Commentary Magazine


The New Obama

Well it’s not every week that one of the key purveyors of coventional MSM wisdom pronounces it a “dreadful week” for Barack Obama in comparison to John McCain. And the media coverage of Obama is toughening, although much of it takes an admiring tone, pointing out the tactical importance of moving to the center.

What the McCain campaign has not yet done is to put all the policy shifts and obvious departures from Obama’s New Politics together into a cohesive critique. Will they adopt Peter’s sage analysis that Obama really a Zelig character — blowing with whatever wind prevails? Or is Obama a closet Lefty, lying to the the public and ready to spring into action once he’s elected? And even if he’s not exactly the messiah of New Politics, voters may still give Obama the benefit of the doubt, hoping in some vague sense that he will be better than the usual cast of Washington characters.

The McCain camp would do well to figure out what its line of attack is (Are they saying that Obama a hypocrite? Wishy-washy? Unprepared?) and then relentlessly present that overall vision to the media and the voters. The public is not necessarily going to put all the discrete pieces of the puzzle together to reach a negative conclusion about Obama. The McCain campaign will need to make a persuasive argument for why all the flip-floppery shows Obama is fatally flawed in some significant way. So far they haven’t done that and McCain himself will likely need to get over his hesitancy to go right at his opponent if he will succeed in making more weeks “dreadful” for Obama.