Monday, September 8, 2008

The Surprising Incompetence of Barack Obama

Saturday, Republican activists claimed to have rescued thousands of American flags left over from the Democrat National Convention from being sent to a landfill. They grabbed the flags and took them a Colorado Springs McCain-Palin rally, where they were distributed to the audience as a reminder of Barack Obama’s cavalier attitude towards one of our nation’s most treasured symbols.

People paid attention to the story, too. Drudge linked it, which guaranteed thousands of hits, and it appeared at Fox News’ website, as well as many conservative blogs. This episode made Obama look bad, and contributed, albeit slightly, to his current plunge in national polls.

Really, this sort of thing is totally excusable. Conventions are big events which take months to prepare, and weeks to clean up after. It’s easy to see how some low-paid staffer could mistakenly discard some flags (there were over 125,000 flags used at the Convention), or give that impression by storing them next to a Dumpster (which is the Obama camp’s story—that they were simply being stored before being sent back to the manufacturer).

So this story is relatively unimportant. It should have been a non-story—but it was. It is a perfect example of the staggering clumsiness of Barack Obama’s campaign. It might be a bit unfair to expect Obama to be far ahead in the polls at this point—no candidate could maintain Obama’s messiah façade, and improving conditions in Iraq mean that Republican candidates no longer have to worry about an unpopular war. But still, Bush is massively (and deservedly) unpopular, the economy is weak, and voters overwhelmingly believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect Obama to be up by fifteen points. It’s not unrealistic to expect him to be up, say, eight.

But he’s not. In fact, right now, he’s not up at all—McCain is leading by about three points. Granted some of McCain’s lead comes from his convention bounce, but then, his bounce is much bigger than Obama’s was. (Obama went from about two up in the RCP poll average to six up; McCain went from six down to three up). And McCain has been at Obama’s heels all summer.

So why is Obama losing? As in all things political, there is no one reason. His stark anti-war message probably doesn’t resonate with voters as he’d like it to, and the economy is isn’t quite as bad as he paints it. And his last two debate performances (the Pennsylvania one with Hillary, and Rick Warren’s Saddleback Forum) have not gone well, and he started badly due to the nomination fight with Hillary Clinton. But the root cause of Obama’s poll trouble lie in the fact that his campaign is, in many ways, clueless.

One of Obama’s most valuable traits was his ability to seem larger than life, a man who walked with kings, yet never lost the common touch; someone who understood yet somehow transcended modern politics. This trait drew massive crowds, enthusiastic supporters, and rallied young voters.

Then McCain called him a celebrity, and it was all gone. He released a funny, audacious ad, and suddenly people started drawing comparisons between Obama and Paris Hilton. When Obama gave his convention speech in front of some white pillars, people saw a Greek temple instead of the White House, or the Lincoln Memorial, or a half-off Macy’s sale (which is, apparently, what the pillars looked like in person).

Or take Obama’s choice of his running mate. He hit upon the wonderful idea of texting his pick directly to his supporters, ensuring that they would be the very first to know, and showing his familiarity with modern technology. But he only sent his message after the media had learned of his pick, and sent it at 3 a.m. on a Friday night. Obama’s big day was ruined—not because of anything McCain did, but thanks to an easily avoidable, unforced error.

Of course, these are the most significant mistakes; Obama’s campaign has made a host of more minor gaffes. (Off the top of my head: Biden calling Obama “Barack America”, “abortion is above my pay grade”, Biden: “life begins at conception” Obama: “I don’t have the votes to take your guns”). McCain, in contrast (and surprisingly) has run a tight, solid no-mistakes campaign.


If Obama were to tighten up his campaign, he would not be guaranteed a victory in November. But he would be able to build an strong opposing narrative, and fire up his supporters. His primary campaign was nearly flawless. If he wants to win in November, his general election campaign must be nearly flawless as well.

37 Comments:

At September 9, 2008 at 10:42 AM , Blogger Zeca do Rock said...

Ridiculous article!

 
At September 9, 2008 at 11:05 AM , Blogger Beth said...

What a compelling comment there Zeca!

 
At September 9, 2008 at 11:05 AM , Anonymous xbjllb said...

Obama could run the tightest, most perfect campaign in the world and he would NEVER win against McCain or anyone else, for that matter. Not in a million years.

Americans are just not going to vote for a misogynist poorly brought up creep who stomped all over a woman to beat her through a door first... it's that simple. I don't care how many pretty BS speeches he gives.

