18 April 2008

Winning High?

When I first read this Sullivan post I thought "Hey, that's a fair question." Can Obama deliver a knockout blow? Sure, he stands tall when Hillary & Co batter him over the head a few dozen times, but is it good campaign strategy to hope she just paints herself into a corner?

Then I read more carefully, and I realized that Sullivan merely poses the question so that he can beg Obama not to go in for the kill, and then he takes it one step farther.

I just hope he doesn't go negative with McCain. A key to his appeal is his positive reason, which would be revealed as mere cunning if it did not apply to running against Republicans as well.

Emphasis mine. I think this is about right. If Obama wins the nomination, can he--will he--manage not merely to remain above the fray, but to elevate the contest as well, in a general election?

In fairness to the Obama campaign, it probably will be enough if he simply remains above the fray and gets voted in without going ugly (as opposed to asking one man to elevate the contest as well, especially if his opponent isn't willing to do so). In and of itself, that would be a strong statement about the American voters' appetite for change. The question nobody seems to be able to answer is, is that scenario possible?