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Obama Under Sniper Fire

First he threw his grandma under the bus. Now he’s throwing in the Rev. Wright for good measure. So he took the advice offered by the estimable Prof. Schramm and gave a speech expressing his "outrage" at the Rev. Wright. Here’s a link to the video. I think he was effective and he did what he needed to do. Those who were already disposed to love him now love him more. He will be forgiven by his base and they will go back to defending him. But he still has his work cut out for him in re-gaining ground lost and it’s possible that he may have alienated a large chunk of his supporters who had a favorable view of the Rev. Wright. So this press conference will help, but it won’t be enough. Still, one cannot escape this conclusion: at this point the only thing separating Barack Obama from Hillary Clinton in terms of their respective willingness to say anything to get elected is that Obama was probably closer to "sniper fire" in this instance than Hillary Clinton ever was in Bosnia. He may have dodged the bullet . . . but he also might succumb to post-traumatic stress.

UPDATE: I’m hearing a lot of criticism of Obama in the news segments of local radio from political science types who, in light of this seeming reversal, are now questioning Obama’s judgment and his "leadership." It is a fair point, it seems to me. If we take him at his own words, it seems that he has been very wrong about a man he said (just six weeks ago in Philadelphia) was "like family" and with whom he as been associated for 20 years. How long will it take for Sen. Obama to assess the character of, say, Ahmadinejad? Do we have 20 years to spare for this effort?

Discussions - 7 Comments

It's hard to believe even the Democrats will nominate him now. But maybe I underestimate them.

"How long will it take for Sen. Obama to assess the character of, say, Ahmadinejad?" Exactly.

And, it all appears to be just for politics, like Wright has stated.

Seriously, you mean to tell me that only now Obama is taking issue with what Wright preaches?

Obama is either a fool (went to Wright's church for 20 years, but had no idea what the man was really about) or--far more likely--a fraud who still won't come clean about his long- and deeply held affinity for the smell of what the Rev. was cookin'.

The Dems are in a heck of pickle. They can dump Barry despite his edge in pledged delegates and have (worst case) riots in the streets of Denver or (best case) lots of disgruntled blacks staying home on election day, OR they can go into the general with a weak candidate who has a whiny and grating wife, lots of disturbing baggage, turns off Reagan Democrats, and is just way too far left of the median voter. As it is, I wonder how much active black support even Barry has cost himself with today's remarks--I have a hunch that Wright has quite a few sympathizers in black America who see him as a "race man" who's just "speaking truth to power" and probably think Obama is part of some white conspiracy to take him down. Certainly Wright seems to have quite a few fans among the black intellectuals (they were the ones cheering him on at the Press Club on Monday). I wonder what they will say about Obama now.

OR they can go into the general with a weak candidate who has a whiny and grating wife, lots of disturbing baggage, turns off Reagan Democrats

I think some people are still stuck in the '90's. HRC's strength is among Reagan Democrats, and it's hard to see how McCain does well with them. They've been drifting away from the GOP for a long time.

McCain does well with Reagan Dems if Obama is the nominee. If HRC is the nominee, McCain's got a run for his money with them. John is right. They've been drifting away from the GOP since they elected Reagan. But they're also not ideologically committed Dems and there's probably nothing on the horizon that will change that. Their votes will always be in play unless or until the GOP finally wins them over. But the GOP could never seal the deal with them and the Dems could never, really, fully win them back. Bubba came close, but--in the end--was just too over the top. (I think it is significant that he's not holding up in memory as well as he might have hoped he would. He's not remembered with the same fondness among his supporters as Reagan is, for example.) Hillary won't get as close as Bubba did to sealing the deal with the Reagan Dems, but she'll split their votes enough to make it tight.

John: The "weak candidate" I was referring to was Obama, not Hillary. I agree that she would be much tougher to face in November because I think more Reagan Dems would tilt her way. If it's a choice between Johnny Mac and Barry, however, I think McCain's prospects with the RDs are pretty good.

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