docweasel’s experience as a crime reporter, would certainly be good experience for covering the criminals who infest the political world, and yes, that’s weak, but we’re too tired and lazy to make a new image to fit in with this post, so here’s your thinly associated comic book cover we did 3 years ago — cllck to embiggen
The more the leftwingnuts whinge, the surer you can be that Obama took some serious damage tonight, on top of the Wright Stuff and BitterCling blood loss. And there’s a new article by a Democrat trendster saying Obama will certainly get an clutch cargo classic ass-whoopin’ this fall, the question is by how much?
By all accounts, Obama sucked at tonight’s debate. Righties like Marc Ambinder point out that yeah, the questions were rough and more on the personal level than on policy, but that the personal is at least as important as the policy stuff.
A president is a politician, first and foremost, not a policy wonk. He has people for that. The president has to have the political skills to get the public behind his policy, and the skills to manipulate, stroke and threaten the Congress into acting on it. If he can’t handle questions from news reporters, how is he going to handle foreign leaders during negotiations?
Mickey Kaus agrees:
…I thought Obama got the worse of it in the debate. He was on the defensive, and non-inspiring. Hillary was fairly palatable,** despite a few rough moments. … I have no criticism of Gibson or Stephanopoulos. A relentless focus on negative character attacks can be revealing–and it was. That’s especially true in this campaign, where the actual policy differences between the candidates have been small and often tedious. …
The usual lefty suspects, national and parochial, are whining like six month old baby girls over the harsh treatment Obama got tonight, and the relative leniency enjoyed by Clinton. Especially delicious is the impotent hissy fit thrown by the likes of assholes like Atrios, who has post after post sulking about the fact there were no “hard policy ” questions for 27, 37, 47 minutes. His solution? Flood the switchboards with complaints! That’ll learn ’em! Sometimes lefties are so cute and stupid!!
So fucking what? Have we not had dozens of debates examining policy to the Nth detail? He’s just pissed Obama didn’t get a pass and a chance to rattle off rehearsed talking points instead of having to face hard, confrontational attacks by reporters who weren’t letting Obama off the hook, for once in his over-privileged life.
And by all accounts, Obama did poorly. Which is why the likes of Atrios are wetting their panties. If Obama had deftly swatted down Sean Hannity’s question about home-grown terrorist Weatherman William Ayers, Atrios would be cheering. But since Obama continues to prove himself not ready for prime time, the leftwingnuts are crying foul and complaining that the media aren’t fair! Its not fair! Its not fair! The media aren’t being fair to our candidate! Wahhhhhhhh!
But let’s get down to it: the reason the nutroots are flipping out is that its becoming increasingly apparent that not only are the Dems not going to walk to a win in November, not only are they going to get beat (as Hillary probably would have been, had everything gone according to script), Obama is probably going to lose badly. He may lose 10 or more states that Gore won and Kerry held, and he may get less than the magical 45%, a number that is nearly guaranteed in our 51-49% country as rock bottom.
John Judis, erstwhile co-author of the Coming Democrat Majority (that was before the 2002 midterms and the 2004 Kerry fiasco, both Democrat bloodbaths) has a new article spelling out exactly how and how badly Obama’s asskicking is going to be, and the leftwingnuts aren’t loving it, but they know he’s right.
Obama does have an astounding eloquence, and an ability to put a position across, but that eloquence has been reserved largely for anti-war and good-government positions. His stance against the war may resonate (though that will depend on whether McCain’s qualification as commander-in-chief trumps his unpopular stance on the war). But where McCain is most vulnerable and where voters are most likely to smile on a Democrat–on everyday economic issues–Obama’s heart doesn’t appear to be in it.
These difficulties were clear before Obama spoke in San Francisco, but they’re much more glaring now. In the speech, Obama appeared to say that Pennsylvania voters’ opposition to gun control or abortion or immigration or free trade was pathological–a product of what Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse once called “false consciousness.” On the other hand, he implied that when he voiced opposition to an issue like free trade–Obama has consistently hammered Clinton on her support for the North American Free Trade Agreement–he was simply pandering to these voters’ displaced anxieties. He was saying to these upscale San Francisco Democrats, “I am really one of you, and I am not one of them.”
There is even a slight chance that Obama’s words in San Francisco could cost him the nomination. Obama is almost certain to have more elected delegates in June than Hillary Clinton, but if he loses Pennsylvania by 15 percentage points (which is not out of the question), that could start a media firestorm around his candidacy that could contribute to other primary defeats and to superdelegate support for Clinton. It’s not likely to happen, but after Obama spoke his mind, and, perhaps, lost small-town voters’ hearts, in San Francisco, it has suddenly become conceivable.
“The United States of America are on the brink of a major revolution. I am not talking about some fuzzy “internet revolution” or similar hogwash but the real McCoy.
