If you haven't noticed anything new in the presidential campaign....
….you haven’t been paying attention. That’s fine. The Olympics have
started, they’re a good diversion. A lot of folks are away in August,
and there’s just widespread campaign fatigue across the land.
But….things have changed.
For the first time the idea began to take hold that John McCain can win this thing.
I’ve noted these polls that have the candidates in a statistical
dead heat lately, and especially when McCain got the bounce from
Obama’s overseas tour. But what’s happened lately?
Mr. Obama got tagged the past month as something new,
not the candidate from Men’s Vogue but arrogant, aloof and somehow
ethereal. There is no there there.
Peggy Noonan circulates in a political orbit with longtime insiders
and savvy analysts. So this is interesting, as her columns usually are.
Everyone I know plays the game of “This election is just
like 1932,” or ‘52, or whatever. “It’s 1960—the youthful charismatic
JFK versus the boring and so Republican Nixon.” “No, it’s ‘92 and the
youthful charismatic Clinton versus the tired old Bush.” This election
is, in fact, exactly like the 2008 election. But the other day a friend
said something I hadn’t heard before: “This is 1948, and Obama is Tom
Dewey”—the sleek, well-groomed, inevitable one who lost. I pondered
this and said maybe he’s Dewey, but Mr. McCain’s not Truman, not so
far. He is still, on the trail, his scattered self, not “Give ‘Em Hell
Harry.” But the point is, even the clichés have begun to shift.
McCain is a hawk and that worries a lot of people. But more Americans seem to be wondering:
In a time of high stakes, do we want Mr. Untried and Untested?
One of the most important points Noonan makes here is that Obama
doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and neither does his well-organized,
highly skilled and talented staff.
The presidential-type seal with OBAMA on it, the
sometimes over-the-top rhetoric about healing the earth and parting the
seas. They pick the biggest, showiest venue for the Berlin speech, the
Brandenburg Gate, just like a president, not realizing people would
think: Ya gotta earn that one, kid.
And meanwhile, McCain is earning more respect, it appears. At least people are giving him a second look, including political journalists.
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