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What Obama Must do to Win the Nomination and Why he Needs to.

Obama last night, gave another of his steady but mediocre debate performances...He tried to attack Hillary but about the only specific thing he said was that Clinton was vague and flip flopping and then he answered what has emerged as the big campaign issue, drivers' licenses for illegals, in the same equivocal manner that Hillary had answered it, two weeks ago.

I have said this before but found someone from a surprising corner, agreeing with me..

Rove went on to provide a little unsolicited advice for the Obama campaign, saying that the Illinois senator has faltered in creating a strong moment of contrast between himself and his opponents during debates. Citing Clinton's vague answer regarding the release of White House papers during her tenure as first lady, Rove said Obama has had "a number of occasions like that, where a sharp and clear and respectful contrast really could've created a moment."

Right, Barack has to try to create and capitalize on more moments like this. Health insurance, tax policies, environmental policies, there ain't much to choose from between the main Democrat challengers, even though as Freud said, "It is the smallest differences that cause the greatest arguments." the public won't be interested.

But there is one issue (in my opinion, for Democratic voters) where Hillary is weak on, that's her 'centrist' policies in the Middle East, that allow her maximum flexiblity to maintain the same degee of US domination (hence Muslim backlash) in the area, even with a reduced troop presence in Iraq...She was always the most encouraging of BIll Clinton's advisors to bomb a recalcitrant Bosnia/ Kosovo and also Iraq in 1998, and this separates her from Obama, in a big way. She is not loath to use military force in the Middle East, to try to solve its endemic problems, which of course normally only serves to exasperate the situation further. Read 'Hillary the Hawk'.

It may be one-sided, but this article makes its point, and if Obama is going to win the nomination he has got to to show some dramatic contrasts between him and Hillary, rather than just allow the American public to infer what they might be. With a 'barking mad opponent' like Rudy he could return to 'the bring us together approach', but with Hillary he has to clarify the differences, since she is so shrewd in maximizing her options by saying so little.

Seymour Hersh, 'The New Yorker' reporter who broke both My Lai and Abu Grahib, reminds us why it is necessary to have someone diplomatic and not hostile to Islam to win 'the hearts and minds' of Arabs or at least, not lose them so completely as Bush has done and someone like Hillary may be unlikely to achieve, since she is always so concerned with' fighting for America', first and foremost.

Barack Obama represents the only hope for the US in the Muslim world, according to Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. Because Obama's father was a Muslim, he could lead a reconciliation between the Muslim countries and the US. With any of the other candidates as president, Hersh said, we're facing two or three decades of problems in the Mideast, with 1.2 billion Muslims.

I suppose having a father who was Muslim, won't make you more electable to Middle America, but for the Middle East, it may work wonders.

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Comments (3)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

They say politics makes for strange bedfellows, Steve, and you and Karl Rove together certainly qualify there.

I'd hope that Obama could make his case to the American people on his strengths, but -- obviously -- when America decided Obamas's strengths weren't sufficient to grant him the nomination -- he turned the tables and decided to run on Hillary's weaknesses instead.

I agree with the sentiment expressed by others that the mud slinging is counter-productive and detrimental to the party and Democratic efforts to retake the White House.

Get back to me on whether you and Karl agree...

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee, I agree with the first part of your analysis, that this is in part the politics of desperation for Obama and Edwards. But I disagree about the mud-slinging aspect..Hillary used that expression, a few minutes into the debate before much, if any was thrown.

Maybe I misssed something but both Edwards and Obama have been respectful of Clinton and haven't been so specific in their charges..This is part of the reason the audience is getting turned off.."Where's the beef"? They have been making a lot of sweeping charges without providing any evidence. In this way I agree with Rove, focus on one or two aspects of Hillary's record, frame it, clarify it .. and back off if necessary...

Lee, you indirectly agree, when you say Obama is a excellent orator but not a good debater..a good debater goes for some incisive telling points..is fast on his or her feet, and then draws a clear conclusion.. And with Edwards, the more combative one, he talks a lot about her taking lobbyist money, it is a corrupt system etc. but he shoulid point out in what decisions, she has been influenced, be concrete. If not, is only a general slur and it may only rebound.. About the only detail that Obama consistently talks about is Hillary's vote, with no elaboration. 75% of the senators voted the same way. I almost feel like saying "so what" if that is the only point he makes. As I said in my post, the criticsm of Hillary is more about style than substance, but the Middle East is probably the one area where it will matter.

