CAMPAIGN 08 OPINION & EDITOR’S COMMENT: Obama’s fight

Confronting the kitchen sink

Political campaigns are not about fairness, but they can often be about vision. Voters want more from Senator Obama.

He may not be able to close the deal with, say, working-class whites, but he more than anyone else has the eloquence to try and make a compelling case. He should go for it.

We have seen election after election in which candidates have won by fanning the anxieties of voters. Elect me, or something terrible will happen to you!

That is now the Clinton mantra, which is a measure of how grim our politics have become. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — There’s a false dichotomy being created between the Obamian high road and the Clintonian knife fight. Obama does need to fight, but pushing for tax returns isn’t going to work. This is a contest between two visions of the presidency. Hillary presents herself as the champion-solutions-fighter, but it’s a false bill of goods. Sure, she’s demonstrating her willingness to fight, but that’s not the same as being able to win. She fought for health care when she had the privilege of being First Lady, and she lost. She came into the primaries way ahead in the polls yet still suffered a string of defeats. She may right now be enjoying a tactical advantage but when it comes to displaying organizational and strategic mastery, if the Clinton campaign itself foretells the nature of a Clinton presidency – makeshift, discordant, reactive and uninspired – we’re in for trouble.

Obama on the other hand need go no further than present his own campaign as a model for his ability to craft and steer an organization. It’s been knocked off course recently and he needs to do a better job of showing that he can steer it back and do so without kowtowing to the Clinton campaign’s rebukes – dumping Samantha Power was a big mistake – but make the campaign the focus of the campaign by holding it up as a blueprint of the presidency and then go back to that red phone question. Who does America want to take the call? A defensive curmudgeon, a presidential poseur, or someone who’s relative inexperience is amply counterbalanced with sound judgment, a cool temperament, and a passion to lead by raising up the country rather than a passion for trying to destroy his opponents?

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Comments

  1. After writing a screen’s worth about how useful it would be if Obama would engage the Clintons in a knife fight and carve them up for prime time, I’m now at liberty to say that I’d rather he do it your way.