Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Devil is in the details

Many conservative and liberal talking-heads (among them Rush Limbaugh and Howard Wolfson) have said that Barack Obama needs to get specific and come-down from the lofty hope and change politicking; I even have been engaged in anecdotal conversations purporting the same.

It is understandable that many have arrived at this given Obama's sliding poll numbers and the backfire of the high-minded Berlin speech, the absence of a VP bounce and to-date a mundane convention.

But there's one problem with this idea: when it comes to experience, there's no there there.

Let me explain this the way I have in ordinary conversation: I first qualify my question with "Whether you may agree with them or not, do you give credibility to Bill Clinton when he speaks on foreign policy, economics, or American politics?" Then I continue to ask the same about Newt Gingrich. The answer is inevitably "yes".

The answer is "yes", because , they have to their credit, first-hand experience...Clinton was a professor, state attorney general, Chair of the National Governor's Association, and a two-term governor; Gingrich a history professor, congressman, Speaker of the House, and author.

Barack has an unremarkable state representative record and just half a national senatorial term, which translates into a real deficit on credibility.

Should Obama begin to espouse specifics on his policy intentions, the door to questioning his credibility deficit swings wide open into his own face.

He can't get specific because of this fact and if he does and is questioned he can only revert to relating to his time as a community organizer (which will not stand the test of reality) or that he's relying on his advisers and veep (which begs the question, why then is Obama on the top of the ticket).

Moreover, conspicuous by it's absence is any political rung climbing. That is, the run for and holding of lesser offices -- as is the recognized standard. Barack seems to be reaching too far and when one considers how he arrived at his previous office, it looks all the more like a leap of faith (hence the hope and change identity).

So the senator is left to talk high ideals and chant hope and change, sloganeer overcome, but that too makes clear that the democratic nomination when to the wrong gender.

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