Obama lost the day he entered the race against Hillary: FROM DAY ONE.

Obnoxious creep should have been willing to serve and learn at her side for eight years.

No. Not him. Not Stanley's tossed off Kenyan/Canadian/Indonesian and only God knows what else brat.

The audacity of misogyny, ego, stupidity, and the complete opposite of gallantry and chivalry

McCain-Palin it will be... in a landslide the likes of which has rarely been seen.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 11:07 AM , Anonymous Lyza Strada said...

To imply Obama has ANY substance is to flat out LIE.
LOL

Keep drinking the kool aid.

Obama is a liar, a racist, a communist.

Ask Cuba what happens when you accept a young and charismatic leader who promises "change". Cuba was definitely changed.
Elect obama and you will be fleeing the US in inner tubes.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 11:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO McCain has run a solid no-mistakes what? Really? You're a whackjob dude and this commentary is drivel.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 11:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is the fault of the DNC because they made Obama the nominee when Hilary not only won all the big states (except Obama's state of IL) and she won the popular vote as well.

That was the first mistake. The second mistake is that Obama didn't pick Hilary as his running mate.

Instead he picked Joe Biden - a Washington insider that doesn't jive with his message of "Change you can believe in!" McCain did a brilliant Rovian scoop on Obama by picking Palin. Obama left himself wide open and now he will pay with the price of losing the election very likely.

18 million voters were ignored by the DNC. Now they will not win the White House because of it.

Oh the stupidity!

 
At September 9, 2008 at 11:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the DNC must work for the Republican party.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 12:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

God help us all if McCain (Mr. "bomb bomb bomb...bomb bomb Iran") and his soccer mom running mate win this election. If you liked the $4 a gallon gas, you will LOVE the result of what happens when he does bomb Iran and the entire Muslim world unites against us to cut off our oil. No power, no gas, no food... yup... just delightful...And what happens if Russia makes good its claim to bomb US if we bomb Iran? Do you WANT a nuclear war with Russia? Granted that might be a song and dance on their part but do you want to risk it? McCain has voted WITH Bush on everything...EVERYTHING...The oil and other international crises aside We cannot afford another 4 years of the mismanagement that has taken this nation from a nice surplus to trillions in deficit, and the loss of a huge percentage of jobs and homes...
Ms. Palin is probably a very nice lady, but she has No concept of international relations, no conept of national and international economics... NO experience in much of anything but running a state whose main industry is oil...Hello OIL!!! ... a state with one of the hightst rates of acoholism and teen pregnancy in the country. Her policies have not done much for Alaska other than the promotion of big oil. Do we not see a trend here? If they get in and he dies, do you want to trust the country to someone with no concept of international policies and politics, no idea of diplomacy...(Has she even been out side this country???) ... a woman,who although may be well intentioned, apparently cannot manage her own family? We will return to the middle ages,where a woman who is the victim of rape or incest will be forced by law to bear and raise the child of that union... Women will again be forced into back alleys and death by coat hanger. At least Barak Obama gives women credit for having the intelligence to make their own decisions. Religion will be taught as science in the schools...Theocracies DO NOT WORK...If you want a theocracy, please move to Iran... This is supposed to be a democratic republic... We should try bring it back to that.
Which way do you want this country to go? Obama is not perfect, but at least he will try to resolve some of this mess, instead of increasing the tax breaks to the millionaires like Mc Cain will. He has some good ideas, and had enough sense to pick a running mate who is competent to run the country should God forbid something happen to him. He will try to make peace instead of war, and who knows, maybe the fact that his father is Muslim might persuade the Muslim world to at least hear him out. Yes, he needs to fire half his staff and get better staff... but he DOES have some good ideas, and we should be willing to give change a chance.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 12:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

a gay black muslim drug dealer as president of these United States of America?

maybe for a day.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 12:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to add MURDERING, gay, black, Muslim, drug dealer as President.

Donald Young - google it.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 12:51 PM , Blogger Jake at said...

Ug. Again with the flags? And MURDERING, gay, Muslim? Then why does Obama NOT support gay marriage? ;) Touche!

 
At September 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM , Anonymous Jake said...

It WAS a mistake to send all those flags to the landfill though - how could the Dems think this wouldn't be discovered and criticized? Stupid.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 1:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the article said Obama had an anti-war stance, as he is for moving our troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Maybe the problem With Obama is he is a worse flip flopper then Kerry.

