Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Bob Novak’s Campaign Judgments

Bob says that Obama’s overseas tour has been "an unqualified success." It has "increased Republican defeatism" and "Democratic triumphalism." Obama now looks "experienced and effective," McCain "constricted and wooden." I would go further: McCain increasingly looks out-of-the-loop when it comes to American foreign policy, world leaders, and such. I say this not as a defeatist or fatalist, but only to wonder when a really effective McCain campaign might begin.

Bob adds that McCain’s teases about naming his running mate this weekend are lame attempts to steal Barack’s thunder. And it looks to him like it’ll be Romney (but not this weekend), because of the help he gives the ticket in Michigan. My first comment might concern how things are going in the other 49 states.

Discussions - 15 Comments

Several points.

1. McCain helped make the Obama trip the huge deal it has become, by demanding that Obama take a trip to Iraq. Be careful what you wish for.

2. The conventional wisdom is that Obama has to prove that he is a safe choice to be President. This trip shows that the bar Obama has to jump is very low. Obama made a slip about Israel being a loyal supporter of Israel, and suggested that General Petraeus is too parochially focused on Iraq unlike the wise world statesman Obama, who has to keep an eye on the big picture. He also implied that Petraeus was unconcerned about Afghanistan (which would be very distressing since Petraeus in the incoming CENTCOM commander). None of that matters politically. Part of it is the media covering for Obama, but a big part is that Obama does not look all that overmatched in his press conferences. He speaks fluent globaloney. He pauses and stutters a little, but less so than President Bush. When you seem him answering reporters questions, you can picture him doing it as President. He doesn't get dissed by the foreign leaders he meets. Most importantly, people want to see Obama pass these tests. He will get the benefit of the doubt and it would take a gigantic gaffe (tough even to imagine)to sink him.

3. The Democrats have become the party of higher energy prices (unless the energy is generated from renewable sources at a sight nowhere near any Kennedy family property). That is the inevitable short and middle term result of the policies they favor. The general public is enraged about high energy prices. The Democrats are profiting from public anger over high energy prices. Its a neat trick.

4. McCain helped put the Democrats in this happy position. McCain got some very good media attention by supporting cap and trade, and being against expanded drilling. That was probably good politics at the time. But four dollar gas has transformed the politics of energy (for the moment)and McCain has to choose between looking like a political oppurtunist (not so good for a character driven campaign) or missing his chance to rally the public on one of the few issues in which the general public and the Republican base are both passionate and in agreement with each other. I can't say I feel sorry for him

Pete makes good points. Roger I believe on another thread pointed out the way McCain might revive his failing campaign with an energy platform that would bring oil and gas production up and drive prices down. That could win a lot of working class votes, if McCain really went for it. But if Bush doesn't have the guts to push for energy development, it is even more doubtful that a slightly green McCain will come out strong for domestic energy production. If America doesn't start producing more (lots more) of its own energy in the next 5-10 years, our economy may be permanently damaged.

As for Romney and the VP-yuck. No one picks VP for geography, at least in years, so I highly doubt it will be Romney, or at least not for the Michigan reason. If Romney and Michigan is the only reason that Mac picks a VP, then McCain pretty much deserves to lose (both on principle with Romney and politically with such dumb campaigning).

Thanks for all this commentary but I think I will just follow poll movements. WaPo's measure this morning is that the race is becoming ever closer. Mac is now ahead in CO and has pulled even in Michigan and Minnesota.

In my view, Novak, who is a smart guy (but a terrible driver!), is like all media people, something of a navel gazer. Media are swooning over "President" BO's Kennedy-Reagan reprise. The facts on the ground tell a different story, which is that BO is failing to make his case in America.

McCain could be doing more but in fact I think he is doing better than the navel gazers say, for example, he is effectively slamming BO on his rejection of any single proposal to relieve the energy crisis while Mac is moving ahead with offshore drilling et al.

Judis too is a bright guy but I do not think you can compare McCain to Dole nor BO to Bill Clinton.

We are at a time when the Dem by all counts should be running away with this election. In truth these numbers are remarkably thin for the Dem. Counterintuitively, when you consider how much dislike there is right now for the GOP, the fact that Mac is doing so well is telling me that his chances of winning are quite good, and it is BO who has the real problem.

The idea of giving a man, who is over 70, a media make over, and that somehow that's going to make him appear youthful and juiced and thus neutralize Obama's optics, ----------- is an idea that's just bizarre.

McCain's age and seasoning aren't flaws against Obama, but advantages, which allow him to easily portray Obama as what he is, an unready, unexperienced lightweight.

Over 50% of the American people ALREADY view the false messiah as the "more risky" choice.

Almost 60% view McCain as the candidate more in sync with their attitudes and beliefs.

