Damage done, By Doug Thompson

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It’s Monday as I write this. The Texas and Ohio Democratic primaries will be over by the time anybody reads it. Either Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid will be finished or Sen. Barack Obama will be very annoyed.
So let’s take a look at a something that’s changed monumentally, whoever wins.
Obama has leveled the field for the Republicans more than any Republican ever could.
I’ve just read the latest by the very liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Conservatives who hate the Times and liberals who support Obama should read “Deliverance or Diversion?” So should everyone in between. Here are key passages:
“[O]ne might have expected the central theme of the Democratic campaign to be ‘throw the bums out.’ But a funny thing happened on the way to the 2008 election. … Mr. Obama, instead of emphasizing the harm done by the other party’s rule, likes to blame both sides for our sorry political state. And in his speeches he promises not a rejection of Republicanism but an era of post-partisan unity.”
That statement — so simple, so obvious — is insightful. The rest of the column is almost that good.
The rest of this column, the one you’re still reading, consists of my own thoughts, and should not be blamed on Krugman.
Obama has given the Democratic Party a full measure of the blame for the mess we’re in. He blames Iraq and everything else on failed policies of the past. That past conspicuously includes the Bill Clinton administration.
The “failed policies of the past” also includes the recent Democratic majority in Congress.
Granted, Obama follows the dictates of what’s political necessity for him. He is running against Clinton’s wife. Arguing that times were good before Bush the Lesser was elected is an argument for Hillary.
Still, there’s a cost. It’s considerable. It will be paid — by whomever wins the Democratic nomination.
Michelle Obama, the candidate’s wife, was never really proud of her country during the entire Clinton administration, and said so. The candidate himself says everybody failed before he showed up.
This new outlook is not particularly helpful to Democrats running for Congress, either, although they should still sweep.
Now, Obama is one particularly limber fellow. He can change his story faster than an Indy 500 pit crew can change a tire. So why not go onto the attack once he gets the nomination? His fans seem willing to follow him anywhere.
Fans alone won’t get him elected, and because the guy’s building up a record of double talk.
Note his strong anti-NAFTA rhetoric, followed by a trip by a senior economic adviser to the Canadian consulate in Chicago.
Suppose you don’t believe the Canadian memo about the meeting, the one that says top Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee told the Canadians that the candidate’s remarks were just rhetoric to win Ohio and not to worry about it.
Begs the question of why Goolsbee went to the consulate, doesn’t it?
If somebody cussed me out all week, then left his greeting card with “Sorry I missed you” on my desk Monday morning, I might wonder about his motives and his honesty. Whether I had a memo or not wouldn’t matter.
I’m not the only voter who remembers that Obama went to bed one night saying he’d talk with our enemies, and then woke up willing to bomb an ally, too.
And don’t give me the “Hillary is worse” line. I have no doubt that if she loses Texas but wins Ohio, she’ll say something to the effect of “He said that. I didn’t.” I’m referring, of course, to Bill Clinton’s remark that she has to win Texas and Ohio to stay in the race.
We’re not talking about Hillary. We’re talking about whether Obama is some new type of candidate leading us into an enlightened new age. Frankly, folks, he tells people what they want to hear and that’s the oldest political trick in the book.
On another point, Obama’s greatest strength is not his ability to bring new voters to the elections or whip up a crowd. His greatest strength, by far, is his ability to sway campaign contributors.
He’s impressive in an arena, but he must be a wonder in a banquet hall.

One Comment

ConcealedWeapon March 6, 2008 at 9:43 am

In this time when the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is the cohort of wealthy who call the shots, Obama will be an attractive “third party” candidate.

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