Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Artificial Obama Controversey

When I first read Kyle's post this evening, I too was a little saddened that Barack Obama decided against participating in the first Democratic Candidates Debate. I clicked on the link to read more about the story and it took me to a blog called Political Insider. The story suggested that this decision by the Obama campaign might be a true-sign of his inexperience. Maybe Obama is simply not up to the task of debating Hillary Clinton just yet. After all, if Obama were smashed this early in a debate with Clinton, he might lose a lot of potential donors.

Obviously, I found this analysis a little odd. I thought to myself, "Obama graduated from Columbia and then earned a law degree from Harvard. He's a probably one of the brightest minds in U.S. politics right now. Why would he be afraid of debating another Democratic heavyweight like Hillary Clinton?"

So, I scoured the web for more details. And what I found out is pretty interesting. When I checked the National Journal's Hotline, I found out that Obama isn't skipping a debate; he's actually skipping a candidates forum hosted by AFSCME. Though other candidates will be attending the event, it is inaccurate to call it a debate because none of them will be on stage at the same time. Each candidate will give a little speech and that's it.

Then why in hell have these rumors been flying around? Where do they come from? The Republican National Committe, of course! Hotline reports that the RNC sent out a press release with subheadings that include "Forum Flight Reinforces Obama's Tight Bubble" and "Suspicions are Growing that Obama Doesn't Have Much to Say."

Hotline also reports that this event is pretty much a waste of time for every candidate except Clinton. Given the fact that AFSCME President Gerald McEntee and the Clintons are close friends, it's hard to see AFSCME's endorsement going to anyone else.

There is a lot to learn from this incident. Whether you support Clinton or Obama, Richardson or Vilsack, Edwards or Biden, all Democrats need to be on the look out for opposition attacks like this one. By misrepresenting the facts, the Republican Party was able to make one of our brightest stars look like a timid rookie. Obama will not be the only candidate subject to these kind of attacks. Clinton, Edwards, and any other candidate who gains the spotlight will also have to brave these cheapshots. Our job is to make sure that we respond to these attacks as quickly as possible. Our country can't afford to let the Republican Party define another great candidate for president in their terms.

Instead of worrying about Obama's credentials today, everyone should celebrate that a leader like him has officially entered the race for president.

Checkout the Hotline post. Scroll down the page, you'll find it.

No comments: