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The comparisons of Barack Obama with Muhammad Ali and his famous rope-a-dope fight strategy have flown fast and furious in the past week.  Last week and even as late as Wednesday, the discussion was whether Obama and the Dems had been too passive in responding to Republican smears.  With Barack Obama's landmark acceptance speech last night, and today's desperate gambit VP pick by John McCain, it leaves no doubt that Obama knew what he was doing by letting the McCain camp overreach and punch themselves out of the round.  

The vid clip below highlights the rope-a-dope in full fruition. Ali sagging back on the ropes in a defensive stance, letting George Foreman throw punch after punch, only to find himself getting knocked out when Ali suddenly unleashes a fierce and targeted counter attack.  

As mentioned, other rope-a-dope comparisons with Obama have been made.  

When Obama began hitting back on how many homes the McCains own, this bloggerthought that was a sign that Obama had been toying with McCain since June.  And this was written a full week before Obama's acceptance speech.

No one really knows where this presidential campaign will go from here.  Today’s return salvo on the utter absurdity of a man who thinks $4 million a year is middle class and can’t remember how many homes he owns might be a one off.   But one gets the sneaking suspicion that Barack Obama has been rope-a-doping John McCain since June.  And today’s right hook is just the beginning.

Let McCain think he’s getting a free pass.  Let McCain punch and punch and punch.  Make everyone think Obama is out of gas, Obama has nothing left in the tank, Obama is too weak, too nice, too wimpy.  No way any man can withstand such a sustained barrage of negativity, body blows against the ropes, cheap shots, below the belt, pummeling.  Barack Obama’s gonna go down.  He’s not gonna fight back.

Boom.  Turns out John McCain is out on a limb.  Kinda even looks like Barack Obama let him walk out onto it.  Maybe even punch himself out.  Maybe Obama’s got a rope-a-dope.  The dope being John McCain.

But, even after Obama hit back last week, the apprehension among the Dems returned over the weekend, and began to dominate the coverage of the convention.  With the media desperately trying to find signs of division, and manufacturing them when they could not, they instead settled on the meme that the Dems were not attacking McCain hard enough and thus squandering Obama's chances.  This did create quite a bit of concern among Democrats.  

The presumption and common wisdom was that the surrogates on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday would use the prime time window to incessantly bash McCain over and over.  And after that was all over, Obama would take the high road, because the prevailing common wisdom was that Obama was too post-partisan, too high minded.

Nobody thought that Barack Obama would be the Democrat to wield the hammer that knocks John McCain off his perch.  But, it turned out that Obama was the perfect messenger, and in the process, he made it very clear that he knows the Karl Rove playbook better than McCain himself does, and will not back down.  

Make no mistake, last night's speech took every line of attack and smear that the McCain camp has used against Obama for the past month, and threw them back into their collective faces.  It was a precise and devastating counterattack, defusing the smears and then going on the offensive against McCain's perceived strengths.  This was a political speech made of the mettle that I think neither the Republicans nor most Democrats expected.

Other bloggers have now invoked the rope-a-dope comparison.  This one comes from the Huffington Post.

Like so many Democrats, I've fretted this past month as the McCain campaign seemed to land punch, after unanswered punch on Obama and his poll numbers started to slip. I wrote a blog in these pages last week with some advice on how Obama could turn Rovian tactics back on McCain to redefine himself and redefine his opponent.

We needn't have worried. Tonight Obama came off the ropes and landed a series of thunderous blows to John McCain's jaw, as Ali did to George Foreman's in the famous "Rumble in the Jungle". To mix metaphors, Obama conducted a magnificent symphony, calling on every instrument in the orchestra to play its part. He simultaneously accomplished all 5 major goals which he needed to accomplish, and more.

The McCain campaign's tepid form letter response and the propaganda smear stenographed by the AP could not nullify what 38 million viewers saw for themselves -- an epic speech that changed the political playing field and has now forced McCain to adjust.  

And now we see how they adjusted ... enter Sarah Palin!

By selecting Palin, McCain is now fighting the fight with blinders on and doing away with any strategic plan that the campaign might have had.  It's now all about appeasing the most reactionary voices in the GOP, and presuming that disaffected Hillary voters will blindly vote ANY woman (and ignore the reactionary anti-feminist agenda that Palin represents).  This is nothing more than a cynical embrace of both identity politics and social wedge issues.  

Taking the boxing analogy to the extreme, McCain scored some early points, but Obama has now delivered the first standing-eight count.  McCain has been staggered, and indeed made a punch drunk choice for veep that veers away from his strategy.  But, the fight is far from over, and there are plenty of rounds to go.  Yet, Obama has now effectively demonstrated that it will take more than petty smears and obfuscation to beat him.  The GOP can still try to bribe the judges or pay off the refs, but Obama can still deliver the knockout that eliminates any uncertainty.

