After reflecting on what I had written last night, I realized that while the ads are important, as they do shape the narrative of the race going into the fall, it’s also important to dig deeper when looking at Obama’s strength and what that means for his candidacy come November.

Last night I wrote about Obama’s strength — his rhetoric, and therefore his celebrity — being attacked and linked with classism by the McCain campaign.  But I think I sold Obama short in that his strength is not wrapped up in his rhetoric.

His strength is now tied to the thousands of people across the country — the best trained campaign force in history.  This summer, filled with ads, petty inter-campaign arguments, and pundits pretending to know what they are talking about will eventually give way to a fall filled with the largest grassroots operation a presidential campaign has ever seen.  The McCain camp wants us to get caught up in the bankrupt arguments of whether Obama’s celebrity is a good thing or not.  And for a while, I did.  But a post this morning on Al Giordano’s blog, titled “The Movement Comes After Labor Day,” brought me back down to earth.  The lull in this election that started at the beginning of June when Sen. Obama became the presumptive nominee does not allow us to see the real impact of the movement.  This only comes, as Giordano says, after Labor Day, when the canvassing, phone banking, and parade-marching begins in earnest.

It’s no wonder this election has seen the pundits offer less-than-stellar political commentary.  In past elections we might have a fairly good idea of what might happen come November, due to coalitions that solidified over the last few decades, and major party candidates that looked alike and had generally similar stories.  But 2008 is an election unlike any we’ve ever had in this country.  The race and age dynamics are there, in addition to signs that point toward a rearrangement of the political map.  Because political junkies like ourselves have never had this experience, we have even less of a chance of correctly predicting what happens on November 4th.  The Gallup poll I wrote about previously, the likely voter screen that only calculated young voters as a 10% share of the entire sample, is an example of this uncertainty.

What we do know, again, is that Barack Obama has put together an operation that the Democratic Party and the United States has never seen before.  And I believe that the size of this movement — one that encompasses the youth vote — is what’s truly going to determine what happens on Election Day.  The Obama campaign still needs to be more aggressive with emotion in their ads, and they need to be on the offensive far more than they have been over the past few weeks.  But come October, this change “we can believe in” is going to bombard this country unlike anything we’ve ever seen.  And it all will be due to what happened in Iowa during those cold November and December nights.

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