He ran on a great platform and the closer he got to winning the nomination, the more he did to destroy that platform.

All he has left now is a single empty slogan and a bunch of people who want to vote for him because they mistakenly think he has any substance to him.

McCain is a worthless killer that can't remember to tie his shoes by himself half the time, but at least he has a consistent message, and when it comes to picking a president, they want a man that will stick to his guns, good bad or ugly.

Who here would ever want a leader who can't make up their minds on anything and constantly go back on the very same points they made previously?

People want a leader with conviction that they can believe in, and Obama fails that test repeatedly.

Personally I am anti-Democrat AND Republican, and as a disinterested party, it is really easy for me to see how the Obama campaign has self destructed in a quite orderly manner.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 2:30 PM , Anonymous Christopher Taylor said...

Senator Obama is unseasoned, unready, and inexperienced. He's making rookie mistakes that are costing him voters and stumbling in ways that you or I would in a campaign, but no one with years behind him would. Witness the difference between Senators McCain and Obama; one is experienced and cool, ready and collected, the other is confused, stumbling, mumbling and gaffe-ing when off the teleprompter.

Get 4-8 years on him and Senator Obama could be a force to be reckoned with, but he may have spent all his potential and chances to be president in this run by going at it too early.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 2:51 PM , Blogger JAllen said...

Anonymous said...
"I don't understand why the article said Obama had an anti-war stance, as he is for moving our troops from Iraq to Afghanistan."

Since Iraq is relativly quite at the moment and the Taliban is gaining ground in Afganistan and that country provides a window for possible operations against Iran (look at a map), it is easily understood. Note he didn't say "bring the troops home", just move them from one theater to another.
The side issues of safety to the pipe line project and the opium poppy crop are of course never to be mentioned.

JA

 
At September 9, 2008 at 2:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

our enemies must be salivating at the thought of America being destroyed from within by a stealth muslim manchurian candidate.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 3:05 PM , Blogger JAllen said...

Anonymous said...
"God help us all if McCain (Mr. "bomb bomb bomb...bomb bomb Iran") and his soccer mom running mate win this election. If you liked the $4 a gallon gas, you will LOVE the result of what happens when he does bomb Iran and the entire Muslim world unites against us to cut off our oil. No power, no gas, no food... yup... just delightful...And what happens if Russia makes good its claim to bomb US if we bomb Iran? Do you WANT a nuclear war with Russia? Granted that might be a song and dance on their part but do you want to risk it? McCain has voted WITH Bush on everything...EVERYTHING...The oil and other international crises aside We cannot afford another 4 years of the mismanagement that has taken this nation from a nice surplus to trillions in deficit, and the loss of a huge percentage of jobs and homes...
Ms. Palin is probably a very nice lady, but she has No concept of international relations, no conept of national and international economics... NO experience in much of anything but running a state whose main industry is oil...Hello OIL!!! ... a state with one of the hightst rates of acoholism and teen pregnancy in the country. Her policies have not done much for Alaska other than the promotion of big oil. Do we not see a trend here? If they get in and he dies, do you want to trust the country to someone with no concept of international policies and politics, no idea of diplomacy...(Has she even been out side this country???) ... a woman,who although may be well intentioned, apparently cannot manage her own family? We will return to the middle ages,where a woman who is the victim of rape or incest will be forced by law to bear and raise the child of that union... Women will again be forced into back alleys and death by coat hanger. At least Barak Obama gives women credit for having the intelligence to make their own decisions. Religion will be taught as science in the schools...Theocracies DO NOT WORK...If you want a theocracy, please move to Iran... This is supposed to be a democratic republic... We should try bring it back to that.
Which way do you want this country to go? Obama is not perfect, but at least he will try to resolve some of this mess, instead of increasing the tax breaks to the millionaires like Mc Cain will. He has some good ideas, and had enough sense to pick a running mate who is competent to run the country should God forbid something happen to him. He will try to make peace instead of war, and who knows, maybe the fact that his father is Muslim might persuade the Muslim world to at least hear him out. Yes, he needs to fire half his staff and get better staff... but he DOES have some good ideas, and we should be willing to give change a chance."

