Friday, August 29, 2008
What He Said
I am a reader of Jonah Goldberg's sometimes, but alas I cannot take credit for this.
My only quibble is that McCain's head-fake consideration of a pro-choice running mate was emphatically not any kind of brilliant tactical move. But in the main, the reader is exactly correct to point out that the developments in this campaign over the last six weeks or so have boxed Obama into a place where he doesn't want to be.
In fact, I think he understates the case. The driving force behind Obama has always been an attempt at a particular form of social intimidation, especially toward the Republicans. "Vote for me if you want any hope of being one of the kewl kids." The mockery behind McCain's ads, and the actions of the Obama campaign toward them, have shown that that particular emperor has no clothes. Now that particular balloon has been punctured, it's not going to get blown up again.
More than that, this isn't 1996 any more, and this election won't be dominated as much by aesthetic concerns. The voters aren't going to care who's tight with the kewl kids if there's somebody out there offering real answers for energy, inflation, or the credit crunch. Like I mentioned before, Barack Obama is six months behind that curve. He's in a bigger hole than he can get out of with one speech.
At this point Obama is just about stuck. Even if he were to pivot toward an hard-hitting issue-based campaign, he's abused the attention of the American people long enough to where I don't think enough people will listen. The one thing that he can do is throw some weight around with the Democrats in Congress when they return to session before the election. Frankly I don't think he has the stomach for it.