Saturday, February 9, 2008

Preview of the general election

Folks, if you're watching Obama's speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, what you're seeing is a little preview of the general election. We didn't get to see much of Hillary Clinton's speech to this group a couple of hours ago, so we don't know how much of this ground she covered. But Obama is out to prove to Virginia Democrats tonight that he has what it takes to take it to John McCain.

He's covered all the hot topics of this campaign; notably, the war in Iraq, health care reform, energy policy, college affordability and the economy.

On that last part, Obama mentioned the "Bush-McCain tax cuts" and talked about how "the wheels came off the Straight Talk Express."

He even came after McCain on McCain's biggest asset -- foreign policy -- and he's coming with both barrels. Defending his controversial position about reopening diplomatic channels with foreign countries like Iran, Obama quoted JFK, arguably the Democratic Party's greatest modern hero. It's an example of what makes Obama so smart. He structures his arguments not only by disparaging the other side's position, but also by bolstering his own. It's a powerful -- and effective -- combination.

This is like watching a boxer try to make weight before a big fight. Obama's taking the general election stump speech out for a spin, kicking its tires and getting a feel for its rate of acceleration. From the looks of the turnout across the nation and they way people react to him, he'd better get comfortable in the driver's seat.