Commentary Magazine


Fighting Obama Symmetrically

Barack Obama’s stock has indeed fallen of late. Notable criticism of the senator is suddenly available in comprehensive, comic, and scathing varieties. But what’s most interesting is that the charges themselves have changed from those his detractors had been making all along. The newest indictments of Obama don’t have to do with what the senator is missing, but rather with what he has in spades: horrific judgement. This should help Hillary (even if too late) and McCain (even if too early.)

Trying to demonstrate what’s missing is an intangible and slippery task. Without a clear party to bear the burden of proof, the charge just floats in and out of public consciousness. Critics exhausted themselves trying to point to what Obama is not, and in response Obama merely stuck to all he ever claimed to be: a reason to hope. The substance-free was the medium in which he thrived, and his unrestrained rhetoric bought him legions of supporters who didn’t have time for details.

Now, Hillary and John McCain are no longer trying to prove a negative. Plagiarism, broken promises, questionable advisors, extreme liberal voting record, and heavy-handed economic policies are genuine targets. Having a real bull’s-eye at which to aim, they shouldn’t waste another breath attacking Obama as a fairytale. With Obama’s poor decisions and policies revealed, it’s no wonder he kept his “substance” in the shadows for so long. He’s entered the real world and his opponents must not miss the opportunity to challenge him in concrete terms. At least for the time being, it’s become a symmetrical fight.