Day By Day

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barry's Big Night

I fell asleep and missed Obama's big speech. Will try to catch a rebroadcast [that won't be hard].

Here's the full text.

By the way, Senator McCain was really a class act tonight. He not only withheld announcement of his choice [Romney? Whoops, it's Palin!!!!! Didn't see that coming!] for VP, he actually broadcast an ad congratulating Senator Obama on his nomination. [here]

FOX is classy too, running Obama's biographical flick in its entirety and without commentary.

Don Surber watched the show the whole way through and provides commentary [here].

The Hill notes that a lot of the press corps allowed their masks of objectivity drop and were actively applauding the speech [here]. Definitely not cool, guys. This just lends more credibility to the "in the tank" charge. [hat tip: Instapundit].

Mickey Kaus, the most perceptive commentator on the mechanics of campaigns out there, was not impressed [here]. Like him, I get the sense that Obama still doesn't have a clue as to what the job of President entails. If he wins, it's going to be painful watching the Young Messiah! crash to earth as he muddles through his on the job training.

More later, if I can stay awake.

OK: It's over and I managed to keep my eyes open. FOX afterwards is interesting. The liberals on the panel are far more critical than the conservatives. Nina Easton says that there was nothing new there, just more Democrat boilerplate. She says that for a man who promises to introduce a new kind of politics Obama is strangely wedded to the liberal nostrums of the past. Juan Williams was essentially in agreement. He said that there was nothing special about the speech itself, but that the occasion (the nomination of the first African-American major party candidate for President) carried the burden for him. Bill Kristol thought it was a very effective speech with wonderful atmospherics. Charles Krauthammer agreed with Nina, that Obama has relinquished the "agent of change" rhetoric and portrayed himself as a traditional Democrat. He then went on to say that this was a great tactical move. A generic Democrat will win this year, but an agent of "change!" is suspect. Chris Wallace agreed that the speech represented a major move to the center and even included some Republican talking points [lower taxes, government is too big, eliminating government programs, etc.]. Frank Luntz says that Obama sounded a lot like Ross Perot.

The consensus: It was a smart speech that represented a repudiation of the radicalism that drove Obama's early campaign and a decided move to occupy the middle of the American political spectrum. Liberals were unimpressed and a bit disappointed, but conservatives were scared by it. Their position is that the man in the middle will win the election and now Obama is starting to effectively challenge McCain for the middle of the board.

Sounds about right to me. This is the old Nixon strategy -- run to the extremes until you have the nomination wrapped up, and then move to the center for the election. It's a good strategy that has worked for a lot of politicians in the past. More importantly, it will be a big disappointment for the radical lefties who flocked to Obama's banner early on. I remember a conversation with a prominent left intellectual before the Monica thing broke on Clinton in which he declared Clinton to be an "unmitigated disaster" who had abandoned the cause that brought him to prominence. Earlier this year I had a conversation with a radical film-maker and professor [who still thinks Mao had all the answers]. He was practically ecstatic in his praise for Obama [the candidate of "the dispossessed"]. I will be seeing him again in a couple of weeks and it will be interesting to see if he still thinks that way of the Young Messiah!