What Now, Obama?SThat's two weeks of media coverage dominated completely by Sarah Palin and her doddering creepy old uncle John McCain. The Palin/McCain ticket is still enjoying a residual "bounce" in the polls from Ms. Palin's selection and the GOP's 1.5 night mini-convention. Obama's been on the defensive for a remark he made that somehow threw the McCain camp on the defensive in such a way as to make Obama look on the defensive. Barry Hussein Obama did acquit himself pretty well on Letterman last night, but the headlines continued to be dominated by the "pig" comment (at least in the New York Post, which FORGOT ABOUT 9/11). What does he do from here? Look, we're no expert. But we're something better than an expert: a blogger. So we know what to do! Keep On Keepin' On Fundraising concerns aside, the Obama camp has and is spending money on targeted advertising in states it will probably win and states it hopes to win. They're still building their ground game in the four or so states that will decide this election. They're still polling above 50% in enough states to win it, national polls be damned. GOTV drives in swing states will win this thing. Debate Prep! There's a large number of Americans who tune out or actively avoid political coverage, tuning in only for the big events—conventions and debates. There's no doubt in our mind that Obama can "win" a debate against McCain on strength of positions, grasp of issues, and temperament. Where he'll falter is in his delivery—he's thinky and halting, as we all know, and McCain is glib and confident. Obama's debate coaching is probably focusing on that right now, while McCain's is focused on cramming to make sure he doesn't fuck up Sunni and Shiite again without Joe Lieberman around to help him out. Advantage: Obama, slightly. Don't Worry About Biden and the Clintons Biden is the king of the Gaffes, but the national press has known him forever and ever. He's generally liked and also expected to put his foot in his mouth again. Unlike a screwup by the candidate, a screwup by Biden will be largely forgiven. As for the Clintons, even if Bill says something idiotic, well, Obama's hardly associated with him. In fact it's generally assumed that they hate each other. So Clinton behaving himself = good for the party, Clinton not behaving himself = drawing distinctions between Obama and The Angry Old Man (hey, what a useful frame). As for Hillary, she won't do anymore more than she has to unless specifically asked. They'll specifically ask her to if they actually seriously need her. Angst Is Good. According to the Wall Street Journal and Politico, Obama's bewildered by the Palin phenomena and his campaign is struggling to keep up. Democrats are freaking out! Frustrated at Obama's inability to get back on the attack! Some of this is concern-trolling from passive-aggressive old Clintonites, some of it is genuine worry, all of it has the potential to be helpful. Worry boosts fundraising. Worry energizes volunteers and staffers. It's good motivation. You don't want it to become defeatism, obviously, but that feeling of inevitability that suddenly began following Obama around as he slowly destroyed Hillary was not helpful against John McCain, even if that guy did seem like a loser. The Media War This largely pointless except as a diversion and game. This is Steve Schmidt and David Axelrod's war, and they're enjoying it as their candidates suffer. (You think either McCain or Obama like the inane umbrage-fest this has become?) So try to plant some messages about how Palin is lipstick on McCain's pig! Claim McCain is too old and addled to understand the economy! The GOP is painting Obama as a sexist baby-killer who wants to teach your 6-year-old how to use a dental dam, so you can feel free to go nuts too. Honestly, it's just something to occupy the news until September 26. Related: Hasn't Gail Collins been kinda great lately?