Commentary Magazine


Posts For: August 22, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam

A little late, isn’t it? When do Barack Obama’s supporters on the Left realize there is no bottom line. They defend him at their own risk.

Abe Foxman is right: if Jimmy Carter is going to speak at the convention then Obama should at least denounce his anti-Israel tripe, right? Will he? Hmmm.

The Bill Ayers connection and the Annenberg papers seep through to more mainstream media outlets. Complaints about “hypocrisy” and “transparency”? The Obama team seems to have adopted the worst aspects of the Clinton team.

The Obamaphiles can only scream foul about the independent ad about Bill Ayers. But they have no real answer to the underlying question: why is Obama friends with a former terrorist? The Obama cheerleaders expect voters to shrug, but average people might think that it is bizarre to have a close relationship with a person like Ayers.

Maybe all that money is being wasted by Obama (h/t Ben Smith). He wildly outspent McCain and lost his lead.

Kathleen Parker hits the nail on the head: the problem with the Infant Born Alive Act issue for Obama is that it leaves almost everyone wondering “What did Obama mean and when did he mean it?” Like the “above my pay grade” remark, his “exquisite amblivalence” has many suspecting that he is a “man who thought too hard and lost his sense.”

Remember all those blind-quoted Republicans grousing about Steve Schmidt? You don’t hear from them anymore. Nothing succeeds like success, as Peter points out.

I can agree with even Gail Collins on on this: “Who will Barack pick? I don’t care.” Let’s face it–unless it is Hillary Clinton, no one else will either.

A little late, isn’t it? When do Barack Obama’s supporters on the Left realize there is no bottom line. They defend him at their own risk.

Abe Foxman is right: if Jimmy Carter is going to speak at the convention then Obama should at least denounce his anti-Israel tripe, right? Will he? Hmmm.

The Bill Ayers connection and the Annenberg papers seep through to more mainstream media outlets. Complaints about “hypocrisy” and “transparency”? The Obama team seems to have adopted the worst aspects of the Clinton team.

The Obamaphiles can only scream foul about the independent ad about Bill Ayers. But they have no real answer to the underlying question: why is Obama friends with a former terrorist? The Obama cheerleaders expect voters to shrug, but average people might think that it is bizarre to have a close relationship with a person like Ayers.

Maybe all that money is being wasted by Obama (h/t Ben Smith). He wildly outspent McCain and lost his lead.

Kathleen Parker hits the nail on the head: the problem with the Infant Born Alive Act issue for Obama is that it leaves almost everyone wondering “What did Obama mean and when did he mean it?” Like the “above my pay grade” remark, his “exquisite amblivalence” has many suspecting that he is a “man who thought too hard and lost his sense.”

Remember all those blind-quoted Republicans grousing about Steve Schmidt? You don’t hear from them anymore. Nothing succeeds like success, as Peter points out.

I can agree with even Gail Collins on on this: “Who will Barack pick? I don’t care.” Let’s face it–unless it is Hillary Clinton, no one else will either.

Read Less

Why Isn’t He Winning?

E.J. Dionne assures panicky Democrats that the worst is behind them. Barack Obama can develop empathy, craft a compelling economic message, avoid the success of the surge, and get everyone to focus on the initial decision to support the war (unless of course Joe Biden or Evan Bayh is the VP). So provided Obama can change his personality and his message (and that McCain doesn’t do anything for the next few months) everything will be perfectly fine. Yeah.

Let’s begin by noting that what was so attractive about Obama to pundits–his cool, his reserve, and his intellect–are now liabilities. Let’s further note that the implication of the “get back to the Iraq war vote” is that Obama (and all of the liberal punditocracy) blew it on the surge–the biggest real national security issue he faced in the Senate. And then let’s not forget that he hasn’t done anything to convince voters in key states that he understands them or can do much of anything for him. How quickly the bloom comes off the rose.

But Dionne is right about one thing. In a political fantasy world in which McCain doesn’t appear (e.g. doesn’t take command on energy policy or the Georgia crisis) Obama does much better. But both Obama and his fans ignore McCain at their peril. He’s actually turned out to be pretty solid on policy and extremely impressive on strategy. So rather than reinvent the Chosen One (reminds me of that musical: “I Love You,You’re Perfect, Now Change”), perhaps they might stop discounting their opposition.

E.J. Dionne assures panicky Democrats that the worst is behind them. Barack Obama can develop empathy, craft a compelling economic message, avoid the success of the surge, and get everyone to focus on the initial decision to support the war (unless of course Joe Biden or Evan Bayh is the VP). So provided Obama can change his personality and his message (and that McCain doesn’t do anything for the next few months) everything will be perfectly fine. Yeah.

Let’s begin by noting that what was so attractive about Obama to pundits–his cool, his reserve, and his intellect–are now liabilities. Let’s further note that the implication of the “get back to the Iraq war vote” is that Obama (and all of the liberal punditocracy) blew it on the surge–the biggest real national security issue he faced in the Senate. And then let’s not forget that he hasn’t done anything to convince voters in key states that he understands them or can do much of anything for him. How quickly the bloom comes off the rose.

But Dionne is right about one thing. In a political fantasy world in which McCain doesn’t appear (e.g. doesn’t take command on energy policy or the Georgia crisis) Obama does much better. But both Obama and his fans ignore McCain at their peril. He’s actually turned out to be pretty solid on policy and extremely impressive on strategy. So rather than reinvent the Chosen One (reminds me of that musical: “I Love You,You’re Perfect, Now Change”), perhaps they might stop discounting their opposition.

Read Less