Thursday, September 4, 2008

Big Trouble - Update

What made Barack Obama a star? It wasn’t his accomplishments. It was his speeches – specifically, one of them, the keynote at the 2004 Democratic convention. His cool, casual, intellectual sexuality was perfectly calibrated for the creative class Millenials. And because he pulled in one other large demographic – African-Americans – he was able to build a coalition that was almost enough to win the Democratic Party nomination. (The Hillary-haters and the DNC did the rest.)

What may have made Sarah Palin a star? Again, not her accomplishments. It may well be the same thing as for Obama – a speech, delivered tonight at the 2008 Republican convention. Palin’s smart, small-town irony and grounded confidence seem perfectly calibrated for Middle American Millenials. (It also doesn't hurt that she was pre-vilified by the MSM and the misogynist blogger boyz. Sets the charm-us bar nice and low, and predisposes many to take her side.) Of course, her far-right views have already won her the wingnuts – so the ticket can probably afford to run a non-ideological campaign, taking the Right for granted. And because she can at least make inroads into one other large demographic – Independent women – she may be able to attract a coalition large enough to help John McCain become President of the United States.

This comparison was prompted by another element of the political jujitsu of Palin’s selection that I hadn’t appreciated until tonight. They’re running Sarah Palin not against Joe Biden – he was barely mentioned – but against Barack Obama. They want people to draw that comparison. They want it in part because they think more people will simply like her better than they like him. But even more, I suspect, the simple fact of the comparison diminishes Obama, and locates McCain above them both, on some other plane of service and readiness.

None of this had to be. Indeed, the fact that we’re in this situation – with the Democratic ticket facing serious trouble in an overwhelming Democratic year – is a train wreck that remains astonishing, even as we watch it occur in slow motion. It happened because the leadership of the Democratic Party abnegated its responsibilities in two crucial respects. First, it put its thumb on the scales in favor of the weaker candidate, the one who posed less of a challenge to its putative leaders’ self-image. Second, it stood by and permitted vicious hatred to taint the Party, without uttering a peep or doing a thing to protect the brand of the institution, of which these people were, after all, the stewards.

Those two things not only left us with a weak candidate. They opened a hole in the side of the election wide enough to drive a Hummer through. Well, we’ve just seen what that Hummer looks like. It drives pretty damn smooth.

Update: Taylor Marsh gets it -- and just how desperate we are is evident in the solution she's proposing: namely, that Joe Biden has to take Palin out "or we will get beat." Uh, Joe Biden? Mr. Uncontrolled Motormouth? The guy who couldn't attract any votes away from Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich or Bill Richardson, much less Obama or Hillary? This is a Hail-Mary pass if ever I saw one... and it's sort of breathtaking that we're the ones suddenly in the position of having to toss one.


David Berger said...

I've been waiting to read your analysis. I can't argue with a word you said.

And Harry Reid plays right into type by describing her speech as "shrill." I'm surprised he didn't add "hysterical."

Fascinating stuff. The Obamabots are obsessed with Palin, because she personifies all that is hollow with their standard-bearer. Jujitsu indeed.

And, as others have pointed out, doesn't Obama's "triumphant" speech at Invesco suddenly seem like from another campaign?

The Obamabots wanted a presidential campaign that played like something from a reality show. And now they have it.

bmcs said...

You had me until you mentioned Taylor Marsh. Could there be a person more predisposed to NOT "get it?" I don't think so. Taylor Marsh thought it was appropriate to dismiss and insult those Democrats who were trying to tell the DNC that they'd made a huge mistake not putting Sen. Clinton on the ticket--she should be at the top of the ticket, but whatever--and Marsh thought that by trivializing Clinton supporters, she would actually FORCE Democrats to "sit down, shut up, and get with the unity pony." When Democrats disenfranchise Democrats, trust me, there should be no "unity" in this party. That is what has occurred, and a big chunk of Democrats aren't going to stand for it. Especially when stupid people like Marsh, Brazile, Dean, Pelosi and Reid keep making blunders that would make Bush blush--and he doesn't blush at anything. We told you so, Taylor.