"Democrat triumphalism?" Where's the bounce? Where's the breakout for the insurgent candidate, who has the advantages of linking his opponent with Bush, with an unpopular war, with soaring gas prices, with an administration pockmarked with incompetence. Where's Obama's lead?

"Out of the loop when it comes to American foreign policy....." What foreign policy? Bush hasn't ANY foreign policy regarding China, Venezuela, Mugabe and of course Iran. He's charted nothing in regard to the house of saud, and done nothing other than twist Jewish arms regarding the "Palestinian peace process." It's difficult for McCain to be in the loop with this administration's foreign policy when that foreign policy is, as many such as Feith and Bolton describe, in freefall and in the midst of strategic bankruptcy.

Novak's piece isn't simply strange, it's factually inaccurate to boot.

More false messiah cracks on Obama. But they pale in comparison to the republican candidates invoking Reagan's name in messianic rapture during the primaries. "W" has retired the award for unready, unexperienced lightweights in the oval office. The press is willing to pass on Obama's gaffes, because they already know Obama has the intelligence and the gaffe was a fluke. With "W" the gaffe was revelatory of precisely the cosmic nullity and oceanic un-curiousness of his mind. In this you-tube age everyone will have flubs - but the people will chuckle at Obama's and react in horror at McCain's.

The usually judicious Bob Novak has not had a good week. Dennis is right that the current voter studies do not show an OB bounce, strangely, and in fact polls in key battleground states show gains for McCain. I am beginning to think Obama's vanity may be seeming more and more scary to more people. His is certainly a very very different sort of campaign. It very much partakes of the most current techne in pr and the entertainment industry. I wonder how long he has been planning this. He is his own image manager and this accounts in large part for his comfort with himself. I also wonder how much it will be seen through in the end. The young are certainly mesmerized by it. The images are quite beautiful, though for me they seem hyped up socialist realism--or very up to date cult of personality realism. I wonder if more and more people will begin calling it BS. That would be a very American reaction--old America.

Who dares compare Reagan's list of GENUINE accomplishments, with the false messiah's raising of imaginary walls in Berlin, which he bravely steps forward to "tear" down.

W, although I'm more than willing to acknowledge has badly floundered in his 2d term, had a list of accomplishments prior to his election, which is why he was taken seriously. Gore tried to brand him as a lightweight, but in as much as Gore had written a weird work decrying internal combustine engines, and warning one and all that the world was hurtling down the path towards some Biblical termination, nobody took Gore seriously.

Whether W has met with much success this 2d term is wholly irrelevant when assessing the merits or the demerits of the false messiah. Any attempt to change the subject from the false messiah to the present President is a dodge.

Oh, and by the way, the false messiah just claimed the chairmanship of a Senate Comm. that he doesn't even sit on, {the Banking Comm.}.

Now just think about that one.

Did Bush ever do something like that?

What man can possibly be comfortable pulling the lever for a guy who just claimed ownership of a Senate Comm. that he never sat on, AND DID IT all for the purpose of taking credit for something, anything, because his own resume is so threadbare. And he did it for the purposes of pandering for the Jewish vote.

NO ONE in American history has had so scant a record and yet been considered for The White House.

Lawler's post, despite his claim to the contrary, is defeatist crap. The Obamarama can be beaten, along the lines cited by Dan and Rob Jeffrey.

I certainly believe BO can be better, although I don't think it'll be easy or likely. I also don't think he'll beat himself, which is what some of you appear to think.

Better should be beaten in the above

I've read alot of harping on Obama's speech in Berlin yesterday. Most conservative commnetators seem to think it hurt him. I think the speech did him more good than bad. First the bad.

1. The sight line of the event made the crowd appear smaller than the packed arena events that drew a tenth as many people.

2. The crowd was pretty quiet, which made it seem that some of his lines fell flat. In fact. it revealed that some of his material only works as well as it does because of his ability to charge up a live audience.

The good

1. The lack of a crowd frenzy was actually a net positive. Obama's big speeches sometimes give off a rock star/cult leader vibe that some people find cool and others find creepy. For that second group, it would have been extra creepy to see that from a group of foreigners. Contrary to many conservative commentators, Obama did not look like a messiah - false or otherwise - he looked presidential.

2. The speech was cleverly written for an American audience. Obama seemed to talk turkey to the allies. He told them that they need to contribute more troops and be ready to sanction Iraq. In reality that is less than the least that our alies should be doing, but Obama got to look like he was willing to stand up for the the US, even to people who adore him. Being smarter than John Kerry, Obama didn't let his desire to show he is liked by Europeans, become the impression that he is the toady of the Europeans.

Peter, he already IS beating himself. You just haven't noticed.

Lawler is quite right -- Obama will not beat himself.

He's just jumped the shark people; that's an UNFORCED error. And AMERICA noticed.

Does anyone honestly care what that hopeless creep Novak thinks or says?

I doubt that his fan club extends much beyond the NLT / 15%ers.

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