Lotta good comments below. This one made a lot of sense to me:
Rendell doesn't have an angle, per se - he's simply speaking his mind, as he's famously wont to do. He has never believed that Obama can reach white voters. Every bit of his political experience militates against that conclusion. He was similarly skeptical of the polling in advance of the primary, and his concerns were borne out, to an extent - Clinton closed strong in the final week, widening the margin of her win.
It's very simple. You can count on one hand the number of politicians who managed to change the underlying demographics of the electorate. All the rest won office through a mixture of optimistic projection of their own chances and cynical realism about the nature of the electorate. It's why so few politicians were willing to back Barack early on; they didn't buy his game plan. And to this day, many of them can't believe he can actually change the electorate, can actually win over swing voters. They just don't. Rendell wants him to win, he's just panicked that he might lose.
Sure, Rendell might be bitter, or it might all be a devilishly clever conspiracy to dupe McCain. But I'll take the simplest explanation available, thanks.
The only problem is--even putting Rendell's motives aside--why does it make sense, given the dynamics of this election, to focus on Pennsylvania? It's true I've been hitting him a little too hard, and perhaps unfairly, but I don't see the wisdom of focusing there. Let's say we buy Rendell's logic. Doesn't it stand to reason that the polls could also wrong about Virginia? About Florida? About Ohio? What about Colorado? Obama has a much smaller lead in all of those states. Why isn't his lead overstated there too? If you're not confident Obama will win in Pennsylvania, why should be confident he's going to win at all? I realize the demography is different in many of those, but in three of them, you have that same vast swath of Appalachia that gave Obama problems in the primary.
It seems reactive to pin it all on Pennsylvania--like, since McCain is pitting his hopes there we should be too. But why? McCain can win Pennsylvania and he'd still be in trouble. Moreover, shouldn't we note that both Gore and Kerry won Pennsylvania? How'd they end up?
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