Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tapper Calls it Race-Baiting, Chiat thinks Obama should go negative

Original Link:

By LisaB

1) Is the MSM finally reporting on race-baiting? Jake Tapper, at Political Punch, is doing just that. During recent campaign stops, Obama trotted out the old race-bait bit about having a “funny name” and that no other presidents “look like me.”

Jake Tapper calls him on it - but good. Quoting Obama during stops in Rolla, Springfield and Union Missouri, Tapper shows how Obama continues to flog the idea that he is a victim of racist attacks by McCain.

Then in Union, Mo., this evening, Obama seemed to specifically accuse McCain and the GOP of peddling racism and xenophobia.

Read the rest ->

Jake is right. By the way, just count how many times Obama talks about John McCain during any interview. He nearly always answers a tough question he otherwise cannot answer by first starting with John McCain.

Tapper ends with:

I’ve seen racism in campaigns before — I’ve seen it against Obama in this campaign. . . and I’ve seen it against McCain in South Carolina in 2000, when his adopted Bangladeshi daughter Bridget was alleged, by the charming friends and allies of then-Gov. George W. Bush, to have been a McCain love-child with an African-American woman.

What I have not seen is it come from McCain or his campaign in such a way to merit the language Obama used today. Pretty inflammatory.

Definitely worth the read. Keep your eye on this guy.

2) Strangely enough, the LATimes seems to think Obama’s not being negative enough. Jonathan Chait’s op-ed piece today says Obama needs to stop being a nice guy and go negative. He says Obama’s “weak-tea” responses are similar to John Kerry’s in 2004.

To go on the attack, Obama doesn’t need to engage in character assassination and baseless charges, as his opponent has done. All he needs to do is stop letting McCain paint a wildly distorted self-portrait.

Apparently, Chiat’s view of Obama’s race-baiting remarks covered by Jake Tapper is entirely benign. I doubt Chiat has seen many campaign stops.

Obama’s strategy seems predicated on convincing voters that they really, really like the inexperienced black guy with the foreign-sounding name.

For an op-ed guy, I think Chiat is remarkably unsophisticated about what is going on when Obama talks about his “funny sounding name.”

3) In the NYPost today is a column by Amir Taheri on the recent Obama world tour. Taheri wasn’t impressed. Even so, this is a stunner.

“He looked like a man in a hurry,” a source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said last week. “He was not interested in what we had to say.”

Still, many Iraqis liked Obama’s claim that the improved situation in Iraq owed to Iraqi efforts rather than the Gen. David Petraeus-led surge. In public and private comments, Obama tried to give the impression that the Iraqis would’ve achieved the same results even without the greater resources America has poured into the country since 2007.

After Taheri asserts that Iraqi officials privately say the surge was both necessary and helpful comes this:

Iraqis were most surprised by Obama’s apparent readiness to throw away all the gains made in Iraq simply to prove that he’d been right in opposing the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “He gave us the impression that the last thing he wanted was for Iraq to look anything like a success for the United States,” a senior Iraqi official told me. “As far as he is concerned, this is Bush’s war and must end in lack of success, if not actual defeat.”

Wow. I don’t know who Taheri’s sources are, but I’ve not seen anything like this before. Interesting. Will it go anywhere?

4) Realclearpolitics has Obama’s recent remarks on the economy. During this speech, along with promising a “chicken in every pot” Obama outlined some of the money people will see if he’s elected.

That starts with giving immediate relief to families who are one illness or foreclosure or pink slip away from disaster. To help folks who are having trouble filling up their gas tank, I’ll provide an energy rebate. To help hardworking Americans meet rising costs, I’ll put a $1,000 tax cut in the pockets of 95% of workers and their families, including 3 million folks here in Missouri. To help end this housing crisis, I’ll provide relief to struggling homeowners. And to protect retirement security, I’ll eliminate taxes for seniors making under $50,000 a year.

If Senator McCain wants a debate about taxes in this campaign, that’s a debate I’m happy to have. Because while we’re both proposing tax cuts, the difference is who we’re cutting taxes for. Senator McCain would cut taxes for those making over $3 million. I’ll cut taxes for middle class families by three times as much as my opponent. Let me be clear: if you’re a family making less than $250,000, my plan will not raise your taxes - not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes. And unlike my opponent, I’ll pay for my plan - by cutting wasteful spending, shutting corporate loopholes and tax havens, and rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

He also talks, briefly, about education.

