Is it November yet?

“Obama may have caught a glimpse of what a general election campaign might bring during a recent debate on ABC TV. Badgered by anchors Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos about arcane (yet predictable) trivia such as U.S. flag pins and his relationship with former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers (who hosted his first political fund-raiser in 1995), Obama came across as startlingly unprepared.

“‘Playing gotcha with Democrats and patty-cake with Republicans,’ Joe Conason explained on salon. com, ‘will remain basic operating procedure for the mainstream media this year, no different from the past half-dozen presidential campaigns…. [T]he same fuzzy but obsessive focus on “character” that plagues Bill and Hillary Clinton will be turned on him with equal or greater ferocity by those who once claimed to admire him. He is now subject to the ‘Clinton rules,’ which have long permitted pundits, editorialists and reporters to indict the former president and first lady for sins that other politicians, mostly Republican, may commit with impunity.’

“Conason compared the hullabaloo over Hillary Clinton’s exaggerated account of her landing in Bosnia to the free pass that Ronald Reagan was granted for his purely imaginary account of liberating Nazi concentration camps, and President Bush for his unexplained ‘lost years’ in the Texas Air National Guard.

“Obama’s inexperience left him vulnerable. If he didn’t want to talk about flag pins, he ought never have explained why he doesn’t wear one. (False patriotism, basically.) Dumb symbolic issues have a way of looming large in November. Obama ought to have purged himself of potentially embarrassing Chicago figures long ago, i.e., Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Ayers and political fixer Tony Rezko. That he hasn’t suggests a certain softness Republican smear artists are sure to exploit mercilessly.”
Superdelegates shouldn’t ignore the odds, Gene Lyons, April 23, 2008

An entire generation of the MSM might have to die out before we get decent press again. Too bad I won’t live to see it. Oh well.

This is a tough choice. I like Hill’s feisty savvy, but I think Obama would get us out of Iraq quicker. But, as I have always said, I’ll vote for whoever gets the nomination.

(and because I’m a bad person, heeeeere’s…)
Superdelegates shouldn’t ignore the odds
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2008

URL: http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Editorial/223629/

Leave it to Democrats to try drawing to an inside straight in the most important presidential election of our times. For the uninitiated, that’s a poker metaphor for making a long-shot bet against the odds. Will America have its first woman president, its first black man or neither? Nobody planned it, apart from Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, that is. The other 37 Democratic candidates were of the customary white-dude persuasion. Six months ago, amid the wreckage of the Bush presidency, a Democratic victory appeared inevitable. Then the Republicans nominated an extremely white 72-year-old dude who can’t keep Sunni and Shiite straight, knows less about economics than my spaniel Buffy and is considered unfit for the presidency by many in his own party. The Washington Post recently quoted high-ranking Republicans saying that Sen. John McCain’s screaming temper tantrums and propensity for holding grudges make him a poor choice. McCain’s the ideal GOP candidate for the influential white-sorehead demographic. The so-called straighttalking-maverick-war-hero also happens to be much beloved by Beltway media courtiers, largely because he feeds them donuts and tells them funny stories about his youthful pursuit of Brazilian strippers. Both Democrats handle reporters as gingerly as poisonous reptiles. Hence, what ought to be the proverbial “lay-down hand” for Democrats now looks chancy.

Obama may have caught a glimpse of what a general election campaign might bring during a recent debate on ABC TV. Badgered by anchors Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos about arcane (yet predictable) trivia such as U.S. flag pins and his relationship with former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers (who hosted his first political fund-raiser in 1995), Obama came across as startlingly unprepared.

“Playing gotcha with Democrats and patty-cake with Republicans,” Joe Conason explained on salon. com, “will remain basic operating procedure for the mainstream media this year, no different from the past half-dozen presidential campaigns…. [T]he same fuzzy but obsessive focus on ‘character’ that plagues Bill and Hillary Clinton will be turned on him with equal or greater ferocity by those who once claimed to admire him. He is now subject to the ‘Clinton rules,’ which have long permitted pundits, editorialists and reporters to indict the former president and first lady for sins that other politicians, mostly Republican, may commit with impunity.”

Conason compared the hullabaloo over Hillary Clinton’s exaggerated account of her landing in Bosnia to the free pass that Ronald Reagan was granted for his purely imaginary account of liberating Nazi concentration camps, and President Bush for his unexplained “lost years” in the Texas Air National Guard.

Obama’s inexperience left him vulnerable. If he didn’t want to talk about flag pins, he ought never have explained why he doesn’t wear one. (False patriotism, basically.) Dumb symbolic issues have a way of looming large in November. Obama ought to have purged himself of potentially embarrassing Chicago figures long ago, i.e., Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Ayers and political fixer Tony Rezko. That he hasn’t suggests a certain softness Republican smear artists are sure to exploit mercilessly.

Which brings us to the forbidden issue of electability. Is it realistic to think that a gifted novice like Obama can win enough states to prevail in the Electoral College? Among Democrats, it’s possible to avoid the question by crying racism, as Obama supporters did early and often.

While it’s claimed that the Clintons “racialized” the campaign, Obama surrogates brought up the so-called Bradley effect on TV the night of the New Hampshire primary. Many white voters, they hypothesized, must be secret bigots. The next morning, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Obama’s national co-chairman, accused Clinton of faking tears on the campaign trail.

“But those tears also have to be analyzed,” he said. “They have to be looked at very, very carefully in light of [Hurricane] Katrina, in light of other things that Mrs. Clinton did not cry for, particularly as we head to South Carolina, where 45 percent of African Americans will participate in the Democratic contest.”

For sheer, raw racial demagoguery, nothing that either Clinton has ever said comes close. So spare me the histrionics. Let’s talk demographics. Making himself the black candidate has definitely worked for Obama in the primaries. But the unfortunate fact is that most African American voters reside in states that Democrats either can’t win (the Deep South) or almost can’t lose (New York, Illinois, California). So what about the “Bradley effect”? Even granting Obama the 20 states that Sen. John Kerry won in 2004—a big maybe in a couple—I’ve taken to challenging his supporters to name two more that he has a realistic chance to capture. They normally change the subject. Democratic super delegates can’t afford to. That Clinton has obvious weaknesses, mainly high negatives after 16 years of GOP pounding, should be obvious. But she’d win Arkansas easily. There’s reason to believe she’d also take Florida. But then, Obama supporters don’t like to talk about Florida, do they?

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