Something happened today, which I’ve been expecting. Obama’s fans woke up to something a long time overdue.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Barack Obama. If the primary were held today,
he’d probably get my vote. But the honeymoon is over in Obamaland and it can’t
be written off with canned responses about how unreliable early poll numbers
… .. The Obama campaign has been playing it safe for months now, so it
should be no surprise that the base no longer expects him to, in the words
of his campaign, “challenge the status quo and get results”. It’s
not too late for Obama to turn things around. I still think Obama would make
a fantastic president, but if he wants his grassroots-fueled campaign to regain
some momentum, he needs to start by recognizing that people no longer see
him as the go-to guy to buck the Washington establishment and be a champion
Chris Dodd’s actions on the telecom amnesty legislation made Obama’s continuing “unreliability” all the more glaring. After all, Obama’s being touted as the progressive candidate with the new ideas. You can blame Clinton for not acting as Dodd did, but she’s also not the one claiming she will “challenge the status quo and get results.” Clinton’s got an agenda, which she plans to promote and get implemented by working within the system.
But the alarm
went off for me in May when I heard Mr. Obama say…
“I think that I have the capacity to get people to recognize themselves
in each other. I think that I have the ability to make people get beyond some
of the divisions that plague our society and to focus on common sense and
reason and that’s been in short supply over the last several years. I’m not
an ideologue, never have been. Even during my younger days when I was tempted
by, you know, sort of more radical or left wing politics, there was a part
of me that always was a little bit conservative in that sense; that believes
that you make progress by sitting down listening to people, recognizing everybody’s
concerns, seeing other people’s points of views and then making decisions.”
– Barack Obama
(on ABC’s “This Week”)
Mr. Obama is talented, but he’s been riding his 2002 speech this entire campaign,
while voting the same as Clinton on Iraq the whole time. Then on Cornyn, then
Kyl-Lieberman he didn’t show up. All he talks about is bringing America together, while campaigning he’ll “challenge the status quo and get results.” So far he’s all talk and no action, including on Iraq, where Russ Feingold has led the whole way.
This brings me to what John Aravosis over at Americablog has written today. It’s something that’s been driving me to distraction lately, especially as Democrats cede territory every time we turn around, including on Iraq, evidently waiting for the ’08 gods to take the lead. As an aside, it’s being reported that Harry Reid plans to bring the telecom amnesty bill to the floor regardless of Dodd’s hold. Lovely, huh? John takes off on the Osama issue, and comes up with one conclusion: The Democrats really do deserve what they get.
… .. The Democrats have no game plan. They don’t know how to sell meta issues. They play chess one piece at a time, one move at a time, without having any concept that there’s a larger game going on, and that the move they make right now will impact the move they make ten moves from now. Basically, the Democrats are politically high as a kite. Their long term memory is non-existent and their short-term memory only permits them about 6 seconds of cache, as we say in geek-land, before they forget everything and ask “dude, what was the question again?” for the tenth time.
We have a very serious problem in our party. We have too many leaders in Congress, too many members of Congress, too many consultants, too many advocacy groups, and just too many people with power who do not understand the basics of playing hardball. The basics of public relations. The basics of running REAL issue campaigns. The basics of how to give the other guy a black eye and not stop pounding until he cries uncle, and even then you hit him again.
Far too many people running our party and our movement have no idea how to play the game. And if we don’t figure out how to make them fear for their political lives, or finally, if we have to, run them out of town, nothing is ever going to change.
Barack Obama doesn’t play the game John describes well. In fact, he refuses to play it at all. Again, Obama is talented, but I don’t get the feeling he’s part of the solution. As John describes above, and Mr. Obama has illustrated by his can’t we all get along? campaign style, he’s likely another part of the problem. Obama’s just got better dialogue patter and presentation.
We need a fighter. Someone who won’t back down and can not only take a punch but give one as good as he or she gets. Someone with a plan. It looks like some in the Obama crowd are starting to wake up and what they’re sensing isn’t exactly a heavyweight.