Commentary Magazine


A Method in Their Madness

Yes, the McCain team is having fun passing out tire gauges to remind everyone of Barack Obama’s silly claim that we could save as much gas with properly inflated tires as we could gain from offshore drilling. But there is a serious message and the first concerted attempt to tie Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats refusal to even vote on drilling around Obama. McCain’s query is a reasonable one: if Obama is the leader of his party now, why not get them back and hash out the drilling issue now?

There is no real answer to that, which is why it’s the most effective type of political attack. The real question that is troubling Democrats and their blogosphere fan club is what happened to Obama’s message control? Why is every day now an exercise in seeing what the McCain team is up to? And when is Obama ever going to get the floor back to talk about issues which help him, like the economy and health care?

Perhaps the overseas Ego Trip was more than a giant distraction; it was an opportunity for McCain to gain the rhetorical advantage and more importantly to dominate the domestic policy debate. It is not likely to last forever, but Obama is going to have to do better than flip-flopping on another issue (the strategic petroleum reserve, this time) to demonstrate that he has control of the race.