Originally posted to Woochifer on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:56 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  McCain wasn't drunk (5+ / 0-)

    he was on Ambien.

    Side-effects at any dose may include:

    Anterograde amnesia
    Hallucinations, through all physical senses, of varying intensity
    Delusions
    Altered thought patterns
    Ataxia or poor motor coordination, difficulty maintaining balance[30]
    Euphoria and/or dysphoria
    Increased appetite
    Decreased libido
    Amnesia
    Impaired judgment and reasoning
    Uninhibited extroversion in social or interpersonal settings
    Increased impulsivity
    When stopped rebound insomnia may occur

  •  Exactly... (6+ / 0-)

    Dingbat McCain traded a day or two of attention for a whole campaign of pain. This was a dumb-ass pick that will backfire quickly.  I can think of at least 12 Republican women who would be far more sane choices.  Women voters can smell a transparent trick like this a mile away.

    The coverage will turn quickly.  It's happening now. The usually mild Campbell Brown was openly mocking Bay Buchanan's lame defence of Palin's "experience" on CNN.

  •  McCain did do something with this pick... (5+ / 0-)

    He makes the traditional media forget about his 72nd birthday, making him older than every other potential president to take office.  Also, we've only seen scant mention of the anniversary of Katrina in the media.  That absence won't last with Gustav bearing down on the Gulf Coast, but for one day, we won't see too many pictures of McCain and Bush and his birthday cake.

    McCain wins one or two days worth of positive media coverage.  It's our job to remind the traditional media to do their jobs and actually do some reporting after this Palin lovefest.

    Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come -- Victor Hugo

    by BasharH on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:04:13 PM PDT

    •  Yep (4+ / 0-)

      according to reports - she hasn't been vetted by McCain.

      That means one thing for sure  .... it makes Biden look solid, and with Palin? Any scandal can happen ...  

      •  A lot has already popped up in one day (4+ / 0-)

        Even though the MSM bends over for the GOP, they also know that scandals drive ratings and that can supercede any bias they might have.  The troopergate investigation is already getting play, and they're now digging into her hometown's finances when she was mayor.  

        She's anti-choice, she hunts (pictures of her wielding a rifle are already popping up), she's a former beauty queen (more pics out there), and she's a mouthpiece for big oil.  All of this makes her very easy to mold into a caricature.  The snarky jackals in the media will find her too irresistible a target.  Don't be surprised if the media scrutiny pressure gets to her, and she uses her children as a human shield (particularly her youngest child who has Down Symdrome) in much the same way that McCain now invokes the POW defense.  

        •  Down Syndrome (0+ / 0-)

          ...is genetically linked to Alzheimer's disease... she may have AD somewhere in her family.

          "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us." -- Karl Popper

          by eyeswideopen on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:37:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Kind of a weak statement. She is 44 years old. (0+ / 0-)

            The children she has are more likely to have Down's syndrome because of her age and the age of the eggs in her ovaries. The AD that Down's syndrome children have has nothing to do with their mother/father genetically giving it to them, it is the age of the eggs in her body that makes the baby more prone to Down's thus more prone to AD.  Please do a little medical research before saying a statement like that Eyeswideopen.

            When you have faith, all things are possible Obama/Biden '08

            by 3O3 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:43:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, Down's Syndrome (0+ / 0-)

              ...and AD are linked genetically not in the same person necessarily, but in alternate generations and family. I saw it in my own extended family members and it was through medical research that I learned about the link. She may end up having to take care of a parent with AD as well as 5 kids.

              "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us." -- Karl Popper

              by eyeswideopen on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:47:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You're right. (0+ / 0-)

              My info is a decade or so old, when it was an issue for certain members of our family with respect to in-laws. Since then, it appears that both folks with Down Syndrome and their mothers are at higher risk of AD, the latter if they bear the child before age 35. Thanks for sorting me out on that. It's a painful topic.

              "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us." -- Karl Popper

              by eyeswideopen on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 07:17:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is why we have triple marker screens in the (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eyeswideopen, BasharH

                second trimester of pregnancy, hCG, estriol and AFP to check for potential birth defects and other issues: Down's, multiple gestations, neural tube deficit and duodenal atresia among other issues.  

                When you have faith, all things are possible Obama/Biden '08

                by 3O3 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:27:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  McCain penned himself in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyeswideopen, redstater

    I think the GOP gave him a deadline of Fri 29 - 9am EST to name a VP, a couple days ago he suggested he might wait a few more days or even until the convention and reported that he hadn't made up his mind. HOURS later, he quickly reversed himself and simply put two thumbs up when asked if he had picked a VP.  

    He HAD to pick a Conservative or the GOP and GOP convention would have exploded on him. His best bet is for a luke warm to cold Convention, over shadowed by a hurricane that can only remind voters of Katrina.

    So I guess it's yes and no:

    Yes. Obama took some punches and did the rope a dope because he pretty much knew his pick and knew how he would attack, so he let it build up

    No: the bad VP pick was all McCain AND the GOP's doing as they have fenced themselves in.

