The Barack Obama campaign just fired its next-day schedule into my inbox. I was a little surprised to see where he's spending July 4.
Butte, MT: THE OBAMA FAMILY ATTENDS FREEDOM FEST INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE IN BUTTE
Montana? The state that hasn't gone Democratic since 1992, and only flipped that time because of Ross Perot taking votes from Bush I? Yes, Montana:
Barack Obama is leading John McCain by five percentage points in Montana. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state shows Obama attracting 48 percent of the vote while McCain earns 43 percent.
Rasmussen's internals are somewhat gloomier for Obama, but I think that's a function of the questions the pollster asked. Bush is reviled, and oil drilling and free trade are popular. But Montana's libertarian streak makes it, I think, rocky territory for McCain. This is a state that elected a Democratic senator in 2006 who told voters "I want to repeal the PATRIOT Act." This is a state whose governor gave Homeland Security Michael Chertoff a rhetorical kick in the teeth when he opted out of REAL ID. This is, finally, a state whose Republicans gave Ron Paul a quarter of their primary and caucus votes, and where the balance of power in the state House is held by the Constitution Party. Voila: Another state falls off the Republican map, and McCain will have to scramble and spend money to save it.
I clicked over to HotAir, one of the best go-team Republican sites, and a place that follows the polls, to check for commentary on this. The lead story at the moment is about the ridiculous Geraldine Ferraro, complaining about Wesley Clark.
Ferraro has the right approach — a sort of exasperated surprise at how low Obama will go to win an election. It targets his core strength with obvious truth, and it serves notice to the Democratic Party that she will not fall in blindly behind a man she believes to approve smears against his political opponents.
Do I really have to point this out? Geraldine Ferraro's opinion doesn't matter unless you're writing an academic paper on how to lose 49 states. For all the attention they're getting, the dopey, quasi-racist "PUMAs"—most of whom live in safe Obama states!—are irrelevant when a Democratic candidate is flipping a state that went for Bush by 20 points.
Headline explained here.