Monday, November 17, 2008

Clinton To Campaign In Georgia Senate Race - Where's Obama?

When I made my Senate-race predictions at the end of October, I guessed that Georgia would be heading to a mandatory run-off election on December 2nd -- if neither Republican Saxby Chambliss or Democratic challenger Jim Martin garnered 50 percent of the vote -- and we're now pointing straight toward that election next month.

What I also said was that Martin would win that election based on an influx of national Democratic money and some timely rallies with President-elect Barack Obama -- and for some reason that last part now looks doubtful.

The Martin campaign is reporting that former President Bill Clinton will be the featured speaker at a rally for Martin in Atlanta on Wednesday. This is great. When I said that Martin would benefit in the month leading to December 2nd by a cast of heavy hitters coming in to help him out, Bill Clinton was definitely one of the people I was talking about.

And I understand that President-elect Obama has to be incredibly busy and revving up to mend the nation after eight years of George W. Bush's dismal leadership. But given that Democrats are now knocking on the door of a 60-vote majority in the U.S. Senate and that this would help immeasurably in moving the Obama-Biden legislative agenda forward, shouldn't Obama find the time for at least a couple of quick flights down to Georgia?

Chambliss has already had John McCain stumping there for him and that cretin Zell Miller -- some call him a former Democrat -- has been a fixture touring the state with the Republican incumbent.

And while Martin is thrilled to have Clinton coming to speak on his behalf, I'm sure he's hoping the real big-ticket campaigner will find time to head south.

"I am honored to have President Clinton join me in Georgia once again and proud to have the support of such a tireless advocate for the middle class," said Martin of the event coming on Wednesday. "President Clinton and I share a common goal of helping President-elect Obama fix our economy and get our country working for middle class Georgians again."

Given what a massive draw he is and how incredibly motivating he is to Democratic voters, President-elect Obama needs to put this election on his radar screen and make an overt effort to get Chambliss out of the Senate and Martin in.

In a revealing bit of polling , a Survey USA poll reports that 15 percent of Georgia respondents say that a visit from John McCain would make it more likely that they would turn out for the run-off election -- while 30 percent say that Obama making a campaign appearance for Martin will have the same effect.

With Martin still behind Chambliss in recent polling, partisan turnout will rule the results on December 2nd and Obama's popularity and appeal could be what drives this seat into the Democratic column.

It just makes sense. What do you think, Rahm Emanuel?

Update: I've received quite a few e-mails and seen comments from people suggesting that maybe I am clueless about how much work President-elect Obama has on his plate or how he shouldn’t have to bother with something like the Georgia Senate race. Just to clarify, I didn’t say that Obama should grab a bunk on the Martin campaign bus for the next two weeks. I'm suggesting that he take a short flight, one or two times, and help Martin take a Senate seat that's both important to the Democratic party and to the Obama presidency.

Achieving 60 Senate seats probably isn’t as important on a day-to-day basis as some of us may make it sound. But every seat counts and, with some of President-elect Obama's winning mojo, this one is attainable.

"A president has to be able to do more than one thing at a time," Obama said when John McCain pulled his silly stunt of pretending he could not campaign and be a Senator at the same time. And our President-elect is certainly capable of a couple of speeches for Martin while he does his good work between now and December 2nd.