What’s Barry To Do Now?

Via blogger friend Buck: Peggy Noonan has some ideas.

No more scattered, listless riffs; back to the podium and the prepared–and focused–speech. Campaign as a duo, Obama-Biden, together again. Obama alone looks like he’s part of nothing.

You must aim your fire at the top of the ticket, John McCain, and not at this beautiful girl, Sarah Palin, about whom you can do nothing.

You can never kill her now. Forget it. She can hurt herself, but in terms of Democratic attacks she is bulletproof. You made her that–she wasn’t that way when she walked in.

Hope that Mr. McCain stops campaigning with her and spins her off into her own orbit, to small towns and medium-sized cities. It will cut his recent power in half. Some press will follow her, but mostly on gaffe patrol. They will want to keep their main lens on Obama and McCain.

This is going to be the only way to contain her power: Ignore it. [emphasis mine]

How bad is it for Obama…does it require a band aid, or surgery? Only time will tell. But early signs indicate that a metal can out of the medicine cabinet and a kiss from momma isn’t in the works. Blogger friend Rick points to Drudge, who provides a recap that fits in with a lot of other gaugings I’ve been seeing this week: AP; Gallup; Rasmussen. The angles of perspective change, but the situation remains substantially the same. The Messiah has some work to do.

That in itself wouldn’t be so alarming for those who have been so giddy and excited over this “change,” since a lot can happen between now and November. Chosen One’s hapless situation is more clearly illustrated when one ponders what he can, and cannot, do to dig himself out of this hole. The perception among his base has been that his side has a monopoly on new ideas. This is not only false, but hypocritical. And the hypocrisy is going to be his undoing, here, I think; if he really had some new ideas this would be nothing but a temporary hiccup.

But he has none. So there’s only one thing left he can do, which is to slime the other side.

Trouble with that, is this is how he got in trouble over the last two weeks in the first place — as Noonan said, they made Gov. Palin bulletproof. She continues:

Here was the central liberal mistake [with Palin]: They used the atom bomb just a few days in. They used it so brutally, and yet so ineptly, in a way so oblivious to the true contours of the field, that the radiation blew back over their own lines. They used it without preliminary diplomatic talks, multilateral meetings or Security Council debate. They just went boom. And it boomeranged.

The atom bomb was personal and sexual perfidy, backwoods knuckle-draggin’ ma and pa saying, Tell the neighbors the baby’s ours. Then the ritual abuse of the 17-year-old girl. Then the rest of it–bad mother, religious weirdo.

All of this was unacceptable to normal Americans. They experienced it as the town gossip spreading rumor and slander before the new neighbor even got to put down her bags. It offended the American sense of fairness. And — it still lives! — gallantry.

Most crucially, the snobbery of it, the meanness of it, reminded the entire country, for the first time in a decade, what it is they don’t like about the left. Really, America had forgotten. Mr. Obama’s friends reminded them. Unforgettably.

Noonan’s virtue here is that she charmingly leaves things unsaid, a talent that continues to elude us. It is simply not possible for Barack Obama to appeal to the passions of his base and follow her advice. Those passions are consequential to having a club, filled with good, wonderful left-wing progressive people; that, in turn, is meaningful only if the club is elite. There have to be people who are not in the club. This is necessary, so the people in the club can think their happy thoughts about how much worse the outliers are, as human beings, compared to them.

For the most impassioned and loyal supporters of Obama and his hopenchange, this election is not about policy at all. It is about being, over doing. It’s about them being superior to others. They’ll insist on being reminded of it, constantly, for they do not believe in it. Things have changed since ’96, when incumbent President Bill Clinton lunged himself at challenger Bob Dole, extending his left hand with a big smile on his face. That was a classy move (Sen. Dole is permanently disabled in his right arm), and may have earned the former President some points. This isn’t like that at all. For all the talk of inclusion amidst the talk about hope and change, the Obama camp demands exclusion. It’s what the campaign is all about. They’re good people; everyone else is not.

It’s a pretty tough spot to be in. A lot can change in eight weeks, but for right now Sens. Obama and Biden are left with a problem, and no solution possible whatsoever. They’ll have to wait for some serendipitous event that might turn things around for them — hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

(Blogger friend Gerard Van der Leun has a graphic that I think speaks solidly to this particular issue; language warning.)

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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