In his latest op-ed piece, he stays consistent with his usual format and comes right out to say what many of us already know. Of particular interest to him is the media-driven (and in some ways, self-created) image of Candidate Barack Obama, as a non-partisan uniter that wants to reform Washington:
Perhaps in response to criticisms that have been building in recent days, Mr. Obama pivoted Tuesday from his usual incantations. He dropped the pretense of being a candidate of inspiring but undescribed "post-partisan" change. Until now, Mr. Obama has been making appeals to the center, saying, for example, that we are not red or blue states, but the United States. But in his Houston speech, he used the opportunity of 45 (long) minutes on national TV to advocate a distinctly non-centrist, even proudly left-wing, agenda. By doing so, he opened himself to new and damaging contrasts and lines of criticism.
Mr. McCain can now question Mr. Obama's promise to change Washington by working across party lines. Mr. Obama hasn't worked across party lines since coming to town. Was he a member of the "Gang of 14" that tried to find common ground between the parties on judicial nominations? Was Mr. Obama part of the bipartisan leadership that tackled other thorny issues like energy, immigration or terrorist surveillance legislation? No. Mr. Obama has been one of the most dependably partisan votes in the Senate.
Until this week, Obama's rhetoric has been focused on reuniting the country, by changing the way business is done in Washington. If that is truly the objective here, one must wonder how this will get done knowing that his resume is so weak. In Washington, favors beget favors and without a lot of them banked in his account, it won't be in his favor.
When there have been opportunities to create good will across the aisle during his senate career, Obama was nowhere to be found -- as Rove further states in his essay. In the area of special interests, he also notes:
Mr. McCain gets a chance to question Mr. Obama's declaration he won't be beholden to lobbyists and special interests. After Mr. Obama's laundry list of agenda items on Tuesday night, Mr. McCain can ask why, if Mr. Obama rejects the influence of lobbyists, has he not broken with any lobbyists from the left fringe of the Democratic Party? Why is he doing their bidding on a range of issues? Perhaps because he occupies the same liberal territory as they do.
The truth is that Mr. Obama is unwilling to challenge special interests if they represent the financial and political muscle of the Democratic left. He says yes to the lobbyists of the AFL-CIO when they demand card-check legislation to take away the right of workers to have a secret ballot in unionization efforts, or when they oppose trade deals. He won't break with trial lawyers, even when they demand the ability to sue telecom companies that make it possible for intelligence agencies to intercept communications between terrorists abroad. And he is now going out of his way to proclaim fidelity to the educational unions. This is a disappointment since he'd earlier indicated an openness to education reform. Mr. Obama backs their agenda down the line, even calling for an end to testing, which is the only way parents can know with confidence whether their children are learning and their schools working.
The past two elections have featured a challenge from Democratic candidates that espouse an affinity for a far-left agenda. Al Gore (and his overzealousness for an unproven theory) and John Kerry (who up to that time had the most liberal voting record in the Senate) were rejected for their messages. What makes Democrats believe that the American people want another referendum on this, is way beyond me.
But here's the clincher.
We expect this kind of analysis from Karl Rove. It's nothing new.
But what when we have liberal journalists like Margaret Carlson sounding concerned about the lack of experience, one must consider there is something to this. By reading her latest, we can see that not all is wine and roses, even in the liberal leaning MSM camp.
I am not sure she has convinced me to believe that the media's love affair with Mr. Obama has come to a complete end. And I won't, until I see him challenged on important issues. Yet, there's a sound of regret and concern that hasn't been sounded much, because Mr. Obama's sudden popularity and success beating a machine candidate from his own party has become the story.
As you may surmise from this, this has fed very well into the Obama campaign (and maybe even Obama, himself).
Up until now, he has laid a foundation that is not as easy to criticize, in that, most people want to see Washington change (except for those that benefit directly from it). Most people want to be a nation united, once again. And who wants to go around life thinking there is no hope for a vision of the future? His speeches (carefully crafted) have been enough to carry him over a candidate that is pretty much in line with his way of thinking, whose only differences are his charisma and charm and her lack thereof.
I suspect that when we get to see what Obama really stands for, we will all know that there isn't a dime's bit of difference between him and his other Democratic opponent, except for experience. And with the likability factor being such a strong issue, even left leaning journalists have to cringe at the notion of a Democratic candidate who relies heavily on personality and image, leading the way into the general election.
From the Carlson piece (about Paul Krugman, noted NYT liberal columnist):
Paul Krugman, also of the Times, fearing he'd been too subtle in his criticism of Obama, went ballistic over the Illinois senator's rhetoric. ``I won't try for fake evenhandedness here,'' he wrote. The Obama campaign is ``dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.''
How poignant is that? It's not often I agree Mr. Krugman , but this hits it square in the bullseye.
While Obama wins the beauty contests that have been set before him, I think it is becoming more and more apparent that buyer's remorse may be starting to set in. Personality alone cannot win this election. George Bush (either one) did not win on personality, and neither will Obama. And when the hard questions are asked, it is becoming more likely that the wave Obama has been riding will come crashing down on him, in a sea of empty politics.
Of all of the things that I can say here and of all of the things the concerned punditry can say in their forums, the most poignant of all comes from someone you would least likely see linked to here, Roseanne Barr. In her 2-21-08 post, she says it well enough for the GOP to use her words in the general election. And you can bet they will. But even more directly, in her 2-23-08 post, she says this:
If you do not vote for Hillary Clinton, John Mccain will be your next president. Barack Obama's slide out of favor is just beginning in the media, and it couldn't have been more expertly timed.
I couldn't agree more, Roseanne.