We can choose to stay mired in the same education debate that’s consumed Washington for decades, or we can provide every child with a world-class education so they have the skills to compete and succeed in our global economy. We can invest in early childhood education, recruit an army of qualified teachers with better pay and more support, and finally make college affordable by offering an annual $4,000 tax credit in exchange for community or national service.

Keep an eye on education. Obama has long ties with Bill Ayers, once a domestic terrorist and now an education professor in Il.

5) Also at LAT is a blog trying to figure out why Obama’s freight train is looking a little like the engine that couldn’t.

It looks like political strategists are puzzled about why Obama’s lead isn’t bigger. He’s got the looks, the money, the rhetoric, etc. The author doesn’t have any answers either, but he finishes with this:

Americans bought George W. Bush’s message of changing Washington in 2000. But he was a governor coming from Austin. Americans like governors as chief executives; four of the last five presidents were governors first.

Voters have proven more suspicious of legislators. This year they have no more choice; it’ll be only the third time in American history a sitting (or standing) senator has been elected to the White House.

Obama’s talking change too. But he’s a legislator who’s been in Washington three years now, two of them as a member of a Democratic-controlled Congress that was elected in 2006 with great promise but currently holds historically low favorability ratings.

What’s Obama done for D.C. change since arriving? What’s Obama done for reform back home within the historically monolithic and corrupt Chicago Democratic machine, where some up-and-comers are sent off to Congress for seasoning before advancing to the big-time of City Council?

The longer the Obama campaign goes without pulling comfortably ahead of the former fighter pilot who was trained to stay on his opponent’s tail, the more worrisome it’ll become for chief strategist David Axelrod . . . and others behind the closed doors in their Windy City headquarters.

While many of these people are trying to look for complex answers, could it simply be that for all his gifts, Obama just doesn’t offer near enough experience? Nah, that couldn’t be it.

6) Today at Politico is an article saying the recent McCain ad tying Obama in with celebrity culture is gaining traction.

It wasn’t until the last week, however, that the narrative of Obama as a president-in-waiting — and perhaps getting impatient in that waiting — began reverberating beyond the inboxes of Washington operatives and journalists.

Perhaps one of the clearest indications emerged Tuesday from the world of late-night comedy, when David Letterman offered his “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident.” The examples included Obama proposing to change the name of Oklahoma to “Oklobama” and measuring his head for Mount Rushmore.

“When Letterman is doing ‘Top Ten’ lists about something, it has officially entered the public consciousness,” said Dan Schnur, a political analyst from the University of Southern California and the communications director in John McCain’s 2000 campaign. “And it usually stays there for a long, long time.”

Jon Stewart teased that the presumptive Democratic nominee traveled to Israel to visit his birthplace at Bethlehem’s Manger Square.

Heh. Missed that. Darn. It’s at Truveo. Take a look - and take a look at all the “Obama Quest” bits. It will make you smile.

Anyway, in response to an apparent question about arrogance, Obama had this to say:

“I was puzzled by this notion that somehow what we were doing was in any way different from what Sen. McCain or a lot of presidential candidates have done in the past,” Obama said Sunday, speaking about his trip at a conference of minority journalists. “Now, I admit we did it really well. But that shouldn’t be a strike against me.”

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” The new Obama slogan. But WTH? “PUZZLED?” Puzzled? A guy who has said he plays lots of b-ball and probably talks a little smack like any competitive hoopster, is PUZZLED about what might constitute cockiness? Seriously? Well, bless his heart. Maybe language IS that difficult for him without the teleprompter.

And, as always, the HuffyPot rushes in to race-bait:

Bloggers at the Huffington Post launched a backlash to the backlash against Obama’s overseas trip, arguing in part that he wouldn’t face such criticism of acting premature if he were white.

You know, perhaps we’ve all been a little too believing of the Obama rhetorical brilliance bit. He does have trouble talking without a script and he is quite often “puzzled” by what other people say.

Maybe his listening and language skills need some work.

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