I mean armed uprising, riots, civil war. The full Monty.
I know, I know, you are going to say that this is impossible, no way, I am being pessimistic etc.
…This is outrageous but not surprising as the ckickens are coming home to roost and after exploiting pretty much the whole globe and now facing stiff competion of other players like China, India, and Brazil, the US corporations have resorted to the last market they have not sucked dry until recently: the American Homeland.
The people are understandably outraged and demand action (Welcome to the club. Do you now understand why all over the world American flags have been burned?). In previous elections it was easy to distract, you only had to find a big enough gotcha or push enough buttons to distract from a pressing issue. However, this time there are not enough buttons to push and by panically pushing ALL buttons hard and often this tool is being overused and backfires.
…This election, and the way an Obama administration is going to perform, is the crossroads for the American Nation. Either reform or revolution. The powers to be are not going to cede their powers voluntarily. They never do. If Obama fails, there will be someone else and there is no guarantee that this is not going to be someone like Lenin, or worse, Hitler.
Hilarious! I thought Dubya was worse than Hitler, though? So that would be a step up?
The Hillary supporters agree that Obama lost ground and looked bad, and their residual support for the Democrat brand does nudge them to protest against ABC’s meanness to Obama, but they also point out NBC’s relentless cheerleading for Obama kind of negates everyone’s point.
One of the other luscious ironies of this entire season of internecine stabbiness is the fall of Keith Olbermann in the eyes of at least half the nutroots, the half that doesn’t lick Obama’s nutsack daily.
TalkLeft’s Big Tent Democrat: “The biggest joke of the night is to watch Keith Olbermann of NBC say this debate was some travesty, which it was, as if NBC did not run the most offensive, most ridiculous, most unfair debates ever held. There is no doubt that the ABC debate tonight was horrendous and extremely unfair to Obama. There is no doubt that NBC’s debates were all worse. […] Surprisingly, for the first time, it was Obama who got the bad treatment tonight. Really bad. But no worse than Clinton got in every NBC debate.”
…and it’s clear this is Obama’s worst performance of the entire campaign, and judging from the pained expression on his face, he knows it.
Early pulse-taking from Obama-centric blogs and bloggers indicates that Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos are in for a world of hurt over the next couple of days. Expect thumb-sucking pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post about whether the debate questions were “fair.”
…as does Chuck Todd:
This was not a good debate for Obama, period. But it wasn’t a great debate for Clinton either. Of course, that may not matter to Team Clinton. In a twp-way debate, it’s not about which candidate narrowly wins — but which candidate gets pummeled in the post-debate reviews. And Obama will get pummeled because well he did get pummeled, a little bit by Clinton and a little bit by the moderators.
In the first 40 minutes of the debate, most of the questioning was on Obama’s negatives (except for a lone Bosnia-sniper question to Clinton) and that’s what helped create what was a near disastrous performance by Obama in those first 40 minutes. He was weak in a lot of his answers on his personal negatives.
Many news organizations will feel compelled to do Ayers stories in the next few days. While some may question the fairness and relevancy of the Ayers issue, it’s not going to be good for Obama.
This debate is going to lead a lot of Obama supporters to ratchet up the calls on Clinton to either withdraw or tone down the attacks. Clinton supporters will point to this debate as proof that he’s not yet ready for the general, that’s why she should stay in, and that’s why superdelegates should overturn the winner of pledged delegates.
Overall, with the spotlight on him very bright, Obama didn’t step up. He got rattled early on and never picked his game back up.
A big Clinton victory and this debate will be seen as an important turning point, a narrow victory (less than five points) and she could find herself facing more calls to get out.
Could tonight’s true winner be John McCain? We’re betting that’s the unanimous pundit scoring tonight
and David Brooks:
First, Democrats, and especially Obama supporters, are going to jump all over ABC for the choice of topics: too many gaffe questions, not enough policy questions.
I understand the complaints, but I thought the questions were excellent. The journalist’s job is to make politicians uncomfortable, to explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities. Almost every question tonight did that. The candidates each looked foolish at times, but that’s their own fault.
We may not like it, but issues like Jeremiah Wright, flag lapels and the Tuzla airport will be important in the fall. Remember how George H.W. Bush toured flag factories to expose Michael Dukakis. It’s legitimate to see how the candidates will respond to these sorts of symbolic issues.
The middle section of the debate, meanwhile, was stupendous.
The Democrats have a problem. All the signs point to a big Democratic year, and I still wouldn’t bet against Obama winning the White House, but his background as a Hyde Park liberal is going to continue to dog him. No issue is crushing on its own, but it all adds up. For the life of me I can’t figure out why he didn’t have better answers on Wright and on the “bitter” comments. The superdelegates cannot have been comforted by his performance.
Final grades: ABC: A / Clinton: B / Obama: D+
This shit just kicks all kinds of ass.