Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Just Another Politician - Barack Obama

Everyone is going on about the cover of the New Yorker. To me this almost seems like an intentionally bit of spin because they would really prefer that you not read the article in the New Yorker titled, "Making It."

The reason why is because you have several very hard hitting pages that completely substantiate the phrase that pays with regard to this political season. That phrase is that Barack Obama is just another politician. The second he becomes just another politician, people will investigate his positions and that guarantees a loss.

People at this stage have not looked at all at the positions of Obama. He won the Democratic nomination largely because it was a personality contest. The talking points from him and his campaign were always about how Barack himself is so special that his very presence will guarantee the results everyone wants. What is that result? Please don't ask about that, just chant change and hand over your wallet. Obama is The One™ as told to us by Oprah. Obama is "special" as noted by his wife. The two books that Obama has penned, "Dreams of my Father," and "The Audacity of Hope," are not policy books or plans. Instead they present Obama as a unique and transcendent figure who has gone on a journey, learned from it and now is the only person that has the perspective to fix our nation.

This is why time and time again, the more Obama talks, the more political damage he takes and the lower his poll numbers drop. Throughout the campaign thoughtful people have asked what is the basis for the hope and change that his campaign promises. It is not a plan or an idea, but a man. Hope and change are nothing more than synonyms for Barack Obama.

The real fear is that anyone with a half decent plan, and organization who can drive the campaign away from this personality driven cult will not only defeat Obama, but crush him. This is why issues of any sort work disproportionately against Obama. Discussion of the surge, oil prices and energy plans, pretty much anything reveals him to be "a typical politician" and move him away from a discussion of his transcendent journey causes disproportionate damage to his campaign. The cover of New Yorker wasn't offensive because of how it portrayed Obama. It was offensive to his supporters because "once-in-a-generation, unique, and special people who don't really want power, but must take it so they can rise above politics and save this country" are not typical and normal which means they cannot be lampooned or given over to a laugh track. Obama cannot be late night fodder because that would mean his is absolutely typical.

Which shows us all exactly what we need to do with regard to defeating him. Repeat it like a chant. Show it in every way possible. Barack Obama is just another politician. He is no different than a John Kerry or an Al Gore. He will manipulate. He will say what is needed to get elected. He will go negative and attack. He will buy the election if it is possible for him to do so. His past shows him to be nothing extraordinary and quite ordinary. Even if every single one of these points is made and lands in reverse on McCain the effect will not be the same. McCain is just an old politician with a plan. He is not a transcendent messianic figure who is above the fray.

The best part about this is it clearly works against the race card that the Obama campaign keeps playing. If Obama is your neighbor, the guy you meet at the supermarket, then how can you hate him or hold a prejudice against him? However your neighbor or guy at the supermarket wouldn't be elected just because of their sparkling personality, they would need a good plan. You like your neighbor but he is not a rock star.

So let's make it about the plan. Let's demand Obama do everything a typical politician does and emphasize more than ever how very typical he happens to be. "Just another politician" is the phrase that will win this election for Republicans.