't the war, sex scandals or international standing. It's the economy.

That's how Obama can win Indiana. More, including a statement from the campaign, after the jump.

We've lost our jobs, the cost of everything has gone sky high and Hoosiers are losing their homes while scrambling to feed our families. This ad, which features Midwesterners talking about the dire economy, is aimed directly at the heart of Indiana. Notice how many Hoosiers are in that commercial. It appears the ad will only air in Indiana, although featuring two Buckeyes would seem to make it a good fit for Ohio airwaves as well.

In the press release announcing the ad, the campaign says:

Barack Obama recognizes that Americans are facing tough economic challenges and has proposed a $50 billion stimulus plan that would provide $1 billion for Indiana, including energy rebates to help Hoosiers cope with record-high gas prices. Obama's plan would also provide 3.5 million Indiana workers with a $1,000 per family tax cut. Barack Obama would also invest in U.S. manufacturing, create 5 million good-paying green jobs for American workers and another 2 million jobs by strengthening and repairing the nation's roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.

Just like in 1932's presidential election which catapulted Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt into office, Hoosiers are hungry for economic prosperity - a "new deal," if you will. Roosevelt won Indiana with 54.7% of the vote. Tell me if you can see the corrolary (emphasis mine):

After making a dangerous airplane trip from his Hyde Park estate to the Democratic convention, Roosevelt accepted the nomination in person. In this history-making speech, he committed himself to battling the Great Depression in the United States with a "New Deal" when he stated: "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people." Roosevelt's trip to Chicago was the first of several successful, precedent-making moves designed to make him appear to be the candidate of change in the election. Large crowds greeted Roosevelt as he traveled around the nation; his campaign song "Happy Days Are Here Again" became one of the most popular in American political history.

In contrast, President Hoover was widely blamed for the Great Depression; for more than two years Hoover had been issuing statements that the worst was over, only to have the economy make further downturns. Hoover's attempts to publicly campaign were a disaster, as he often had objects (especially rotten fruit and vegetables) thrown at him or his vehicle as he rode through city streets. In his addresses, Hoover attacked Roosevelt as a dangerous radical who would only make the Depression worse by raising taxes and increasing the federal debt to pay for expensive welfare and social-relief programs. However, with unemployment at a record 33%, Hoover's criticisms failed to gain traction with the public.

Someone needs to remind McCain that Hoover lost overwhelmingly - the "largest ever margin of defeat for an incumbent President." McCain might not be the President currently, but for all of his "maverick" positioning when he ran against Bush in 2000 and 2004, his toadying of the past four years has landed him squarely in the BushCo camp in the eyes of many Hoosier voters.

Fellow contributor Tyrion may think an Obama win in Indiana is a long shot, but if Obama sticks with this theme, the election here is his to lose.

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