I'm still on holiday, and in transit from the Devon countryside to the big city of Bristol today, so just a quickie:
A post by Rebecca Curtis in The Huffington Post entitled "Summer Love, Fall Freak-Out: The Bradley Effect and Why Obama Will Lose Without Hillary" sums up the kind of panic spreading among some Obama supporters when they see the fluctuating presidential election polls. The Bradley Effect, as some will recall, refers to the 1982 California gubernatorial election, which Tom Bradley appeared to be winning handily according to the polls but lost by a wide margin. The received wisdom has always been that white voters somehow just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Black man on election day, even though they intended to and told pollsters they would.
You will have to read Curtis' full post to get the flavor of this argument, which seems to have many Obama supporters freaked out despite the solidity of the most important polls of all: The electoral college vote, which has consistently put Obama way ahead week after week.
Of course, that too could change, but the important issue is: What should the Obama campaign be doing about the uncertainties and challenges of running against McCain? Too many well-meaning supporters are reaching for the kind of desperate, anything-to-win measures that are sure to be transparent to voters and undermine even further Obama's image as a bold leader who truly represents something different. His shifting positions on nearly every issue of the day, clearly influenced by the coterie of "advisors" around him (why is the role of an advisor nearly always to give bad advice?), have already done him damage, and handed McCain a lot of ammunition to use when the debates get underway.
And I find Curtis' post particularly objectionable, because it basically implies that Americans will simply find their inner racists on election day and pull the lever for McCain as if in some sort of spell. This ignores the enormous sea change in attitudes that allowed Obama to win the Democratic nomination, and most importantly, it ignores the important lesson that racism is best dealt with straight-on (as Obama has done when at his best), and not by shucking and jiving and pulling Hillarys out of hats.
More about Obama: For a healthier attitude towards the campaign and its challenges, see this commentary online in The Nation by Robert Borosage and Katrina vanden Heuvel. And for a different view from a different Balter, see the Comments section of this post. I would be interested in hearing from others as well!