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I Hate To Say This, But I Agree With Karl Rove

September 11, 2008

As an Obama supporter, I know it might seem a little unexpected for me to toss some praise in turd blossom’s direction, but what can I say?  Via memeorandum, I spotted this Rove op-ed in the WSJ: Obama Can’t Win
Against Palin

Money quote/bottom line:

It’s a matchup he’ll lose. If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he’s running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president.

To make his point, Rove proceeded to outline examples of failed presidential bids that featured this sort of disconnect.  He didn’t outline any bids that were successful with this kind of thing playing out (assuming there have been some), but I think he’s reading the current dynamic pretty accurately. 

My take?

Obama risks taking a step backwards with every comment that he makes about her, and this risk, for the most part, outweighs any reward.  As we’ve seen from the ridiculous “lipstick on a pig” faux controversy (that wasn’t even directed at Palin, but it’s one heck of a hint), there are going to be those who will be eager to mislead, spin and misconstrue any comment (no matter how poignant) and turn it into sexism or some sort of gaffe (as I predicted), and scream it loudly.  If that narrative gains traction, it’d be a hole that’d be tough to get out of, and a huge distraction from the message of the campaign.  Rove convincingly paints a trip down this path as a no-win scenario, but to expand on his point, Obama really shouldn’t have to go there anyway.  Presidential candidate vs. running mate doesn’t sound like the intuitive way it should work, and engaging in it in a manner that is in any way aggressive creates the impression that one is intimidated.   That isn’t exactly a way to dictate the tempo.

At first, I was going to suggest that Obama limit specific criticisms of Palin to those that can be confidently and clearly framed into the debate on what the selection itself says about McCain, but now I’m not so sure.  At this point, I’m beginning to think that the best way to counter whatever swell of support McCain has gained with Palin is probably to ignore her.   More specifically, Obama should craft the remainder of the campaign as if the rule of thumb was to pretend that she hasn’t been selected yet (as strange as it sounds on the surface).  Focus on McCain, and marginalize her my not giving her the dignity of a response to whatever she might throw.   Obama should ignore the bait, take the high road for the home stretch and count on Palin doing herself in as the interviews and debates move forward.

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19 comments

  1. True enough: Every time the woman speaks her own words, as in sermon to her local church, we wonder about her mentor, God, telling her to behave like a pit bull rather than a St.Barnard or a Labrador. As a very old woman I’ve hear too many politicians claim on either side of wars that the All Powerful is a close friend.


  2. True enough: Every time the woman speaks her own words, as in sermon to her local church, we wonder about her mentor, God,

    Contrasted with everytime Obama and Joe Biden speak, we wonder “who is there God?”


  3. oops..their God


  4. When the #1 compares himself to the #2, all he does is elevate the opponent to his level, while reducing himself to their level at the same time.

    Also, every time Barack Obama talks about Sarah Palin, he is not talking about Barack Obama. That keeps him off balance and off message. It keeps him on defense, where his only options are to react (which is never a desirable position in a fight) or to attack and be made into a bully. Ignoring her gets rid of the problem.

    Had the career campaigner ever actually had a worthy opponent before tossing his hat into the presidential ring, he might have learned some of these simple lessons.

    If this were a boxing match, Obama would currently be on the ropes and getting warnings for low blows.

    And if his campaign is proof of his executive experience, then we’d better worry about his crisis management skills. Because his campaign is not handling Sarah Palin being on the Republican ticket very well at all.


  5. I think it’s time for Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes of fame to be up. I don’t really think Obama has gone after Ms. Palin so much but more his supporters have. Obama has always turned McCain’s argument of more experience around to his lack of judgment. McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin is another example of his poor judgment.

    Ignoring Ms. Palin is not a bad idea and I agree as time goes on she will look more ridiculous and votes will be turned off by her.

