Barack Obama strikes me as the epitome of "all hat and no cattle." Apparently Paul Krugman agrees, to an extent, anyway:
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 postpartisan unity.
That -- along with his adoption of conservative talking points on the crucial issue of health care -- is why Mr. Obama's rise has caused such division among progressive activists, the very people one might have expected to be unified and energized by the prospect of finally ending the long era of Republican political dominance.
Some progressives are appalled by the direction their party seems to have taken: they wanted another F.D.R., yet feel that they're getting an oratorically upgraded version of Michael Bloomberg instead.
Others, however, insist that Mr. Obama's message of hope and his personal charisma will yield an overwhelming electoral victory, and that he will implement a dramatically progressive agenda.
The trouble is that faith in Mr. Obama's transformational ability rests on surprisingly little evidence.
Little evidence -- just hat.
And as hard as some Democrats tried to get Obama fully vetted during the primary process, a complacent and mesmerized press just stood by on the sidelines, cheering him on instead. That will all change if he's successful at gaining the nomination:
What we do know is that Mr. Obama has never faced a serious Republican opponent -- and that he has not yet faced the hostile media treatment doled out to every Democratic presidential candidate since 1988.
Yes, I know that both the Obama campaign and many reporters deny that he has received more favorable treatment than Hillary Clinton. But they're kidding, right? Dana Milbank, the Washington Post national political reporter, told the truth back in December: "The press will savage her no matter what ... they really have the knives out for her, there's no question about it ... Obama gets significantly better coverage."
If Mr. Obama secures the nomination, the honeymoon will be over as he faces an opponent whom much of the press loves as much as it hates Mrs. Clinton. If Mrs. Clinton can do nothing right, Mr. McCain can do nothing wrong -- even when he panders outrageously, he's forgiven because he looks uncomfortable doing it. Honest.
Bob Somerby of the media-criticism site dailyhowler.com predicts that Mr. Obama will be "Dukakised": "treated as an alien, unsettling presence." That sounds all too plausible.
Obama's recent buffonery demonstrates that his mad diplomatic skillz are, once again, all talk and no substance - and this is exactly the kind of issue that the press will use to skewer Obambi in the general election:
Canada was pulled smack into the middle of the U.S. election campaign today at a do-or-die juncture for Hillary Clinton, who jumped on a memo suggesting a top Barack Obama adviser told Canadians not to take his anti-NAFTA rhetoric too seriously.
After days of denials from the Canadian Embassy and the Obama campaign that any such conversation took place, a memo surfaced saying it did - on Feb. 8 at the Canadian consulate in Chicago.
But Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee insisted his comments about NAFTA at the meeting were misconstrued in the summarizing brief written by a Canadian official.
"Nobody reached out to the Canadians to try to assure them of anything," Obama told reporters in Carrollton, Texas.
Asked why he had appeared to deny a report last week that a meeting had taken place at all, Obama said: "That was the information I had at the time."
So Barack claims that "nobody reached out" but the memo shows that's not true, and we also see that Obambi, after days of denial... responds with "That was the information I had at the time.".
So did his advisers lie to him, or did he shoot off his mouth before fully investigating, or did he know the truth and just try to bluff the complacent press again?
Huge mistakes like this will sink Obama in the national election. The Republicans will be all over his Bambi-ness like there is no tomorrow, and the press will turn the hammer they used on Clinton towards Obama instead.
Remember, when the red phone rings at 3am the person who answers that phone may well have to make a decision with the information they have at the time. Just wearing the hat won't be enough.
UPDATE: Obama now acknowledges that press bias that has previously played in his favor has been turned back against him:
Senator Barack Obama addressed the issue of press bias today, saying he believed that reporters had been influenced by the Clinton campaign's flood of complaints about media bias over the last week.
"I didn't expect that you guys would bite on that," Mr. Obama said.
"I am a little surprised that all the complaining about the refs has worked," he said, using a basketball allusion to the press as referees.
Note that he's not honest enough to admit that there was bias in his favor, but then that would underscore the fact that he's gotten a free ride up to this point and hasn't really earned his frontrunner staus. Rest assured that he'll complain if the bias moves in Hillary's favor, however.
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