April 19, 2008

POLITICS AS MR. POTATO HEAD:

The Rules Change for Obama (Michael Barone, 4/19/08, Real Clear Politics)

The presidency is a uniquely personal office, and each incumbent puts his individual stamp on it. Obama's choice to join Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church and his choice to befriend William Ayers were not those most Americans would make, and Hillary Clinton was quick to declare, perhaps opportunistically, they were not choices she would have made.

This doesn't mean that Obama is responsible for Wright's outrageous statements or for Ayers' criminal acts (the charges against him were dropped because of government misconduct). But Obama's choices to associate with Wright and Ayers tend to undercut his appealing message -- very appealing after 15 years of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- that we must strive to overcome the racial and cultural and ideological divisions which have dominated our politics They are something that voters are entitled to weigh as they make their decisions.

Obama fans are upset that ABC News' Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson broke the unwritten rule that you are not supposed to ask Democratic candidates about these things. Associations with unrepentant radicals and comments made to contributors at a San Francisco fund-raiser in a billionaire's mansion are supposed to be kept indoors. Only the face that the candidate wants to place before the public should be seen.

Beliefs that most activist liberals share should be kept under wraps if they are unpopular with most of the voting public. That is how mainstream media have operated for the last generation or more. But not at Philadelphia's Constitution Center on April 16. The rules had changed. And Barack Obama was not well prepared.


And the GOP will get to fill in the face, since the Senator left it blank.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2008 7:16 AM
Comments

Regarding the idea of keeping liberal ideas under wraps:

The harshest things lefties say about conservatives are almost never true. The harshest things conservatives say about lefties are almost always true. Some of that is just hypocrisy (as in Obama's sneer at rural folk favoring trade restrictions), but it is deeper than that. The Left embraces most of its tenets out of hatred (towards the boogeymen of the Right, towards themselves, towards history, whatever). The Right embraces its tenets because it knows the limitations of humanity, and the history when those limitations are ignored.

Obama's campaign is an amusement park ride. Reality is a rude interruption, to the candidate and also to his acolytes. But it is always so with liberal candidates. From JFK to LBJ to RFK to Carter to Teddy to Mondale to Dukakis to Clinton (both of them) to Obama - the myth is everything, because the details just devastate them. Conservative figures may disappoint, but not for the same reason. The youth of America would do better to back Justin Timberlake for President (he seems reasonably sensible, and he likes golf). Why they cling to a dusky Ned Lamont is worthy of study.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 19, 2008 3:28 PM
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