The 2008 race changed that conversation.
Following Howard Dean's 50-state strategy, the Obama campaign put states in play that had never been considered possibilities for Democrats. Yeah, a guy from Hawaii and Chicago did that.
And now it seems the Obama folks are going to make a play for Arizona.
President Obama’s re-election campaign is dispatching workers across Arizona’s college campuses and Latino neighborhoods this spring, registering as many new voters as they can in an organized, three-month effort to determine whether they can put this unlikely state into play for Democrats this November.
By any measure the obstacles are considerable: Arizona has voted for precisely one Democratic president since Truman was in the White House. Yet Mr. Obama’s aides said in interviews that they thought it was possible they could move the needle of history by winning in 2012 a state that analysts believe is heading Democratic in national elections, but may not be there yet.
Obama strategists are simply following the same techniques they used in 2008 when putting states like North Carolina and Indiana into play. Then, too, there was much initial skepticism, though both states ended up going for Mr. Obama.
Michael Tomsky seems to embrace a traditional old school response to all this when he wrings his hands about the effort and calls it "cocky."
I was telling people months ago, back when Mitt Romney still seemed like a strong and resolute candidate who made liberals nervous and led the occasional national general-election poll, that Barack Obama was going to win reelection fairly easily. I still basically think that. But now I’m jumpy because everybody else, and I mean everybody, seems to think this now, too. And I get especially jumpy when I see signs that the Obama campaign is sounding ridiculously overconfident. There’s a line between swagger that keeps the other side on the defensive and swagger that just doesn’t quite sound credible, and I’m hearing a little too much of the latter.
I was reminded of this by Adam Nagourney’s article in Monday’s New York Times, bringing news that the Obama people are out there talking about how maybe they can win Arizona.
Was he not watching 4 years ago when this same campaign was cocky enough to go after states that hadn't been won by Democrats in decades - and won some of them? No guts - no glory is what I'd call it. As a matter of fact - I'd suggest its the opposite of cocky to say that we're going after every state that might be possible. The clearest sign that Arizona might be one of those is that the conservative blog Real Clear Politics has now moved Arizona into their "toss-up" category.
I say, Go for it Arizona!