Friday, September 12, 2008

Is McCain/Palin In Obama's Head?

Obama and his campaign have been showing signs of having been rattled by the VP pick of Palin. However, there were signs before the VP selection that the Obama campaign could be rattled. First, the celebrity ad. Outrage, and cries of foul abounded over an ad that basically poked fun at Obama's celebrity and his legions of euphoric supporters. Second, Saddleback. Not the event itself, but the cries of cheating that came from the Obama campaign. It couldn't be that McCain outperformed Obama there must have been foul play. So the Obama campaign screams cheater because Senator McCain wasn't hermetically sealed in in a sound proof pod, or 'cone of silence'. Their reaction was both foolish, and a sign that even minor victories by the McCain campaign could rattle them. However, the pre-Palin kicker is that someone convinced Senator Obama to give a mediocre acceptance speech. What is the one area where Senator Obama has a decisive edge? Speech making; and he under-performed. How that happened should be studied in political science classes in years to come, because forfeiting a strength in any arena is flat crazy.

Then comes the VP picks. Obama doesn't want Clinton, and chooses a candidate to help him appear more experienced so he picks Biden. McCain supporters chuckle as Senator Biden is a legendary 'Gaffe Machine'. Everyone else yawns. Good guy, fairly safe pick, but no one really cares. Then it's McCain's turn. Everyone is predicting Romney or Pawlenty, both safe choices, but again not terribly exciting. The McCain campaign keeps the pick completely secret, and then Palin explodes on the scene. She gave a good opening speech, but there were a lot of questions about her still to be addressed. The Obama campaign immediately took a shot at her, but then retracted the statement as harsh and unnecessary. The media loses its mind. Certainly that's not the Obama camps fault, but their obvious Obama bias and hysterical reaction to Palin does not help their favorite candidate. Clumsily the Obama campaign chimed in with cracks about her experience as a small town mayor, and dismissed her experience as a sitting Governor. This opened the door for Palin to clock Obama on his community organizer experience during her acceptance speech, which was such a powerful speech that it made the media and Obama look foolish for their attacks.

Since then the Obama campaign has struggled to get its bearings. First, Obama acted horrified that Palin challenged his community organizer experience, when he had really set himself up. Then his campaign had a meltdown over Palin's comment that she had pulled the plug on the 'Bridge to No Where'. Instead of criticizing Palin's original support for a different version of the bridge, or questioning what that money should have been spent on after the project was dead, the Obama campaign instead freaked out. They called Palin a liar, they called the McCain/Palin ticket corrupt, yet in the end Palin did pull the plug on the 'Bridge to No Where' and the Obama campaign's over-reaction looked foolish and unstable. Then comes Senator Obama's 'Lipstick on a pig' comment. One can argue intent all day long, however, there is little argument that the comment was incredibly stupid. Particularly, since in the same day he made another comment about a 'stinking fish', and another campaign member also referenced lipstick in a less than flattering way. For someone who is typically graceful in his use of language, "The fierce urgency of now", "We are not red states or blue states, we are the United States", talking about lipstick on pigs after Palin made a lipstick joke during her speech is at best sloppy and out of character.

Today the fumbling continues. An ad criticizing Senator McCain's out of date attire from 1982, and challenging his apparent internet ineptitude has to be one of the weakest attack ads put out in years. Maybe that helps him somehow with the youth vote, but he already has the youth vote. Most people over the age of 30 know at some point in their lives they've worn a silly outfit, and/or had a bad hair day. As for lack of internet experience, who cares? It's an odd argument that I can't imagine helps the campaign. The Obama campaign has abandoned their 'new politics' argument for random and silly attacks. It's not just that they're struggling since the Palin pick and the convention, its that they're panicking. They're only down a few points in the polls, the real problem isn't the numbers it's that the McCain/Palin ticket has them completely flustered.

Is McCain/Palin in Obama's Head?

1 comment:

Susannah said...

It is entirely possible that Barack Obama's infamous "Lipstick on a pig" remark was simply just a gaffe. However, Obama does have a history of using sexist code words against Hillary Clinton and ageist code words against John McCain, so it's kind of hard to tell what his real intent was. I previously wrote about Obama's past use of code words (among other things) in a blog for titled, "Barack Obama--the Master of Illusion". The link is below.