September 12, 2008

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WRITING STARTS TO APPEAR ON THE BLANK SLATE?:

Obama's woes have nothing to do with 'lipstick': Howard Fineman on the candidate's pride, strategy and stump speak (Howard Fineman, 9/10/08, MSNBC)

After traveling with him on the trail, watching him in Denver and talking to Democratic operatives and insiders, here’s my list of his errant shots: [...]

The 22-state strategy

For months, the Obama campaign invested advertising time and organizing money in an impressive array of red states that haven’t been on the Democrats’ radar in recent elections. This made for great press clippings. But, for the most part, it was a waste of assets. Except for perhaps Virginia, most out-of-the-way states do not seem likely to end up in Obama’s fold. He’d be more successful focusing on traditional battlegrounds.

Failing to state a sweeping, but concrete, policy idea

It is not enough to be for change – everybody is, or is trying to be. To make it stick, Obama needed, and needs, to put forth an easy-to-grasp grand proposal, one that would encapsulate what his central message. That tagline? That he is dedicated, body and soul, to advancing the economic interests of hard-working, average Americans. He has the makings of such a proposal – his tax cuts for low and middle-income families. But he has yet to package that, or anything else, in an easy-to-grasp, hard-number plan for voters. Instead, he’s got more of a laundry list than an actual rallying cry.

Remaining trapped in professor-observer speak

When you listen to Obama, it sometimes feels like you’re hearing a smart but distant analysis of the political scene. He sounds like a writer or teacher, but not the leader of a political crusade. Obama has been far too “meta” – a detached commentator on his own situation and his own country. Voters want an action plan, not an exegesis.


This entire column is hilarious because what Mr. Fineman cites as Senator Obama's mistakes all boil down to the fact that he isn't Bill Clinton or W. Sure, it would be great if he were a regular guy running on the Third Way who understood the country and its politics well enough to realize where he could win and where he can't. But he's not. He's a stock Northern liberal intellectual who's fallen in love with the myth of his own Obamaness. Deal with it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2008 7:06 AM
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