David Kirkpatrick

July 22, 2008

Obama and the media

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:32 pm

I can understand the McCain campaign’s frustration at the attention given to every move Obama makes. At the same time I seriously doubt McCain wants to crank up the scrutiny on his various missteps. All in all, both candidates are getting some seriously soft-glove treatment by the press.

McCain is in a tough spot. How do you compete with this?

Barack Obama strode onto the world stage on Tuesday with trademark audacity, or as his political enemies would have it, a dearth of humility, in the symbolic shadow of Jordan’s Temple of Hercules. As he tries to convince Americans he will keep them safe, the White House hopeful held his first major press conference abroad as presumptive Democratic nominee near ancient Roman ruins and a shrine to the mighty Greek mythic hero.

Overlooking sun-bleached homes and minarets of the Jordanian capital, Obama spoke about his stealth mission to Iraq, against a backdrop seemingly chosen to suggest a young dynamic potential president, at home and abroad.

It was another example of the Obama campaign’s flair for political imagery, and a world away from frigid icebound Iowa, or hard-knocks schools in rustbelt towns in Ohio where presidential candidates usually hang out.

After knocking the dust of Iraq off his boots, Obama swapped his khakis and flak jacket for a suit and red tie.

Even worse, he was thrown under the bus by Jonah Goldberg, GOP party hack:

Within months of the invasion, McCain was calling for more troops and the head of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Later, when the Iraqi civil war erupted, Al Qaeda in Iraq metastasized and the Iranians mounted a clandestine surge all their own, McCain doubled-down; he argued that we couldn’t afford to lose and proposed a revised counterinsurgency strategy for victory. That was the same very month that Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007.”

That’s all great stuff for McCain’s biographers. But the tragic Catch-22 for the Arizona senator is that the more the surge succeeds, the more politically advantageous it is for Obama.

Voters don’t care about the surge; they care about the war. Americans want it to be over — and in a way they can be proud of.

When this is the best you get from the bought and paid for set, there is no base. The problems facing McCain include the Christianists don’t like him, fiscal conservatives don’t trust him and Reagan Republicans understand that he’s not one of them. There’s not much left of that stool once you subtract all that core support.

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