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Beating Tnr To The Story

Just wanted to link to two bloggers who scooped us on stories I thought we were ahead of the curve on.

First, I spent last week worrying that Obama's Berlin speech would make him look a little too "post-nationalist" for the average swing voter, then suggested his Olympic ad-buy might correct that problem. Over at America, Michael Sean Winters had some very similar thoughts--back on July 1st. He presciently wrote:

The danger for Obama on such a trip is that he will appear even more cosmopolitan, which undercuts his efforts to appear patriotic. Many in middle America want to know that Obama thinks that our country is better than any other country, they want a bit of jingoism, and they don't like people who are too cosmopolitan. Of course, America needs a president who is less jingoistic, after eight years of George W. Bush, but Obama might not get the chance unless he demonstrates to the voters discussed yesterday that his exotic personal story has not prevented him from being "one of us."

Obama can address this concern by adding another stop to his itinerary: Beijing. The Olympics open on August 8. He should show up with his wife and kids, take in a few contests, meet informally with athletes, make the trip decidedly non-political: "The girls really want to see the gymnastics!" If a picture is worth a thousand words, two pictures would come screaming back across the airwaves. First, Obama surrounded by adoring American athletes who are in the process of channeling America's patriotic fervor. Second, Obama and his family, sitting in the stands, waving American flags, being jingoistic when it is acceptable, even appropriate, to be a little jingoistic.

Then, on Thursday, Michael Schaffer published a fun piece on our site about the uses (and overuses) of historical analogies during the current campaign season. The day before, Ed Kilgore took a somewhat more earnest inventory of the nation's strategic analogy reserve, and concluded the following:

All in all, there's not really any overwhelming evidence that 2008 is actually 1996, 1980, 1988, 976, 2000 or 2004, though I'd argue that 1980 comes closest to reflecting this year's dynamics, with 1996 being a possible analogy if John McCain continues to act like Bob Dole. 

--Noam Scheiber