As to your feeling that this hurts the Democrats..After Super Tuesday Febrauary 5, with the Great American attention deficit disorder. we will all be one happy family. If it is coronation, the public will be pretty bored until then. From February until the summer conventions and then on to November it will likely be Rudy vs Hillary, so any of his bickering now will seem pretty tame stuff, compared to then. In the meantime, I don't mind Obama and Edwards ,while they still have a chance of 'having a go' at Hillary, even if they are just making ineffective general charges, as long as they don't go too far. You don't expect the people that gave Obama 35 million dollars ,probably because he wasn't Hillary and they thought a great speaker, just to roll over. Obama is probably under a lot of pressure to do the best he can, otherwise the donors would have been better off giving Hillary all that money.

I think down the road after January 2009, the greatest problem for Democrats like yourself, will be pulling her to the left..She has said after she wins the the election, she will endeavor to form a centrist coalition, (the Clintons are very good at picking up allies in the center, even center-right,) so it is best to remind her now, that she can't take the rank and file Democrats for granted.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee..and as to being 'in bed with' Karl Rove., metaphorically By the way ,has Karl ever been a bed with anyone? I'm sure he has, but I think of him as someone who is as a good friend of the late Edward Heath, described the former Prime Minister.. asexual.

I have raised the key issue of transparency (for me) long before Rove publicly did. Of course, for him with his two million lost, n' found e-mails, that he and the White House won't release, it is 'the kettle calling the pot black', and I realize I am pretty radical on this question. In his post OBAMA ON THE ATTACK....Barack Obama says he's about to dial up his campaign a notch' Kevin Drum asked on Oct ober 27, in the Washington Monthly.

don't know what kind of issue might have the same effect here, but Obama needs something like this. Continuing to hammer on the same issues he's been talking about for the past six months, even if he does it more aggressively, isn't likely to gain him more than a few points in the polls, and there's just not enough time left for that to do him any good. Instead, he needs something that comes out of left field and blindsides Hillary. Something small, perhaps (Cameron's inheritance tax proposal wasn't really that big a deal), but with a lot of broad, symbolic appeal. Any ideas?

My response was the 12th comment

One quibble. The Tories have floated this idea of eliminating the inheritance tax for estates under one million British pounds for some time..Only recently with the huge rise in housing prices is it becoming feasible and popular to more and more British people.

But on the larger question..I say it is high time..Kerry, and Edwards made the same mistake when they were advised by perennial Democrat campaign manager and loser Bob Shrum not to attack Bush on the war. I think Obama must be true to himself and not pull so many punches. No one is giving him all that money to come in a gracious second.. A defining issue. How about a stirring speech about making the Executive transparent, honest and responsive to its citizens. He could start with saying he would like to see consideration given for having all cabinet meetings televised. Why not? We are all the shareholders and it is a public government, I mean it, no secrets other than limited genuine military defense secrets.. They come out any way only for $pecialized insiders. That would separate himself from Bush and importantly Hillary, who would never agree.

And then again after the debate on November 1
on our site, in response to your post 'Did Hillary Blow It? Making Lemonade',

Lee..I think she is still vulnerable on the secrecy issue..Hers' was a very limp response on your linked earlier video 'Clinton on the National Archives - Obama capitalizes on her obfuscation'.. On her husband not ageeing to release documents that she was involved in "That's not my decision to be made'..

so when Rove "citing Clinton's vague answer regarding the release of White House papers during her tenure as first lady, said Obama has had "a number of occasions like that, where a sharp and clear and respectful contrast really could've created a moment." that was Rove paraphrasing exactly what I felt I was saying ,'alone in the wilderness.' Hey, 'A blind chipmuck may find a acorn..or a stopped clock is right twice a day".

Anyway, as we have both suggested maybe Obama has something to hide in his records which is maybe why he is not making more of this..It's Kerry responding very haltingly agian to releasing his military records after the swiftboaders; Kerry's failure to reponse some say cost him the election..I think even Kerry admits it was a big mistake.

Since Obama didn't bring this up in a dramatic fashion, Hillary's biggest liability, her almost congenital secrecy is neutalized. We must be prepared to live with another Executive who play everything 'very close to the vest' and release only what they want to, precious little I'm sure, for another 4 to 8 years, whether it be Hillary or Rudy.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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