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Democratic Obama Anxiety « The Washington Independent

Maybe political junkies suffer from some reverse-seasonal disorder that makes for a depressing summer. While most Americans kick back in August, this is the classic time for dark assessments of the presidential campaign. Now, percolating just beneath the veepstakes rumors, Democratic activists, operatives and donors are worrying that Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign is flailing.

Josh Marshall, a measured journalist with a large political following, captured the mood in an unusually bleak post yesterday. He argued that while Republicans charge Obama with "soft treason," he has not found "any consistent lines of attack" for punching back. Teeing off that critique, AmericaBlog reports that "a lot of people in [Democratic] politics" are worried:

There is an incredible discontent out there with the way this campaign is being run. The fact that the discontent isn’t being recognized, isn’t being assuaged, is disturbing.People aren’t worried about the election, they’re becoming despondent about it.

These fears are premature, by definition, and candid public hand-wringing is usually dicey in politics. The entire game is also about to change. This race is headed toward two running mate announcements, two conventions and televised debates that will dwarf the impact of petty attack ads by several orders of magnitude. Yet experienced pols are warning Obama anyway.

That’s not only because August is shaping up as a net negative for his campaign, but also precisely because people fear he will simply ride the positive momentum of upcoming events — without rolling out sharper attacks on Sen. John McCain. That’s a strategy sure to leave Democrats very despondent.

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