Today I was planning to rant about McCain's Sarah Palin lies – since she was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it – but realized that actually I'm more pissed off at Obama.
So this rant's for you, Barack.
First off, you're my man. That's why it hurts so much to see you acting like a weenie. It killed me to watch you interviewed on MSNBC yesterday, whiffing the softball questions Keith Olbermann threw at you. Such as:
OLBERMANN: And Governor Palin hired a lobbyist to get earmarks to the tune of $27 million for a 6,000-person town which is — in its own scope, is kind of a neat trick, but it does seem to counterbalance the basic platform of the Republican Party.
You said that they're not telling the truth here, but when the stuff is a gross distortion, whether it's about their own positions or yours, or facts in your history or whatever, what can you do about it? And why do people hesitate to use the word "lie" about these things?
OBAMA: Well, look, we have been very clear about the fact that this argument John McCain and Sarah Palin are making, that they are agents of change, just won't fly. It defies their history and their background. And we saw it in the convention that they wouldn't talk about the basic issues that are really going to make a difference in the lives of middle class families.
So you know, I'm happy to have legitimate policy debates with them on where we want to take health care, what we want to do about energy, what we want to do about education, what are we going to do about the war in Iraq.
But you know, for them to run an ad that basically doesn't present an accurate record of their positions on issues I think should raise some questions about how they would approach an administration.
Jesus! Just say, "Yes, McCain and Palin are lying. That's unfortunate. The American people deserve better."
Over on the Huffington Post, Drew Westen does a good job analyzing what the Obama campaign is doing wrong. In short, lots. This is right on:
But McCain shouldn't have gotten a 10-point bump from his uncivil convention, and this election shouldn't be close. What happened in one short week was both completely predictable and completely avoidable. Just hours after a Democratic Convention that reignited Democratic enthusiasm and started to swing those swing voters who just weren't sure about Obama, the Obama campaign had forgotten everything it should have learned from its success of Denver--most importantly that you never drop your gloves, and that you never let the other side control the narratives--and had returned to the same failed strategies that gave us Presidents Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry, strategies Democratic consultants have passed from generation to generation like a family heirloom laced with hemlock.
It's starting to drive me nuts, this be nice strategy that doesn't work against Republican toughness. Voters don't want a smiley-face president. Obama has to show that he's got the fire in his belly to take this country in a new direction and to face up to foreign policy challenges.
Except for flashes during his Mile High stadium speech, I haven't seen this from Obama. Both he and Biden keep talking about how much they respect McCain, without getting the same in return.
Last week I saw Biden on CNN, speaking live at a campaign event. Here's a chance for him to make the most of a few minutes of air time on a major cable news channel. And he blows it.
Speaking extemporaneously, he starts talking about how he and McCain are such good friends. Not just casual Senate buddies, but really good friends. Then he tells a warm and fuzzy story about travelling to Greece, or somewhere, with McCain.
Eventually he gets around to talking about how even though McCain is a great guy, his policies suck. By this time all of Biden's sweet talking about the Republican candidate has diluted his differences with him.
Once again, just like in 2004, the Democrats are assuming that being right on the issues will make up for turning the other cheek on baseless Rove'ian attacks. Well, it didn't work for Kerry, and it won't work for Obama.
Obama frequently says, "The Republicans can't govern, but they sure know how to run a campaign." Well dude, if you admire their campaigning ability so much (as you should), why can't you learn from them?
I'm not quite at worried as Adam McKay, who says "We're Gonna Frickin' Lose this Thing." But it seriously bothers me to see Obama acting so calm and collected while McCain and Palin roast him.
Richard Cohen asks, "Too cool to fight?"
It is true that on the stump, Obama goes on the attack. But those are fragments -- maybe 15 seconds on the evening news. It is with extended interviews, such as the Sunday shows, that we get to visit with the man -- and that man, for all his splendid virtues, seems to lack fight. Maybe he's worried about how America would receive an angry black man or maybe he's just too cool to ever get hot, but the end result is that we have little insight into his passions: What, above all, does he care about? The answer, at least to the Sunday TV viewer, was nothing much.
Show us, Barack. Show us what you care about, and how much you're willing to fight for this country.
Right now it looks like you and Biden are willing to hand McCain and Palin the keys to the White House, preferring to say that you didn't descend to their level rather than ascend to the leadership the United States needs.
Not acceptable. Not at all. You can keep sending me your almost-daily requests for more money. But until I see some fire from your campaign, my Visa card is staying in my wallet.