Disciplined Democrat

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Paul Waldman on how the Obama campaign isn't like your ordinary Democratic campaign.

Perhaps the most important difference between the two campaigns lies in their core messages. Look back at recent elections, and you see again and again that the eventual winner had a clear, simple, easily understood message, a story he wanted the public to hear that could be summed up in a single sentence. Obama's message has been the same since he began his campaign (and even before): He is the candidate of change, hope, and unity. Ergo, 'Change We Can Believe In,' all three ideas conveyed in five words. And McCain? One day he's the candidate of reform, one day he's the candidate of strength, one day he's the candidate of '60s-era cultural resentments, one day he's 'the American president Americans have been waiting for.'