    That said there maybe be a case that McCain picked her purely for her shapely butt that he can stare at on the campaign trail...

    •  It just "spanks" of a last minute decision (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZappoDave

      The McCain's canned response last night just makes the Palin selection look like something that got rushed.  I read that the GOP's focus groups did not reveal any weaknesses in Obama's speech, so they had to do something dramatic.  I have a feeling that if Obama had underwhelmed with his acceptance speech or had a major gaffe, it would have been Romney out in Dayton this morning.  

  •  Remember when BO (0+ / 0-)

    polls # are always low on weekend and high a the beginning of the week? It's 8 pts on a friday! I can't wait for after the RNC convention, to see if he is ahead even by 1 pt.  

    I'm very happy with the result so far

  •  McCain sure is a dope (0+ / 0-)

    And he's setting himself up for a TKO.

    Conservatives are close-minded, shallow, superficial people that live in a fantasy world where everything is black and white and there are NO shades of gray.

    by Brad007 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:23:32 PM PDT

  •  I think this is probably correct (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyeswideopen, ExpressStreetcar

    Remember, Obama cut his political teeth in Chicago, which is not a place for weaklings. Plus, I think Obama's been laying low building his organization, which I'm guessing McCain has not been doing.

    Obama is an outstanding strategic thinker who plans for the long term & keeps his eyes on the prize. McCain is more of a tactical thinker--he doesn't have the patience for the long-term. I think Obama will run rings around him.

    My dogs think we're all totally nuts, but how do I explain Daylight Savings Time to them?

    by Shiborg on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:26:44 PM PDT

    •  Exactly. Strategic vs Tactical (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shiborg

      I think Obama and his team brilliantly and methodically laid out how the convention would unfold.

      Day 1 was building up Obama as one of us.  Day 2 was about party unity.  Day 3 was focusing on better times during the 90s and introducing Biden.  Day 4 was when the hammer got dropped on McCain.

      Obama did not need to get down in the mud with McCain before the convention, and in fact, the McCain camp prematurely tipped their hand by going on the attack so early.  The GOP strung together enough of their narrative for Obama to line up all of the lies and talking points, and take them down in one fell swoop before 38 million viewers.  

      One of the commentators said that Obama's speech was attacking from a defensive position -- basically the rope-a-dope.

      •  If Obama's campaign is any indication of... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti

        how he would govern, I think we could be looking at another Franklin Roosevelt. (And I say this as someone who came late to the Obama party and didn't throw in with him until about March. But I've since come to realize that he is extraordinarily talented. I trust him politically in a way I've never trusted a Democratic candidate before.)

        My dogs think we're all totally nuts, but how do I explain Daylight Savings Time to them?

        by Shiborg on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:48:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Also, Obama has yet to unleash his ground game (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous

      It seems that the McCain camp is running a 20th century campaign using tired triangulation tactics.  

      Obama has been building up what will be the biggest ground force ever deployed for an election, and using this to expand the electoral map and reach voters that don't normally vote in large numbers.  Just at last night's acceptance speech alone, they recruited 30k-35k volunteers that pledged at least 6 hours of volunteer work for the campaign.  That's over 180,000 man-hours that they can now use to win Colorado.

      Add to this the unpredecented use of social networking, e-mail, text messaging, and other tools, and this an unpredecented level of organization.  It's truly a ground-up movement that is inherently inclusionary (in contrast, the triangulation approach is about suppressing the vote).

  •  McCain's choice of (0+ / 0-)

    ... another Beauty Queen -- this time for VP -- really undercuts his entire "toughest gorilla of the troupe" image and will doubtlessly turn off many rednecks and security moms. They thought he was the caudillo they were looking for to protect them from the big bad world, but it turns out he's just a dirty old man who wants to hang with a fawning babe.

    He may have screwed the pooch with the retrogrades who don't want to make history but want to cuddle up with the past forever. They wanted another white male.

    This is really amusing.

    "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us." -- Karl Popper

    by eyeswideopen on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:43:40 PM PDT

  •  He's flailing. (0+ / 0-)

    (Can someone more gifted than I do one of those FAIL pics, but with the word FLAIL, instead? Thanks ever so much.....

    "Obama's gonna be president, and there's not a goddamn thing you can do about it. How's that feel?" - Fishgrease

    by roxtar on Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 07:00:36 PM PDT

  •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

    Obama and Axelrod have something up their sleeves. I saw clips of Obama and Biden today and they were just going around like nothing even happened today. They both called Palin and shared pleasantries and went about touring a factory. Team Obama knew at the least that she was on the gop short list so they've been ready for probably a long while now. Its going to be so much fun to see what they come up with. This concentrated time frame till November 4 will favor the bold. Lol, they have something big planned up there in Chicago. This isn't your grandpa's Democratic Party.

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