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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

going personal

Obama has decided to ‘take the gloves off’ and ‘go personal’ on McCain, we are told today. As someone pointed out, Obama must have had pretty cold hands, as he seems to have taken his gloves off a few times already. It seems that Obama’s attack will take the form of an ad mocking McCain as an old man who doesn’t understand the internet.

Here’s why it won’t work.

The Dems believe that it was the McCain team which brought the race down from the heady, pure, Olympian heights of statesmanship that Obama had graced the world stage with. They believe that by painting Obama as a celebrity and by mocking his campaign rhetoic as messianic the GOP ‘went personal’.

Now, this isn’t really true. Both those GOP charges were about who Obama was as a politician. The charge was that he represented style over substance. Mocking McCain as an out of touch old man is a little different. McCain’s lack of familiarity with the internet is very common among people of his generation, and they vote; in large numbers. It is not something about McCain’s political position, about his campaigning strategy, his policy or even his personal character. It is about being old. That comes across as nasty, and as an implied criticism of all old people.

This is a problem the Obama Democrats have. Because they actually are a bunck of arrogant elitists who think that people who disagree with them are stuck in the past, or are hicks, rednecks and rambo-wannabees, they frequently say such things. It’s pretty hard to win an election when you insult the voters.

This kind of attack is on a very personal level. It is similar to the attacks on Palin which have backfired so spectacularly. My girlfriend was complaining to me the other day that Obama supporters were so entrenched in their views and so extreme that she felt intimidated. She didn’t feel as if she, as someone who is not a conservative, and in fact almost certainly on the liberal side of the spectrum, was respected at all. She felt Obama supporters were arrogant and dismissive of anyone who disagreed with them even slightly. I was trying to console her with the fact that if she was feeling that way, so were a lot of others, and that elections are about votes, not who shouts the loudest or has the most signs. One thing she said to me was ‘I’m not a conservative, but I know when someone is just being nasty’.

Obama has tried to describe this attack (and presumably others will follow also) as being a response to Republican nastiness. However, as the polls show – not only the voting intentions, which are trending to McCain, but also polling on the widespread belief that the media was unfair in its attacks on Palin and actively trying to elect Obama – the public aren’t buying it. Only Obama supporters believe their candidate is the victim here.

I think this brings up the central problem of the Democratic campaign. They haven’t been playing to the centre – because they’re not in the centre. What I mean is, Obama represents the left of the party, and his staff and supporters have that insurrectionist mindset that goes along with being on the fringes. If you are on the extreme wing of a movement, you view even the moderates as deluded, or as a part of the problem. However, to win elections you need to persuade those moderates to vote for you, at the very least. After you have them in the bag, you need to get some of the moderates on the other side to vote for you. The Obama campaign took their big leads a few months ago as the sign this basic political truth no longer obtained. This is a sign of arrogance, and explains the weird revolutionary undertones of the early campaign rhetoric.

The situation is, that the attacks from Obama and his sympathisers on Palin have been seen as personal, sexist, unwarranted and nasty. And now Obama is starting to take the same approach against McCain. Not only is this to compound the recent impression he has given of being unpleasant, but McCain is personally well-liked amongst moderates and Democrats – because he is a moderate. This is a doubly stupid decision by Obama. And to wrap it up in complaints of ‘he started it’ just isn’t going to wash.

I have previously said that the attempt to link McCain to Bush was dubious, as if there is one thing the whole world knows about McCain it is that he is extremely controversial amongst Republicans, particularly the Bush-supporting social conservatives. The only people listening to such a comparison are the people on the left of the Democratic party who think all Republicans are essentially the same. Similarly, the only people who will buy the obvious falsehood that McCain started the personal attacks are committed Obama supporters. Because they are arrogant elitists on the left of their party, the Obama team aren’t playing to the centrists. It seems increasingly likely they will lose, and lose by some margin.

UPDATE: McCain can hardly type because of his war injuries. So Obama just insulted all senior citizens in the USA and the injuries a Vietnam War veteran received while being tortured. Great move, Spassky.

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thickism? or racism?

Perhaps out of sympathy for the loss of his mother in a tragic hunting accident, Barack Obambi hasn’t attracted the level of scorn for his verbal gaffes as Bush the Younger did. Obama seemed to be under the impression there were 57 states in the USA a few weeks back, a mistake that would have brought hoots of derision at the Republican, but which was put down to tiredness on the part of the young buck, who’s not used to being up so late.

Interestingly, it turned out in 2005 that Kerry’s grade average at Yale – 66 (C) – was two points lower than the legendarily retarded ‘W’. Legends can’t always be trusted!

Over at Reason magazine, the Libertarian VP candidate Wayne Allen Root asks why Obama’s grades from Columbia University haven’t been released.  According to Root, an A-/B+ average wasn’t enough to get him, scion of a poor family, into Harvard law school. Root asks if Obama’s grades were superior to his, or if there was any other reason Obama got a place at such a prestigious institution in a country his associates consider racist.

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