    Ideas and Revolution – If you’re not outraged you’re not reading this blog


  6. Correction…

    Ignoring Ms. Palin is not a bad idea and I agree as time goes on she will look more ridiculous and VOTERS will be turned off by her.

    Ideas and Revolution – If you’re not outraged you’re not reading this blog


  7. When the #1 compares himself to the #2, all he does is elevate the opponent to his level, while reducing himself to their level at the same time.

    Yeah, what he said!

    I might add …

    As a tactic, I think that this might actually expose part of the problem with Sen. Obama: he is a bit of a celebrity-hound. He’s the Big Thing, going after the next Big Thing that threatens him.

    As a serious statesman running against another statesman, the confrontations should be Obama vs. McCain. I’d like to see the Lincoln-Douglass-style debates (Newt Gingrich’s “9 Nineties” plan comes to mind.).

    I’m afraid that in a celebrity-driven campaign, that’s not what we’re getting. This is more like a Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, and Obama is in peril of falling into that trap if he continues focusing on Palin.

    Having said that, it might play well with the public.


  8. I think some of you are wrong in assuming Palin only exists due to responses by the Left.
    Voters that are keen on Palin are as unlikely to be turned off by anything she does/say as fervent Obama fans are.


  9. @ MJ: “I think it’s time for Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes of fame to be up.”

    Many of us thought the same thing about Barack Obama several months ago. You’re liable to discover you are as wrong as we were.


  10. If Obama weren’t more inept than I dreamed, and I already knew him a judge of poor character considering the scum, anarchists and racists he runs with, his choice of plagiarizing Joe Biden sealed the deal. Short of Maxine Waters, Jolting Joe is as dumb as it gets in Washington.

    Much as I dislike the thought of Obama calling the shots, his best chance of winning the election was to nominate Hillary Rotten as his running mate.

    He couldn’t even get that right because Obama and that equally atrocious wife’s fragile ego couldn’t handle working with somebody as megalomaniacal as they are.


  11. LOL…great responses by all here.

    During a mutual masturbation session on Fox over Palin, I heard what I thought was a pretty insightful analysis of Palin on why Obama and friends are acting in such a paranoid, insecure, knee jerk manner to her.

    Palin threatens the very core of Democratic dogma. Her very presence, her very existence shoots goosebumps up and down the left’s spine. In all reality, Palin shouldn’t even exist according to the left. A mother of five, self made, pro-life, military mom who vanquished crooked Republicans. This is some Friday the 13th crap to Dems.

    The problem with the argument I have heard from Obama-heads that Obama’s national campaign is itself proof of valid presidential experience is that when Obama’s campaign takes a wrong turn on Jackass Street, Obama clearly is a jackass. He let the campaign define him, for better or worse. Oops, my bad…more animal farm analogies.


  12. Ideas and Revolution – If you’re not outraged you’re not reading this blog

    What’s wrong Pawn? Your callow, censoring ways driving traffic down several notches to the point you’ve got to pimp?

    HEY GENERAL CHEN!!! In the interest of fairness, since you’re quick with the emblems for those who don’t conclude like you, doesn’t that comment rate a fedora hat to cover the meathead’s shiny, fat dome?


  13. hmmm…Tex, you may have a point there. Although MJ did make a token effort to partake in the discussion at hand, his url is already hyperlinked in his name (like everyone else’s). Tough call. Since it was completely unnecessary on the correction post, he’ll get awarded the “blog pimp”.


  14. General,

    You still have a modicum of decency. But I don’t see fedora hat on my screen.


  15. yea Tex I think that if anyone posts while logged into WordPress, their avatar overrides the gravatar.

    Bummer


  16. 535000 beers on the wall. sck was here


  17. Fantastic article ! You have made some very astute statements and I appreciate the the effort you have put into your writing. It’s clear that you know what you are writing about. I am excited to read more of your sites content.


  18. I do not even know the way I ended up right here, however I assumed this post was once great. I do not know who you might be but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger when you are not already. Cheers!


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