Where’s the Obama MoJo….
Andrew Malcolm wonders where the Obama mojo is and, after reciting all of the reasons why he should be way ahead, finally stumbles on the root cause of doubt amongst much of the electorate:
Obama’s…a legislator who’s been in Washington three years now, two of them as a member of a Democratic-controlled Congress that was elected in 2006 with great promise but currently holds historically low favorability ratings.
What’s Obama done for D.C. change since arriving? What’s Obama done for reform back home within the historically monolithic and corrupt Chicago Democratic machine, where some up-and-comers are sent off to Congress for seasoning before advancing to the big-time of City Council?
The mojo is also being damaged by the McCain campaign’s latest tactics, which appear to be gaining traction:
It wasn’t until the last week, however, that the narrative of Obama as a president-in-waiting — and perhaps getting impatient in that waiting — began reverberating beyond the inboxes of Washington operatives and journalists.
Perhaps one of the clearest indications emerged Tuesday from the world of late-night comedy, when David Letterman offered his “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident.” The examples included Obama proposing to change the name of Oklahoma to “Oklobama” and measuring his head for Mount Rushmore.
“When Letterman is doing ‘Top Ten’ lists about something, it has officially entered the public consciousness,” said Dan Schnur, a political analyst from the University of Southern California and the communications director in John McCain’s 2000 campaign. “And it usually stays there for a long, long time.”
Following a nine-day, eight-country tour that carried the ambition and stagecraft of a presidential state visit, Obama has found himself in an unusual position: the butt of jokes.
Jon Stewart teased that the presumptive Democratic nominee traveled to Israel to visit his birthplace at Bethlehem’s Manger Square. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd amplified the McCain campaign’s private nickname for Obama (“The One”).
And the snickers about Obama’s perceived smugness may have a very real political impact as McCain’s camp launched its most forceful effort yet to define him negatively. It released a TV ad Wednesday describing Obama as the “biggest celebrity in the world,” comparable to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, stars who are famous for attitude rather than accomplishments.
The harsher treatment from comedians and columnists — coupled with the shift by McCain from attacking on policy to character issues — underscores the fine line that Obama is walking between confident and cocky. Once at pains to present himself as presidential, Obama now faces criticism for doing it too well….
Obama and his supporters dismissed the line of attack as the latest desperate missive from a foundering Republican campaign.
Bloggers at the Huffington Post launched a backlash to the backlash against Obama’s overseas trip, arguing in part that he wouldn’t face such criticism of acting premature if he were white.
And there it is. As Glenn Reynolds has been observing, “…have you noticed that it’s always Obama who’s actually injecting race into the campaign, under the guise of warning about what those Evil Republicans will do?” And his supporters take their cue from him, as the above from the HuffPo illustrates. Reynolds provided a couple recent examples and I’ve added a couple more:
“So what they are going to do is make you scared of me. You know he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like those other presidents on the dollar bills.” ~ Barack Obama
“I know that I don’t look like the other Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city.” ~ Barack Obama
“I note with interest today, John McCain’s new tactic of associating Barack Obama with oversexed and/or promiscuous young white women.” ~ Josh Marshall, TPM
Jake Tapper own observations support Reynold’s:
There’s a lot of racist xenophobic crap out there. But not only has McCain not peddled any of it, he’s condemned it.
Back in February, McCain apologized for some questionable comments made by a local radio host. In April, he condemned the North Carolina Republican Party’s ad featuring images of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
With one possible exception, I’ve never seen McCain or those under his control playing the race card or making fun of Obama’s name — or even mentioning Obama’s full name, for that matter!
I’ve seen racism in campaigns before — I’ve seen it against Obama in this campaign (more from Democrats than Republicans, at this point, I might add) and I’ve seen it against McCain in South Carolina in 2000….What I have not seen is it come from McCain or his campaign in such a way to merit the language Obama used today. Pretty inflammatory.
Actually, it’s altogether unsurprising: Obama’s done it before.