September 17, 2008

FOR ALL THE TALK OF DIFFERENCE AND CHANGE...:

Obama's Panic (Michael Gerson, September 17, 2008, Washington Post)

[O]bama's campaign is rootless, reactive and panicky. At every stage since securing the nomination, it has seemed fearful of missteps and unsure of its own organizing principle. So it has invariably adopted the Democratic conventional wisdom of the moment.

Obama's first major decision was his running mate. He could have reinforced a message of change and moderation with a Democratic governor who wins in a Republican state, or reached for history by selecting Hillary Clinton. But his choice came soon after Russia invaded Georgia, and the conventional wisdom demanded an old hand who knew his way around Tbilisi. When the Georgia crisis faded, Obama was left with a partisan, undisciplined, congressional liberal at his side. This has served to undermine Obama's message of change -- and has allowed Sarah Palin to pilfer a portion of that appeal.

Obama's second decision concerned the tone and content of his convention. Here the Democratic conventional wisdom was nearly unanimous. Obama should shelve his highfalutin rhetoric and talk like a real Democrat. Go after McCain. Talk about "bread and butter" issues -- code words for class-warfare attacks on consumers of blinis and caviar.

Obama took this advice to the letter -- at the cost of his political identity. In his Denver speech, it seemed that every American home was on the auction block, every car stalled for lack of gasoline, every credit card bill past due, every worker treated like a Russian serf. And John McCain? He was out of touch, with flawed "judgment." His life devoted to serving oil companies and big corporations. And, by the way, he didn't have the courage to follow Osama bin Laden "to the cave where he lives." In obedience to the best Democratic advice, Obama managed to be conventional, bitter and graceless.

Now Obama has made his third major campaign decision -- to finally get really tough on McCain. In response to attacks and dropping polls, the Democratic wisdom is once again nearly uniform: Democrats lose because they are not vicious enough. And once again, the Obama campaign has taken this advice without hesitation.


...it's eerie what an avatar the Unicorn Rider is of the conventions of his party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2008 6:06 AM
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