On Thursday, I said I thought the Obama campaign had gone “insane” by reacting to President Bush’s speech to the Israeli Knesset by misinterpreting a general discussion of appeasement as a personal attack. Two days of feverish press coverage have led me to consider the possibility that this was a cynical political play by Obama and his people, with three purposes.
First, they wanted to signal they won’t let any negative remark by any Republican go unanswered, and that includes remarks that don’t actually require an answer. Nonetheless, by convincing fellow Democrats that they will “not be Swift-boated,” they are attempting to address a lunatic concern of Democrats, which is that they are just not tough enough and Republicans are savage, mouth-breathing gutter fighters.
Second, despite the loathing all Democrats have for George W. Bush, he is the president and therefore the most important political figure in the world. The assertion that Bush has decided to take Obama on directly therefore elevates Obama to Bush’s level, making him a peer of the president’s and therefore more plausible as president himself.
Third, by creating a one-on-one confrontation with Bush, Obama is trying to complete his entirely successful effort to convince the mainstream media that the primary confrontation with Hillary Clinton is at an end.
So if you view this incident as a cynical political play, it was sensationally effective, and indicates just how formidable a candidate Obama is — in large measure because the media are so firmly in lockstep behind him that they simply follow his lead.
But it’s still meshugah.