- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2008

Song of Obama

“The Drudge Report ran a juicy item about the fact that only one reporter showed up to cover Republican John McCain at a campaign stop in New Hampshire the other day,” Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes.

“Just one.

“The lonely print reporter from the Manchester Union Leader stood on the tarmac, waiting for McCain’s plane to land. McCain, obviously upset at being dissed by yet another meager media throng, didn’t stop to chat,” Mr. Kass said.

“‘Did you ever notice that when John McCain is on TV he’s always grumpy?’ asked a colleague in the cafeteria who whispered, lest others denounce him for Barackian Thought Crimes.

“‘McCain’s always made to look old and angry, a curmudgeon. And Barack Obama? He’s always seen as presidential, cool, smiling, shaking hands,’ whispered the guy.

“I believe this phenomenon is called liberal bias. And the country has caught on.

“Since I mentioned it a few days ago, newspapers, Web sites, radio and TV news have been full of stories about media bias and outraged denials, recrimination and guilt. Always the guilt. Obama’s people know we’re guilty.

“Guilt is what McCain is playing on, too, trying to shame journalists with a new video with dueling soundtracks about the Media Love that Dares Speak Barack, featuring MSNBC host Chris Matthews shrieking that when he hears Obama talk, a tingle runs down his leg.

“Predictably, McCain blew it by selecting lame songs for his video. He should have used ‘Barry Angel’ sung to the old dusty ‘Johnny Angel’ or my personal favorite, ‘Oh-Bama’ sung to the 1958 hit, ‘Oh, Donna,’ back in the Route 66 days when McCain was young and not so old.”

Two elections

“If you want to start worrying about the presidential election this year, you can look at the comparison between 1996 and 2008,” the New Republic’s John B. Judis writes in a blog at www.tnr.com.

John McCain is a similar candidate to Bob Dole — a war hero, running on his experience, but also somewhat past his political prime. The Democrats had the advantage of incumbency in 1996, but of course Bill Clinton had been rebuked by voters in 1994. In July 1996, Democrats only enjoyed a 5.1 percent advantage in generic congressional polls. Yet in late July, Clinton was ahead of Dole in one Harris poll by 22 percent and in a Gallup poll by 17 percent. Although Dole would close the gap during the convention and the last weeks of the campaign — when the Clinton campaign scandals broke — the election was all but over,” Mr. Judis said.

“In 2008, McCain is running about as inept a campaign as Dole. And Democrats enjoy an average lead of 11.6 percent in generic Congress polls. In addition, the Republican administration is wildly unpopular; the economy is in a tailspin; and the Iraqi president has endorsed Barack Obama’s withdrawal plan. Yet Obama is only running an average of 4.5 percent ahead of McCain in the polls …

“By all odds, a Democratic nominee should be running 10-15 percent ahead at this time. My explanation is the same tired one. Obama remains the ‘mysterious stranger’ rather than the ‘American Adam’ to too many voters who are put off rather than attracted by his race and exotic background.”

In a vise

“Former Vice President Al Gore recently took his climate-change show on the road for the benefit of liberal bloggers, Sunday morning TV aficionados and other innocent bystanders,” the Wall Street Journal’s Collin Levy writes.

“This week he laid out his demand for a miraculous transformation in U.S. energy use over a mere 10 years. As for drilling for more oil? ‘Absurd,’ the Nobel Laureate scoffed. ‘When you’re in a hole, stop digging.’

“The same might be said for Mr. Gore. For while his message hasn’t changed, the political realities of the energy debate have. Suddenly, Mr. Gore’s inconvenient speechifying only tightens the vise Democrats find themselves in over drilling,” the writer said.

“Voters’ pocketbooks are now involved, making them more skeptical about climate change and about the utility of any policies aimed at influencing climate change. The environmental movement is facing a critical moment. Democrats who support the greenies in their most ambitious goals, and scariest pseudo-scientific rhetoric, suddenly seem woefully out of touch with American voters.”

Two attacks

John McCain attacked Barack Obama both at home and abroad this week. One attack was smart. One wasn’t,” John Dickerson writes at www.slate.com.

“On Iraq, McCain pressed Obama over his opposition to the troop surge the strategy that has reduced violence in Iraq and led to modest political gains for the al-Maliki government. This was smart. The topic is on McCain’s issue turf, potentially puts his opponent at odds with the American generals who executed the surge, and makes Obama look like a hidebound pol who won’t absorb new facts that contradict his predetermined conclusions,” Mr. Dickerson said.

“McCain’s dumb attack came in a television ad that blamed Barack Obama for high oil prices. You might have thought the cause of the oil-price hike was war, SUVs, OPEC, speculation, and global demand for oil. Nope — it’s Obama. By this standard, he should also answer for the Starbucks closings and the dent in my Honda.”

Dear old Dad

“As the battle between John McCain and Barack Obama for Hispanic votes heats up, it raises the question of what relates better, an immigrant father or an absentee father? For Obama, the answer is an absentee father,” reporter Stephen Dinan writes in a blog at www.washingtontimes.com.

“Wednesday morning Obama’s campaign e-mailed reporters the script for his first Spanish-language radio ad of the general election, designed to portray him as sharing the same experiences as many Latino voters, and it included these lines:

“‘His father was an immigrant. His mother from a humble, middle class family. Through student loans and hard work, he graduated from college. Obama never pulled people down as he made his way up …’

“But about an hour later the campaign sent out what it said was the final script, which changed those lines to read:

“‘He grew up without a father — raised by his mother with the support of his grandparents. Through student loans and hard work, he graduated from college. Obama never forgot his roots ….’

“On a conference call with reporters, the Obama campaign said the first version was a draft.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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