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Works and Days

Obama Up, Obama Down…

September 10th, 2008 - 7:01 am

Obama Needs to Get Back to the Teleprompter and the Economy
Campaigns are cyclical. They ebb and flow. McCain no doubt will have a bad week characterized by Biden-like gaffes and getting off message. We all remember McCain’s ugly green backdrop behind his acceptance speech, and “my friends” ad nauseam.

Still, if some lament the lack of discussion of issues (I do), we nevertheless know if McCain had picked a wonkish “old white” guy like Romney, we still would not be talking about taxes, defense, Iraq and housing; but would be bombarded by the prefab attack ads that would have run, such as “John McCain doesn’t know any more how many houses he has. But with Mitt Romney they now have 20 between them.”

So McCain had to do something to shake up his campaign, and Palin was the answer. In a very strange way, her mere presence makes the media and many in Obama’s camp unhinged, as a Clarence Thomas once did in different circumstances to elites. So for now she need not talk to the press for a few more days, since they are determined to lose Obama the election on their own by their frenzy.

Panic Mode

Recently Obama himself has panicked over Palin. He lashed out, and has shown himself unsteady. He apparently thinks that hope-and-change Sarah is all fluff, has fooled the nation that doesn’t see, as he alone does, that she is empty, resents her glibness and her youth, feels she doesn’t have enough experience and has hoodwinked the voters, and finds her soaring speeches vapid.

In other words, he knows what worked for him—and is furious because he suspects that his doppelgänger at the 11th hour might be working it even better. In a Freudian sense, he knows he is inexperienced as he once confessed, and is angry that we don’t sense it about Palin. If he doesn’t watch it, on one of these hand-in-mike outings, he will yell, “Hey, she’s just like me. I know that better than anyone. What’s going on here!”

It’s the Economy

To right himself, Obama must forget the Republican VP nominee, and run against McCain on the economy. (Even Kerry didn’t run against Cheney, or Bush against Edwards).  Just because Sarah outhoped and outchanged him is no reason to implode in furor. The puerile media was bad enough, and when he too piles on her, the polls will show even greater slides.

So Obama must stop the prancing and extemporaneous lecturing with the hand-held mike, where he sort of mimics Rev. Wright’s grating cadences. He comes off as petulant and angry—as if to say, “I’m Obama! And I’ve always wowed people with my mellifluous voice, so get hypnotized and do as I say.” And when they don’t, he freezes.

Of Lipsticked Pigs and Old Fish

Yesterday he did it again, and paid big-time with his silly “lipstick” quote about Palin. A small matter, but of enormous symbolic importance: it shows that he can’t leave well enough alone, as if he were driven on by forces beyond him.

Watch the tape and you can see him struggle for the impromptu zinger—and anticipate that he’s going to pause, stutter, and flub it up, big time. And he does.

In all the furor over that “pig” reference, commentators forgot to examine his entire attack, which was worse still: “You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.”

A woman who may be a VP is “a pig?” A senior senator is “an old fish” who will “stink?”

His dual animate male/female references and two metaphors are clear: most would think that Obama is talking about both on the ticket and his anger how each has expropriated his change motif. He appears both to insult the 72-year old McCain as the “old fish” that is still going to “stink”, and to refer to Palin, who had evoked the metaphor of lipstick in a nationally televised address, as still the pig despite the lipstick.

The fact that he used two metaphors to attack the two, and used expressions referring both to age and Palin’s recent use of “lipstick” don’t seem to be accidents and that’s why the cooing crowd got the old fish=McCain; lipsticked pig=Palin immediately.

Worse Still

Then note his next qualification that was supposed to assure us he wasn’t talking in sexist fashion about Palin:

“Look, she’s new, she hasn’t been on the scene, she’s got five kids.”

A feminist would say, “She is also Governor of Alaska!

I don’t care much whether he goes that low route, but given the present climate of liberal media sexism, it is suicidal. If he keeps it up, he’ll be down by 10 by the weekend in the all the tracking polls. He should get Hillary out on the stump, especially in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan and stick to blue-collar issues, not Palin.

Bidenisms

Next, Team Obama has to muzzle Biden. First it was “good looking” Palin. Biden has now trumped that with Palin as  “a step back for women.” And if he too keeps it up, soon even Hillary is going to get angry. Meanwhile those independent white working-class female voters are slipping, a natural constituency for Obama. Let me get this straight: Obama picked as VP someone who bombed in two presidential tries (1% of the vote while he ran); turned down Hillary who got 18 million voters and won the last primaries with white working-class voters? And for all that he was to get Biden’s “experience” and “sobriety”, a Senator who was always the most mercurial and gaffe-prone around?

Ol’ Hill—gone, but not forgotten.

