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McCain Works to Define Obama First

Senator Obama didn’t like the Access Hollywood story, saying it was a mistake to put his kids out front and center. However, this type of thing is more important to his chances in November than any number of photo ops with big shot leaders in Europe. It’s also why the cancellation of the hospital visit to see the troops is so devastating, especially since the push back has been so lame. Robert Gibbs on “Morning Joe” saying the “McCain is an honorable man, but increasingly running a very dishonorable campaign”? Then Gibbs cites a Republican as proof? It might have been ugly, but ugly sometimes works.

McCain does seem to have gotten some traction on this attack, even if the facts aren’t clearly on his side.

Frankly, the only thing I took away from Gibbs’ statement is that the Obama team seems afraid of going after John McCain directly. They freaked after Wesley Clark did it. Is it because of his hero status? If that’s true we’re sunk, because people don’t know Barack Obama, the man. Against John McCain, “the honorable man” and war hero, people won’t vote for Obama in November unless they do.

With emails flying about the upcoming convention, I started asking questions
about what type of convention will it be. A Kerry kumbaya? Or will Barack Obama
take aim at John McCain? Whatever the decision one thing is clear, Obama’s team
needs to reveal who their guy is, what he stands for and what he can do for average
Americans. The guy needs to be brought back down to earth. However, right now
I’m getting a very queasy feeling that we’re going to be treated to the first
option, Kerry kumbaya. If you remember, when Kerry did that in the ’04 election,
it was followed by a brutally ruthless evisceration of John Kerry and all things
Democratic at the Republican convention that followed. There are signs right now that Obama
may be heading for the same type of trap.

Did anyone listen to Big Blowhard Ed today? That would be Ed Schultz. His show,
including sit in guest hosts, long ago became Clinton bashing central, but today
it was taken down a different road. Where is Hillary and why isn’t she campaigning
right now for Obama? Evidently, she doesn’t plan to work as hard as she said
she was, so says Ed. Then Ed got down to business taking aim at Obama’s rapid
response team, focusing on John McCain’s character ad against Obama. Where is
team Obama’s response? Why aren’t they going after McCain’s voting record? Then
Ed went further. If Obama and his surrogates, including Senate Democrats, don’t
get more aggressive and show outrage over ads like McCain just unloaded, we’re
going to lose this election. Finally, someone besides me is feeling it, but also saying it.

Frankly, this is one consideration most ardent Obama fans never consider. I’ve
even been asked in the comment sections around here whether I doubt Obama will
be the next president. Anyone predicting that Obama is a slam dunk for November
is missing a major point. He still hasn’t defined himself for Americans. He
and his team are making the colossal error of letting McCain do that for them.

National polls don’t mean anything right now. If they did I’d be writing posts
questioning why Obama wasn’t ahead by 20 points, given the disaster that Dubya
has been for this country.

And as much as people say they hate negative ads, they work. They stick. They
move minds and votes.

I’m all for Barack Obama getting back to the economy. But it’s another policy
issue moment that doesn’t say anything about him.

McCain wants to do townhalls, lots of them. That’s because he’s good at them.
These also give voters a window into the candidate and who he is. It’s why townhalls
should be more important to the Obama campaign than they’re currently making

Less than 100 days left. Obama needs fewer photo ops and more moments where
voters get to see who he is. Mysterious men don’t win general elections. Obama
needs to obliterate the enigma quotient. McCain’s doing it on his end, to devasting affect. Obama
will lose if McCain’s version sticks. But in the absence of a counter narrative that defines Obama, the man, beyond issues and policies, where else can the voter go for information?

If Obama doesn’t start defining himself on a personal level, something he is horrible at doing, come November we could be asking: How’d we lose yet again?


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