Monday, November 12, 2007

Obama, Hot and Cold

On Meet the Press yesterday, Barack Obama seemed tentative, defensive and, of all things, wishy-washy. No one could have guessed that the night before, at the Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson dinner, he brought down the house.

"The passion he showed," political columnist David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register wrote, "should help him close the gap on Hillary Clinton...His oratory was moving, and he successfully contrasted himself with the others--especially Clinton--without being snide or nasty about it."

"When I am the nominee of this party," Obama told Democrats, "the Republican nominee will not be able to say I voted for the war in Iraq, or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran, or that I support Bush-Cheney policies of not talking to leaders that we don't like...I don't want to spend the next year or the next four years re-fighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s...I don't want to pit red America against blue America."

He was the last to speak at 11 o'clock after four hours of oratory by others and apparently wowed the crowd, but the next morning with Tim Russert, he was defensively answering questions with "Look,..."

Walter Shapiro in Salon puts it just right: "The fiery Obama of Saturday night had been replaced on Sunday morning by a replicant, a tepid candidate mostly concerned with avoiding mistakes rather than winning converts."

It's getting to be too late in the campaign to be blowing hot and cold. Will the real Obama stand up and stop taking time for a nap on national TV?


Anonymous said...

I had the oppostie impression of Obama's performande.
Despite Russet's habit of substituing 'gotcha' tactics for hard qustions, Obama answered using good rationale, explaining his positions in full.

Don;t confuse the bombastic rhetoric of others, calling for bombings and the like,
with decisivess.

This is what a thogujful leader should sound like.
Perhaps in our bloodlust politcs, we have forgotten what rational discourse sounds like.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with the previous comment.

First of all, the two venues were completely different. The JJ dinner was a preaching to the choir moment. MTP is a conversational moment. Had Obama come out preaching on MTP, he would have been roundly criticized for over the top and rightfully so.

We are faced with serious problems that require serious thought. If we are really interested in how a candidate will lead if elected, we will look to the type and character of the folks they draw around them as they campaign, not to soundbite knee capping.

I want a candidate that is thoughtful, listens to differing perspectives, draws the best of the best around him/her for sound inner circle debate concerning which course to take.

I don't want the flame throwers anymore. I don't want soundbite politics.

Rational discourse...sounds good to me.