torsdag 21 augusti 2008

Back to Saddleback

Diskussionen i Saddleback Church i Kalifornien fortsätter att orsaka huvudbry bland bloggare; McCain - the underdog - som med nöd och näppe kanske skulle kunna hålla sig över ytan i alla fall så länge att den givna förlusten mot det uppkommande politiska underbarnet i november inte skulle framstå som totalt katastrofalt för Republikanernas del - vände situationen i Rick Warrens kyrka till det motsatta och leder nu i opinonsmätningarna. Obama har heller inte lyckats uppnå speciellt mycket alls de senaste månaderna, trots en ekonomisk fördel som vida övergår McCains, och som McCain pg a att denne valt att använda statligt begränsade kampanjspengar hellre än att lita på (bristande) privata donationer heller aldrig kommer att ens i teorin nå upp till.

Förändingen i opinonen har dock fått bloggare och skribenter att nu inte bara ge McCain beröm för sin insats i Saddleback, utan även ge Obama kritik. Så här skriver idag en kvinnlig artikelförfattare som stödde Obama i kampen mot Clinton, men nu - inte ångrar sig, men nästan:

What happened to Obama’s Midas touch? Was it overkill at Coronation Berlin? The tongue-tied orator this weekend uh-uh-uh-ing before the evangelicals at Saddleback Church, his stumbles replayed all over the Internet? I watched and felt - how could this be? - like I was watching a George Bush press conference, sweating it out and wondering, “Oh no! Doesn’t he know the answer to the question?”

I know. I’ve been an Obama cheerleader. I’m still trying to muster a respectful thumbs up. But let’s face it: The excitement during the primaries was Obama v. Hillary, not Obama alone. It was Obama vs. Hillary, and what’s loose-cannon Bad Boy Bill up to today? It was Obama, this completely unknown black guy, out-vaunting the vaunted Clinton machine. It was the audacity of his audacity, to steal The Messiah’s favorite word.

The only person who’d bring some excitement back is Hillary herself as veep.

I can’t say I have Obama remorse. Yet. But I’m nervous. How did he get so annoying? I wish he’d save nuance and sanctimony for senior seminars; give America some straight answers; crack some jokes at his own high-horse expense; convince me he’s up to this and soothe my furrowed, fretful brow.

That’s what McCain’s done lately. It’s working.

Och i en artikel i TIME skriver Joe Klein så här:

Heading into a crucial moment in this race—his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention—Obama was failing as a candidate in two crucial areas. He had failed to define his opponent, and he was failing, in all but the most amorphous ways, to define himself. He desperately needed to do unto McCain what McCain had done unto him: hammer his opponent in a sustained, thematic way—not just a few tossed-away lines in a stump speech. That shouldn't be too difficult. An argument can be made that McCain is trigger-happy overseas and out of touch at home.

But Obama seems not to have fully assimilated what should be the message of his campaign: It's the economy, egghead. The economy was almost entirely missing from his dialogue with Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church—and there were more than a few opportunities to insert it. When Warren braced him on abortion, Obama fumbled around, attempting to sound reasonable. He should have said straight out, "We're gonna disagree on this one. I respect your view on abortion, but I'm pro-choice ... And you know, Pastor Rick, Jesus never mentions abortion in the Bible. He did say, though, that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven. Now, that's a metaphor—but it's also good tax policy. Unlike John McCain, I want to make it easier for rich people to go to heaven."

The last question at the North Carolina town meeting came from a homeless veteran who said more than half of the 200 people living in his shelter were veterans too. Obama gave a solid, substantive answer. What he should have said was, "That's outrageous! Why don't we go over there right now—I'd like to thank them for their service and see what we can do to help." That sort of spontaneity—that sort of real passion—is what's missing from this candidacy. I suspect Obama will have a hard time winning unless he finds some of it.

Och i ännu en färsk artikel fortsätter man att påpeka Obamas nyupptäckta brister:

Is he ready to be president? Does he care enough about ordinary people to deliver for them?

John McCain used the summer well. The Republican raised enough doubt about Obama's judgment and ability to relate to average citizens to keep the two men close in the polls. One poll even puts McCain ahead by five points with likely voters. For McCain that is no small victory, given overwhelming voter discontent with the general direction of the country, and specifically with fellow Republican George W. Bush.

In July and August, the McCain campaign has worked hard at painting the picture Republicans want voters to see when they shake the sand out of their sandals and focus on the Democratic nominee.

It's a variation of the same theme Republicans always use against the opposition: Democrat as ultra-liberal, naive, tax-and-spend elitist. Obama will let Russia roll over Georgia just like he's letting the Clintons roll over him in Denver.

...hard as it is for some die-hard Democrats to imagine after the last eight years of the Bush-Cheney White House, Obama can still lose.

He can lose if the debate over the Iraq war boils down to the success of the surge versus the mistake of the invasion. He can lose if McCain goes unchallenged when equating withdrawal from Iraq with defeat.

He can lose if he lets McCain frame the energy debate as drill, drill, drill.

He can lose if he keeps responding to debate questions by saying the answer is "above my pay grade." He did that last week when asked by the Rev. Rick Warren to define the beginning of life, feeding the Republican script that Obama is not up to calling the shots in the Oval Office.

It's up to Obama now, as it was during primary season. He rode change and hope to the nomination. Then, he let the McCain campaign begin to redefine "change" from something the country instinctively desires to something it could fear. Obama has to remind voters what they don't like about the Bush administration, what they won't like about a McCain administration, and what they will like about his own.

Only Obama can sell Obama to the American people.

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