Hillary, it is true, tells white lies about her past; but she does not sound insipid and self-important in Biden’s fashion. She was the ideal VP candidate. So I never saw the Biden logic; he’s always had a reputation for duplicity, logorrhea, and gratuitous insulting. Why compound the error of not nominating her for President, by the greater error of shutting her out of the VP nomination?

True, Obama had legitimate worries about the Clintones, and their dream of a de facto shared presidency, with Bill being Bill. But that assumed he could win easily without them. He can’t (ask Gore).

Wiser  to win first with Hillary, and then next deal with her later, rather than letting pride and hubris cloud logic.

They’re Back

Some of the recent bad Obama news reflects past errors.  Who wants the UN and fawning Euros on your side? That ridiculous Euro-tour and his “I am a Europeaner” speech were disastrous, and even now reverberate.

The latest to get in on the election are the nosy condescending Brits, as in the disastrous ’04 fashion when they were going to warn Ohioans to vote for Kerry.

Note Gordon Brown, while in office as British PM, seems to take the unprecedented step of almost endorsing Obama. That will only alienate Americans, and if McCain is elected, make him regret it.

Creepy Brit Russell Brand at the MTV award calls Bush a “retard.” Then he went off on Palin in rather disgusting terms, intermixed with pathetic calls to elect Obama. But after looking at this sickly figure, one could imagine that Sarah could make mincemeat of him in seconds, without the moose gun.

And then the BBC conducts a “world” poll to inform us that the planet likewise wants Obama—but are we  impressed that the Putin and the Russians, or the Chinese, or the Venezuelans or the UN general Assembly knows best for us? I’d easily prefer that the US be run by the city council of my home town Selma than by the EU governing assembly.

If critics suggest I exaggerate, cf. this advice from the British Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland:

Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start – a fresh start the world is yearning for.

Soon voters in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will ask why do these people like Obama so much, and us so little?

The Democrats Forgot their own Rules

#1 Do not nominate northern liberals unless they have a southern accent.

#2 Do not go near a veteran liberal Northeastern Senator who perpetually runs for President, is hooked on cameras and loves to extemporaneously lecture. He will balance no one.

#3 Stay away from Chicago politics

#4 Keep away completely from the nut-fringe, whether Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore—or Bill Ayers. They are the leftwing version of the John Birch Society of the 1950s.

#5 Do not allow a nominee on the stump to wear camoflauge, a tank helmet, pick up a gun, or bowl

#6  Don’t ever do tell-all interviews by televangleicals

#7 Don’t get near MSNBC, the Daily Kos, or the Huffington Post—keep to NPR, PBS, NBC and the New York Times/Washington Post.

#8 Don’t start a name calling contest with Sean Hannety and Rush Limbaugh. They will seem presidential, the nominee like an inept talk show host.

#9 Keep away from all celebs, whether Ludacris or Barbra.

#10 If you really must speak of military affairs, use the words “win” and “victory” in each sentence.

Letters

Inexact thinking

Readers who suggested that McCain’s insider connections nullify my larger point about similar feminist critiquing bootstrap Palin error. McCain is NOT in condescending fashion belittling the up-from-nothing rise of others. For the analogy to be accurate, it would be as if the conservative admiral son’s pooh-poohed a blue-collar populist and liberal captain as not being “officer material”.

On Income

I wish Obama’s new taxes would be to help the general welfare as in paying down the debt. But he wants, as I read his website and do the math, about a trillion more spent on new programs, and paid for with about a trillion more in new taxes. That would mean taxing in a downturn, not paying off the debt, getting larger and more inefficient government, and taking more responsibility away from the individual. We forget that we have an enormous government already, high taxes, and plenty of programs. The trick is to make them work  better, cut spending and leave taxes as they are.

On Change.

Of course, McCain and Palin are brazenly expropriating change, but tweaking it with the word “maverick”. They’ve hit on a sort of Butch Cassidy/Sundance duet, riding into town guns blazing as “outsiders” who “took on” the insider status quo. Americans can relate to underdog change, but Obama’s wore off, and the veneer peeled away showing a sort of orthodox tired McGovern/Mondale/Dukakis/Kerry liberal agenda as usual. All politicians flip; my point was that Obama was flipping in substance toward McCain, McCain in rhetoric and style toward Obama.

On Issues
Obama has it wrong. He thinks talking about the issues favors him. They could, if he talked balanced budgets or getting bin Laden as an antidote to George Bush, or the need to drill, do nuclear and coal, and find ways to get to solar and wind without going broke. But there was a reason Kerry lost, and the corrective to present ills is not Kerryism, but the sort of post-political belt-tightening and restraint Obama once promised.

For 90 days, voters can be misled that a glib sort of Dukakis or a new take on Kerry is real change; it is in a superficial way. But in the last 60 days we will see that voters are angry that “change” really meant the old liberal taxes, big government, and qualify and fifth guess what America does at every turn. Being angry with Bush does not mean necessarily voters regret not having a Kerry the last four years.

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