Last I heard, she described herself as a "hockey mom".
And just which God are you refering to?
Obama is easy to pick apart, support like this is even easier.
For one thing I always like to ask: Exactly what credentials did Gov. Bill Clinton have to occupy the White House? He was the governor of one of the smallest and most rural states in the nation and he was a lawyer. That pretty much covers it. I have been to Hope, Arkansas- some of my family come from the area, and I can tell you right now, they had one paved street (the main highway through town) all the way into the late 1970's.
As far as Obama's energy "policies" I seem to recall him mumbling something about increased use of alternatives to oil such as coal. Very good, how do you transport the coal (not counting the energy expended in mining it). Trucks or trains. What do they run on? Diesel fuel, and what is that made from? Oil...
The kind of "change" Obama is talking about is Socialism, a dead end street.

JA

 
At September 9, 2008 at 4:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then why does Obama NOT support gay marriage?"

Because he supports gay hookups and prefers the "down low". LOL!

 
At September 9, 2008 at 4:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama could be the best thing since sliced cheese but Americans would still put a white women in as president infront of a black man, you guys are racist. But it wont really matter McCain and Obama will keep your country in wars you cannot afford to be in for the next 20 to 25 years. Look where all your allies are going and why are they leaving? Lying Bush !

 
At September 9, 2008 at 4:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is one inexorable truth: We will get what we deserve in this country.

The Bush-McCain-Palin machine marks the total and complete triumph of public relations over policy. Bush's handling of the war was directed by PR above all. And now McCain's selection of Palin is a PR stunt, above all. This woman is not qualified to be president. But she is good-looking, reads a teleprompter well and never goes off script.

 
At September 9, 2008 at 5:18 PM , Blogger adam said...

What a fantastic joke all this is. The people are once again sucked into a pointless "choice" between two psychopaths. Solutions are vertical to the stupid game we call American Democracy. Our very roots of life are being consumed in trade for an abstract money, prestige in a disfunctional pyramid and experiences. I do not know why I am even writing this, but those who do read this, GET A GRIP!

 
At September 9, 2008 at 6:51 PM , Blogger Pugpals said...

This woman is not qualified to be president. But she is good-looking, reads a teleprompter well and never goes off script.
Well I must admit the very first thing I noticed was "wow..what a babe.." and even though I don't vote for either party I thought if I DID vote.... well...you get the idea

 
At September 9, 2008 at 7:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only losers of this election are the American people.
For they have not learned their lessons yet they still enable the crooks that have raped,looted and gutted America for years.
Both the DNC and the RNC,are the murderers of America,The American people their accomplices .

 
At September 9, 2008 at 11:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama went from anti war in the primary to pro war. Obama Bin Biden will go down because he is a NWO puppet fof Zbigniew Brezinsky. Obama is a communist marxist.

 
At September 10, 2008 at 2:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hussein Obama will not be the next president of the USA.

Of this, you can be sure.

And all you people who are rambling on about "change"?

If you REALLY wanted change you would have voted Libertarian long ago.

 
At September 10, 2008 at 4:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad all those idiots waving those flags didn't actually perform their appointed duty to protect what the thing stands for instead of selling us down the river. Storing the flags? That's the lamest lie I've heard since Rice tried blaming the Russians for Georgia attacking its own province. They wave those stupid little flags at their convention like the twits they are and then dump them in the garbage along with the ideals it stands for. Apropos.

 
At September 10, 2008 at 7:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all boils down to ... people are led by the nose by the 'bought and paid for' media. It doesn't matter which one wins, even though it was in the files for McCain to win; either one is not going to do the job that the US citizens want and need.

 
At September 10, 2008 at 9:58 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Anonymous people annoy me, why not sign at least a first name so any comments you make can be referred to?

Anyway, PR stunts or not, the Obama campaign with the whole lipstick thing just goes to show that the guy is self-imploding.

Damn, I wish the GOP had Thompson in there instead of McCain!

 
At September 10, 2008 at 1:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both "candidates", and I use that term lightly, work for the same man.

The vote was hacked, a long time ago. Neither "candidate" is valuable, nor does either candidate care for Americans, first.

We have been taken over by Israel.
Call it as it is.

The rest of your commentary is useless, as it continues the same old tired lame paradigm:

That this vote matters, or is valid. Both "candidates" are front men.

The only comment on any of these people is AT LEAST THIS FEMALE V/P "CANDIDATE" IS BETTER LOOKING THAN DICK CHENEY.

Other than that? Whoo cares?
It's too late for the USA.
We are screwed.

 
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