Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Obama - Four Stumbles in a Month?

The folks over at the Political Wire are taking Barack Obama to task.

Excerpt:

Over the course of a long campaign, a couple of foreign policy flubs can explained away. But three or four Dean-like stumbles within the course of a few weeks have just nailed Barack Obama, early in the campaign, into a box he'll be hard pressed to bust out of.

To recap: first he said he'd meet with the world's worst dictators in his first year, no preconditions. And what was particularly puzzling to me: Though he pretty clearly lost the exchange to Sen. Clinton, he seemed to think he won it -- and then pressed his case for a solid week. (I actually think he got trapped in a meta-battle, in which he was trying hard to demonstrate to donors and the public that he can fight bareknuckled with Clinton and give her a black eye. And that, in turn, would have proved he can be just as tough as her in the face of Republican general election attacks.) It didn't work.

Then came the threat to bomb Pakistan; to me, anyway, he was correct to say this -- but in the public mind, in the wake of the first misstep, it wound up looking like a candidate reactively struggling to define himself.

Then came the casual comment that we'd never use nuclear weapons along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. This too might have been defensible, but it was followed by his "scratch that" dissembling -- and a very adult taking to task by Hillary.

And now we have the latest:

A puzzling statement that in Afghanistan, our military is "just" bombing villages and killing civilians. Well, yes, it may be partially true -- but you cannot win an argument when you start out by appearing to malign U.S. troops.

I had pretty high hopes for Obama. But these unforced errors are getting painful. An existing vulnerability is suddenly much more pronounced. And if you were scripting this, you could hardly make Hillary look more Presidential with less effort of her own.


Opinions?

7 comments:

aria ghafari said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081400950.html


facts suck

Kyle said...

The article said Obama was partly right, that's not the point. The point is that this is another misstep in a series of verbal vignettes that haven't shown him to be presidential material.

aria ghafari said...

What part of the article showed Obama was partly wrong? You have an issue with his delivery. His facts are there though.

but just for kicks..

re: nuclear weapons

Clinton said she would "certainly take nuclear weapons off the table."

"This administration has been very willing to talk about using nuclear weapons in a way we haven't seen since the dawn of a nuclear age. I think that's a terrible mistake,"
-Hillary Clinton, 2006

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/08/09/clinton_ruled_out_nukes_in_200.html
-----------------------

re: Pakistan

``If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured,''

Hillary Clinton, August 1, 2007

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=akC8M2WCuBCo&refer=home


------------


spin is spin.. don't get caught up in it. talk about the issues.

Taylor said...

Regardless of it is spin or not, these are nonetheless mistakes on Obama's part. Even if he is not saying anything wrong, he needs to be sure not to get caught up with bad sound bytes, or else he'll end up just like Dean and Kerry... Hence why I support Hillary, even though a lot of what Obama says gets me more excited: he doesn't have enough experience and it shows.

Curtis said...

Sigh. It is ridiculous to say that Obama's "missteps" are on the level of those we saw from Dean and Kerry. They are nowhere near the Dean scream or the famous "I voted for it before I voted against it" remark. It's also important to note that the excerpt is hardly conventional wisdom. There are plenty of other commentators--namely thoughtful bloggers like Andrew Sullivan--who believe Obama came out on top in his recent squirmish with Hillary. There are also plenty of commentators--apparently this one being one of them--who think his proposed policy for dealing with al-Qaeda in Pakistan is a great idea.

Curtis said...

Sigh. It is ridiculous to say that Obama's "missteps" are on the level of those we saw from Dean and Kerry. They are nowhere near the Dean scream or the famous "I voted for it before I voted against it" remark. It's also important to note that the excerpt is hardly conventional wisdom. There are plenty of other commentators--namely thoughtful bloggers like Andrew Sullivan--who believe Obama came out on top in his recent squirmish with Hillary. There are also plenty of commentators--apparently this one being one of them--who think his proposed policy for dealing with al-Qaeda in Pakistan is a great idea.

aria ghafari said...

well taylor, my point in posting hillary's comments is that her words (pretty damn similar to his) could be controversial if the media chose to go after her on them.

i think this is just them finding reasons to scrutinize obama more closely, something they feel they haven't done since he came on the scene in 2004.

if you were to sit and talk with individual american's about what was actually said, and what they feel about policy, i don't think the american people would disagree.