Sunday, August 03, 2008

Barack Obama: Two Steps Forward... One Gigantic Leap Backwards


A "Tip o' the Wizard's Pointy Cap" to Barack Obama's bold yet totally logical move to forge a compromise with Republicans and allow some limited additional oil drilling in exchange for a major advance in conservation and alternative energy legislation.

This isn't a "flip-flop" and it certainly isn't "caving in to the Republicans." It's doing what every great leader must do to build consensus and lead the country through a crisis and into the future.

From the AFP story (like all good bloggers I avoid the AP whenever possible):
With oil prices hitting voters, Obama budges on offshore drilling

Obama told reporters in Florida that the bill, proposed by a group of Republican and Democratic senators on Friday, "has some of the very aggressive elements that I've outlined in my plan to move us in the direction of genuine energy independence."

"If we have a plan on the table that I think meets the goals that America has to set, and there are some things in there that I don't like ... I would consider it because that's the nature of how we govern in a democracy."



This is a most disturbing development. Barack Obama is getting really horrible advice from his campaign. File this under how to lose an election.

From CQ Politics:
Obama, McCain Set Debates, But "Town Hall" Idea Is Dead

Barack Obama and John McCain will debate head-to-head three times - and almost certainly only three times - according to an acceptance letter Obama's campaign manager sent to the Commission on Presidential Debates Saturday afternoon.

The presidential debates are scheduled for Sept. 26 in Oxford, Mississippi, Oct. 7 in Nashville, Tenn., and Oct. 15 on Long Island, N.Y. The Obama campaign also agreed to the standard vice presidential debate, which is slated for Oct. 2 in St. Louis.

The letter, written by David Plouffe, appears to bring to an end discussion of additional joint appearances, a point of contention between the two camps since McCain formally proposed a series of free-wheeling town-hall forums in early June.

While I continue to attempt to avoid linking to or even quoting stories from the Associated Press because of their amazingly hostle attitude toward blogs and bloggers, I'll paraphrase the AP report in saying that Obama's reversal on town hall debates is part of a play-it-safe strategy.

Douglass K Daniel, writing for the Associated Press broke the story. Daniel told his readers that unnamed advisers to the Obama, speaking on condition of strict and absolute anonymity, said that Obama is reluctant to take chances or give McCain a high-profile stage now that Obama's the front-runner.

This "play it safe" strategy is astonishingly stupid. Obama is acting like he is afraid of McCain.

It looks even worse because, at one point, the Obama camp was not only endorsing McCain's debate proposal, they were demanding it! From the CQ story linked above:

Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, had suggested after McCain first raised the prospect of town-hall debates in May that Obama would be interested in having more debates than just the typical three post-convention meetings and would favor a more open format.

"We're at war. Our economy is in turmoil. And we've got so many challenges that the people of this country deserve a serious discourse, and it shouldn't be limited necessarily to three kind of very regimented debates in the fall," Axelrod said on FOX News Sunday May 11. "We ought to begin sooner, and we ought to have a free-flowing conversation about where we want to take this country."

Under McCain's plan, the candidates would have met once a week between June and the Democratic National Convention at the tail end of August. Though it left room for negotiation of details, the McCain camp suggested that the candidates appear together for 60 to 90 minutes at each meeting and take "blind questions" from members of an audience ranging from 200 to 400 people.

Obama's stand hurts the American public and they will see it that way. And it adds to the Obama elitist image. McCain is carefully crafting himself as a populist. Obama is sipping his half decaf mochachino latte right into John McCain's trap.

Not that McCain will let us miss the image. Here's the McCain camp reply:

"John McCain looks forward to debating Barack Obama as often as possible, but it's disappointing that Sen. Obama has refused his offer to do joint town hall meetings," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. "We understand it might be beneath a worldwide celebrity of Barack Obama's magnitude to appear at town hall meetings alongside John McCain and directly answer questions from the American people, but we hope he'll reconsider."

I hope Barack Obama will reconsider, too.


Vigilante said...

I don't have enough patience with this issue, I guess, to do my own research. So I'll just ask you, Wizard: does the town hall model include moderator(s) or news correspondent(s)? If the answer is yes to either, I'm against Obama participating. I think you'll understand why.

Urban Pink said...

It seems to me that the leading candidate always sets the debate schedule, and it's usually the Republican who is "afraid" to debate, (according to our esteemed MSM), and it never seems to douse their chances at the White House. Heck, they flub debates and still win the Presidency! I don't think Americans care about debates much, and I think the Rick Warren debate will be the most significant one, by far, anyway.