“After securing the nomination in June, [Sen. Barack] Obama’s first priority had to be healing the rift between himself and Hillary Clinton,” the New Republic’s John B. Judis writes at tnr.com.
“Candidates who can’t put nomination battles behind them well before the convention usually lose. Think of Goldwater in 1964, Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale in 1984. There are only two candidates I can remember who succeeded in overcoming intraparty rifts during the convention — John Kennedy in 1960 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 — and they did it by nominating their primary opponents to be vice president,” Mr. Judis said.
“Obama, who evidently did not see a nail-biting election looming, chose not to do that, and is reaping the consequences. I didn’t think so last spring, but I realize now that Obama would have been better off had he chosen Hillary Clinton. Of course, he might have faced a nightmare in January 2009 with Bill and Hillary in the White House, but at least he would have been more assured of making it there. …
“Obama’s pursuit of a 50-state strategy (now mercifully reduced to 18) is another sign of overconfidence. This summer, for instance, he spent money advertising and opening up field offices in Georgia. He has even appointed a coordinator for gay Georgians. That’s fine, but Obama doesn’t have a prayer of carrying Georgia in the presidential election. That’s the kind of calculation you make if you think you’re Johnson in 1964 and not Kennedy in 1960. Or if you think that field operations have the same effect in a general election that they do in a party caucus.”
The white vote
“Barack Obama raises the prospect of a candidate for the first time being elected into the presidency almost wholly on the basis of a compelling persona. It is no surprise this could happen in an age tugged by the siren song of celebrity,” Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger writes.
“The 2008 election is almost certainly going to be decided by white, lower-middle-class voters — the people who voted for Hillary Clinton this year and before that for Ronald Reagan. If these voters don’t swing behind the Obama candidacy in Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Missouri, he will lose,” Mr. Henninger said.
“Yet amid a universally described lack of clarity about Sen. Obama’s experience and core political beliefs, it is now being said that if the people in blue-collar counties don’t vote for him, they, and their nation, remain racist.
“This is false. If they don’t vote for Barack Obama, it won’t be over his personal roots, but because they’re confused about the roots of his politics.
“The assertion that workaday white people in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, Altoona, Pa., or Macomb County, Mich., won’t vote for a black man reveals more about the race-based obsessions of the intellectual elites making these claims than the reality of this campaign.”
No critics, please
“Sen. Barack Obama‘s campaign organized its supporters Wednesday night to confront Tribune-owned WGN-AM in Chicago for having a critic of the Illinois Democrat on its air,” Chicago Tribune reporters John McCormick and Steve Schmadeke write in a blog at www.swamppolitics.com.
“‘WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears,’ Obama’s campaign wrote in an e-mail to supporters. ‘He’s currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. pushing lies, distortions and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers.’
“Kurtz, a conservative writer, recently wrote an article for the National Review that looked at Obama’s ties to Ayers, a former 1960s radical who later emerged as a school reform advocate in Chicago,” the reporters said.
“The magazine had been blocked in its initial attempts to obtain records from the University of Illinois at Chicago regarding a school reform initiative called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which Obama chaired and Ayers co-founded.
“Obama critics were quick to suggest that political clout could be involved in seeking to protect Obama from embarrassment. The school later reversed its position and made the records available Tuesday.”
Zack Christenson, executive producer of “Extension 720 with Milt Rosenburg,” said the Obama campaign was asked to have someone appear on the show and declined the request.
“CNN placed a total news blackout on Nancy Pelosi‘s misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and history on abortion on Sunday’s ‘Meet the Press’ and the subsequent reaction from several prominent Catholic bishops and from pro-life politicians,” the Media Research Center’s Matthew Balan writes at www.mrc.org.
“The news network did not mention the story at all between Sunday morning, when Pelosi made her remarks, and early Wednesday evening. …
“This past Sunday, ‘Meet the Press’ host Tom Brokaw asked Pelosi about Barack Obama‘s now-infamous ‘above my pay grade’ answer to a question about when human life begins and how she would respond to a similar question. She cited that as an ‘ardent, practicing Catholic,’ she had researched the Church’s stance on the matter over the centuries, referenced how St. Augustine apparently helped her make take the pro-abortion position, and that the Church’s current position that human life begins at conception has only been around ‘maybe 50 years or something like that.’
“Several Catholic bishops began to issue statements correcting Pelosi’s public misrepresentation of Church teaching on Monday afternoon.”
The Democratic National Committee has put together “A Survival Kit for Reporters” who will be attending the Republican National Convention next week in St. Paul, Minn., Paul Bedard reports in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.
“Inside the kit we found our very own press pass to the DNC’s war room in St. Paul, decorated with that famous picture of McCain hugging President Bush. … There are also two packages of Tylenol Extra Strength, two packages of Tums, a $100,000 Grand and Payday candy bars, and a fancy button reading: ‘Ask me how many houses I own.’”
• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.