Commentary Magazine


Re: An Explanation

John, I would concur entirely will all that but there is perhaps something else at play. As voters have figured out, Barack Obama is a “talker,” not a “doer.” It may be that when talk — an overhyped acceptance speech, for example — doesn’t do the trick Obama is simply at a loss. He was always able to cajole and persuade, charm and win over people before. Now his rhetoric, at least the type he chose to employ isn’t doing the trick, so what does he do now? It must come as a shock, a body blow that words don’t always win the day.

And if he really isn’t a doer, then the tasks ahead — readjusting personnel, finances, and strategy — may be simply daunting for him. He is in a word in uncharted territory. Faced with adversity and lacking the power of words, he may simply not know what to do.

None of this is to say that the race is lost for him. That would be as foolish as saying the race was already won in June. However, it does raise the issue as to what resources, skills and experience Obama might draw on to steady his sinking ship. His opponents may falter, Palin’s luster may dim, and McCain can flub a debate, but if not–what’s Obama going to do? I suspect neither he nor anyone around him knows.