Commentary Magazine


Obama Ducks

Neither of the presidential candidates is filled with specifics on the financial crisis, but Barack Obama took it a step further. He declined Wednesday to even offer a position on the AIG take-over. Is this above his pay grade too? He’s apparently banking on unease over the crisis and the voters’ willingness to blame the Bush Administration for our woes. Is this smart politics or an error on Obama’s part?

On one hand voters may be satisfied with the torrent of meaningless rhetoric pouring forth from Obama. But the opening which John McCain has here is on leadership. As I noted earlier, McCain has been trying to suggest that this is another instance of  ”taking on tough guys” which is part of his repertoire. Although he indicated he wasn’t pleased with the Fed’s rescue of AIG, he at least had an opinion and stated it.

The dig on Obama is that he talks but doesn’t do much or lead on tough issues ( all those “present” votes in the Illinois state senate) and that his positions fluxuate for political expediency. If he tries that here — being too evasive on his own position, while going ballistically negative — McCain may find the opportunity he is looking for.

Presidential candidates, as we saw with the invasion of Georgia, need to be right, and right on the first day. Certainly, Obama better have an answer on AIG by next week’s debate. But it is worth asking why it takes Obama longer than others to get up to speed.