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Monday, September 08, 2008

And Now the Press Begins Picking Apart Obama: No longer the shiny new object

Contains updated material:

As the iconic California pol, Willie Brown, wrote a couple of days ago: "The democrats are in trouble. Period."

His column was entitled "Palin floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee."

"Whenever you start having to explain things, you're on defense." He added that dems don't win elections while on the defensive. Since the brilliant pick of Palin, the dems have been on the defensive. Completely and totally. And totally screwing it up.

The media is bored with Obama.

Here's another reason why Obama is failing to connect as an online reader posted on the washington post politics chat with Dan Balz this week with regard to the race for the White House:
"New York: Dan, as someone who intends to vote for Obama, I'm constantly puzzled at how he seems flummoxed when answering questions he should clearly expect to be asked: about NAFTA, when life begins, and most recently the surge. He seems to be thinking out loud, as though he hasn't thought it through ahead of time. Maybe the campaigns folks just don't consider these burning issues? But it seems to me it goes to character and trust, which may matter more than issues. What's going on here?

Dan Balz: That's an interesting point. ...... Does his style of answering questions make him look less decisive than he really is?"
Duh. Yeah. Looks and sounds unsure, defensive, whiny, complaining (or as Cohen wrote today -- detached, disconnected, dispassionate, disinterested and thus reinforces the NOT READY meme.)

Mostly I keep hearing " those mean republicans aren't playing fair!!! boo hoo hoo! wah wah wah."

Every clip I have seen of Obama recently he sounds like a defensive distant clueless ineffectual John Kerry in 04 -- (sighing Gore in 2000, Dudley Dukakis in 88, Carter in 80) -- he's taken to whining and complaining about the unfair mean old republikkkans. Boo Hoo Hoo some more.

Total losing / loser tactics.

Plus Obama looks like he is sleep walking through this. As if all he needed to do was win the primary and the anointment would be complete. give me a break.

Tom Friedman puts it this way:
...[H]ere’s what I’ve been feeling for a while: Whoever slipped that Valium into Barack Obama’s coffee needs to be found and arrested by the Democrats because Obama has gone from cool to cold.  ...

I don’t know how long or high the “Sarah Palin bounce” will go, but I would take her very seriously as a politician. She may not know nuclear deterrence theory, but she can deliver a line. 
Sarah Palin is ... is connecting at a gut level. So does McCain — and, therefore, they don’t need to give their constituents many details.
This race has a long way to go. It is still Obama’s election to lose. But Obama got where he is today by defining himself as the agent of change and by defining change as the issue in this election. McCain, with Palin’s help, has once again not only made Obama’s experience an issue, but has now moved in on Obama’s strength and tried to define the G.O.P. ticket as the party of “change.”

How, you ask, can two people running with the exact same policies as the party that has been in power for eight years, claim to be the agents of “change?” That’s politics. There’s no shame. But what this has done is to make the word “change” as a campaign slogan meaningless. Obama will need to find another way to connect his ideas — clearly, crisply and passionately.

Because, while the pollsters tell us it is still really close, my own totally unscientific, seat of the pants poll tells me this: When you say Obama’s name today and ask people for their first impression — a quick, flash, gut, first impression — no single word or phrase or policy comes to mind. His opponents will fill that vacuum if he doesn’t. They already are.
Surprise. It's Not Over! Obama only won the primary, not the election (barely) and The democraps are not winning the national election anymore —again. If Obama does lose, there are some party heads that should roll: start with Dean, Pelosi, Reid.

Sarah Palin didn't have to prove she was "of the people."
She really is the people.

P.S. It's not Hillary Clinton's responsibility to win independents, other Hillary supporters, and white working class voters for Obama. That's his responsibility. And he's blowing it.

Hillary is doing the smart thing by NOT joining the hysterical hatefest against the talented and energetic Palin. After all, she knows exactly what being on the target end of that hatefest is like.

The media is bored with Obama. They need their "newness" fix. Obama's no longer the shiny new object that captured the A.D.H.D. stenographers' pool 20 months ago (yes, that's sarcasm, not intended for most of the print-only press). The "shiney new object" honor, especially as regards the cable news tweeties and their ilk, now goes to Sarah Palin (once they get past their snobbish boorish behavior; they'll likely never get over their sexism, however).

Here's more keen insight from Willie Brown (and bad news for the dems/Obama):
As for Palin herself, she is going to be very, very effective on the campaign trail, especially if McCain's people can figure out how to gently keep her from getting into confrontations with the press.

If she can answer questions like she handled herself at the convention, Palin will turn out to be the most interesting person in all of politics, and the press will treat her like they treated Obama when he was first discovered.

And remember, the Palin bandwagon needs to roll for only two months.
And as was easily predictable, Obama's adoring media is now turning the corner, turning on him, and will join together to throw him under the bus soon. Then wash their hands with a "Tsk tsk." Totally predictable.

Once again: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

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Updates: several columns on this very topic beginning to pop up:
And another blogger, Leah McElrath Renna, at the Huffington Post is in full-blown panic mode:

Most of us are out here watching, listening to and reading media that shows a campaign continually in responsive mode and not in charge of the message..."
Actually, I'd use the word "reactive" instead of "responsive."

Chris Cillizza's The Fix on WashingtonPost.com: Obama on Losing End of Personality Contest

WP's right-leaning Richard Cohen: Too Cool to Fight? Obama's moral commitment is being tested, and he doesn't seem to care.

Tom Friedman's NYT column is here.

Be sure to read those columns!

•••••••••••••••••••••••

Upon re-reading it, I think the full text of Willie Brown's thoughts are worth posting en toto:
The Democrats are in trouble. Sarah Palin has totally changed the dynamics of this campaign.

Period.

Palin's speech to the GOP National Convention on Wednesday has set it up so that the Republicans are now on offense and Democrats are on defense. And we don't do well on defense.

Suddenly, Palin and John McCain are the mavericks and Barack Obama and Joe Biden are the status quo, in a year when you don't want to be seen as defending the status quo.

From taxes to oil drilling, Democrats are now going to have to start explaining their positions.

Whenever you start having to explain things, you're on defense.

I actually went back and watched Palin's speech a second time. I didn't go to sleep until 1:30 a.m. I had to make sure I got the lines right.

Her timing was exquisite. She didn't linger with applause, but instead launched into line after line of attack, slipping the knives in with every smile and joke.

And she delivered it like she was just BS-ing on the street with the meter maid.

She didn't have to prove she was "of the people." She really is the people.

There is one thing she should have done: announced when her 17-year-old daughter and the teenage father of the girl's unborn child are getting married and invited all of us to the wedding. It should be like Sunday at church.

As for Palin herself, she is going to be very, very effective on the campaign trail, especially if McCain's people can figure out how to gently keep her from getting into confrontations with the press.

If she can answer questions like she handled herself at the convention, Palin will turn out to be the most interesting person in all of politics, and the press will treat her like they treated Obama when he was first discovered.

And remember, the Palin bandwagon needs to roll for only two months.

Here's the transcript from the Washington Post Dan Balz chat. Here's the complete Willie Brown column in the San Francisco Chronicle; it includes a few thoughts on John and Cindy McCain, too.



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