I'm glad I'm not Obama's campaign manager.
This commentator has taken the trouble to try to rank all US presidents, plus the current contenders, for relevant experience.
John McCain would, by his calculation, be the second-most-experienced president in US history, after John Quincy Adams and just ahed of George Washington. Obama would rank 37 out of 44—notably underqualified. He would still be ahead of Sarah Palin, who would be less qualified than all but two presidents, Chester A. Arthur and Grover Cleveland. But she in turn is still ahead of Hillary Clinton.
Either Obama's or Palin's election would plainly be a case of affirmative action. Palin is where she is because she is a woman. Obama is where he is because he is black.
I fear that Palin's inexperience came through in her recent interview with Charles Gibson, and it was slightly sobering. Still, she is running for VP, not president.
Obama's campaign is saddled with a plainly unqualified candidate. He was a one-trick pony, and the Republicans learned the trick. “Change” was all he had. As a theme, that is too easily trumped. It was inevitably beaten by a fresher face than Obama's. Obama is now yesterday's fad, and suddenly boring.
Now what does the Democratic campaign have left? No surprise if they are thrashing about. They have tried to attack the Republican ticket for inexperience, or for corruption, or for flip-flopping, or for extremism, or for being “out of touch with ordinary Americans”—but this cannot work. Obama is probably more vulnerable than McCain on any of those points, and raising any of them is against his interests.
The latest idea the Obama campaign has come up with is that McCain-Palin would not be “real change,” because they are still, like the incumbent president, Republicans. Hence the infamous “lipstick on a pig” comment.
1.Ideological change is not the change the public really wants. Republicans probably score better than Democrats on the issues, and most people actually vote, quite reasonably, not on issues or ideology, but on personalities.
2.Obama is more vulnerable than McCain on that charge, too—of being cosmetic rather than real change. What evidence can Obama offer that he will deliver real change? What change has he ever delivered? Only his choice of running mate. On the one big opportuinity, Obama chose continuity over change. McCain's choice of Palin throws that fact into stark relief.
What can Obama's campaign come back with? Darned if I know.
The one thing that might still happen is a serious gaffe by the inexperienced Palin. The Gibson interview reminds me of that possibility. But who cares? Even if it did happen, would it hurt McCain? Or would it remind us all that Obama, too, is terribly inexperienced to be president? All Palin needs to do is to show that she can learn quickly.
It looks like game, set, and match. It looks like it is the Obama campaign that is stuck trying to put lipstick on a pig. It looks like Obama who is fit now for nothing but wrapping fish.
He is yesterday's news.