August 7, 2008


Obama's Weak Current (MICHAEL GERSON, August 7, 2008, Washington Post)

[M]r. Obama's tactics are undermining the unifying theory of his campaign. During the primaries, Mr. Obama presented himself as someone different, better, and special. He would not only improve the economy and the health care system, he would transcend old divisions and heal a broken land. Supporters embraced him as inspirational; detractors criticized him as messianic. Few doubt he set the highest rhetorical goals since the New Frontier.

Since the primaries, Mr. Obama has made a tactical decision: He refuses to be painted as a liberal. America may be a discontented country, but it remains a center-right country. Democrats who understand this fact — such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton — become president. Democrats who don't, lose elections.

But since Mr. Obama's short public career has been conventionally — in some cases, extremely — liberal, his tactical shift to the center has been startlingly obvious, on issues from guns to terror surveillance to Iraq, and now — reluctantly — to oil drilling.

Says Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center: "Obama's political calculation may be correct, but it still involves a price. It has shattered his claim to be different. It calls into question his political character, and leaves the impression he is consumed and defined by ambition."

At least temporarily, Mr. Obama's tactics have raised a damning political question: Who is this man? And the McCain campaign has begun to cleverly exploit these concerns, not with a frontal attack on his liberalism or his flip-flops, but with a humorous attack on his "celebrity" — really a proxy for shallowness.

Obama stalls in public polling (DAVID PAUL KUHN, 8/6/08, Politico)
While Obama still leads in most matchups with John McCain, the Illinois senator’s apparent stall in the polls is a sobering reminder to Democrats intoxicated with his campaign’s promises to expand the electoral map beyond the boundaries that have constrained other recent party nominees. [...]

“What’s remarkable this summer is the stability of this race,” Gallup’s director Frank Newport said. “In a broad sense, it is similar to previous elections.”

In Gallup’s last national poll prior to the 2004 party conventions, for example, John F. Kerry led President Bush 47 percent to 43 percent. In 2000, also in Gallup’s last national poll prior to the party conventions, Bush led former Vice President Al Gore 46 percent to 41 percent.

Three demographic groups have generally kept Obama ahead in the past two months: African-Americans, youth and Hispanics. But a lead based on those groups is a tenuous one. The youth vote, notorious for not meeting expectations, must turn out in significantly higher numbers than in past elections. Obama must continue to win the black vote nearly unanimously and still turn out new African-American voters. McCain must continue to underperform with Hispanics by about 10 percentage points compared to Bush in the summer of 2004.

The Left continues to analyze the Unicorn Rider as if he were sui generis, when the reality is that in national political terms he's just a retread of a failed model. There's something sublime about the way the elite's obsession with race blinds them to its insignificance among their fellow citizens.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 7, 2008 4:07 PM

Why does the Unicorn Rider win the Hispanic vote against a Senator from a very Hispanic state who has always been very pro-Hispanic immigration (even to the point where he has nearly lost the support of the conservative base ?)

McCain was never going to win (because of the "R" behind his name), but he risks being wiped out like that other Senator from Arizona, back in 1964.

Posted by: Peter at August 8, 2008 1:35 AM

The immediate reaction is pride that another minority has the nomination. Then they find out his views.

Posted by: oj at August 8, 2008 6:09 AM

If Latinos identify with those of African and mixed-African descent, they would deserve the treatment they receive from that faction.

Blacks have no intertion of sharing their racial spoils with anyone.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 9, 2008 8:20 AM
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