A couple of thoughts on the Presidential race:
Two weeks ago, I concluded that this year's Presidential race was sizing up to be a flawed candidate verses a flawed campaign.
The flawed candidate was Barack Obama. His meteoric rise and the accompanying excitement that surrounded this young, charismatic politician was flawed as well. At the same moment this excitement was being unleashed, it was being met with an underlying realization that we would have to trust someone we knew very little about with handling our nation's most important Office. This excitement was also tempered due to the uneasiness and fear that his lack of inexperience brought. The charisma from his ear-to-ear smile faded as the American people, one by one, discovered his extremist views as a legislator. Even the Democrats within his own party, one by one, experienced his political double-speak. As Obama told a pro-life crowd at Saddleback Church that determining life's beginning was "above [his] pay grade," he also told pro-choice people he had no principled view so his position could change on them as well.
The flawed campaign in my conclusion was John McCain’s. It was a dormant campaign that let his rival stir up excitement exclusively, and a sizable war chest, while putting up no fight. This was inexcusable. It was a campaign that fled from the party's social conservative base; which delivered George W. Bush the Presidency twice. This was ineptness. The campaign not only ignored the P.R. game, it allowed Obama to define the race. Obama was a young vibrant man surfing in the Hawaiian surf; McCain was a senior citizen with dermatologist appointments on his calendar to get melanomas removed from his face when he wasn’t covering up from the sunlight wearing blue-blocker sunglasses.
So what happened this week?
McCain’s campaign became less flawed:
McCain forcefully served up everything that the social conservatives wanted to hear in the Saddleback debate and started attacking Obama's weaknesses. In short, he started running a campaign. The Zogby poll reported McCain overtook Obama by five points within the past week.
Then, the flawed candidate became more flawed:
Obama spent most of this debate surgically choosing his words like he was the accused at a legal deposition giving the appearance that he is covering something up. I personally noticed that his eyes for the majority of the time as he spoke where looking down and to the right, similar to what a used car salesman does before he asks you to sign on the dotted line.
With this understanding, I had a new belief this week that explained the voter swing very succinctly.
Barack Obama is a great auditor who can excite crowds of tens of thousands of people with a speech, but can’t handle an intimate debate. He becomes a distinguished, evening anchorman with pre-written cue cards, but an arrogant, slithering trial lawyer that you would not want at your barbecue when he has to think on his feet and when he is not in absolute control of the situation. He is a manufactured candidate.
To prove this, I will stay within the Democratic Party. The momentum for their primaries abruptly changed, almost mortally for Obama, starting at the New Hampshire primary debate. Obama achieved the unbelievable feet of making the human Ice Queen, Hillary Clinton, look warm and approachable. His response to the moderator’s question, “Why don’t people like you, Hillary?” was as canned as it was pre-written. He said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary...” The consonant politician. He gave a response that would sound positive to Clinton’s supporters, but leave out an absolute confirmation, using the term “enough”, which still left Hillary’s likability needing. Note: He made this cocky statement while looking down, again.
After this disturbing round of intimacies/debates with Obama, the Democrats started to flee to Clinton. Clinton started winning primaries, and fell just short in primaries and time to win the nomination. If this debate happened a month sooner, it is my opinion the Democrats would have a different nominee.
A comment that was unleashed to the media during this Clinton resurgence was that Obama was having a tough time in “closing the deal.” I have a feeling that this came from James Carville, a top Clinton’s adviser - - it sounds like him, and underscores all the points I have made. The more you are exposed to Obama candidly, the more you are likely to vote for someone else, consequently the more difficulty he has with a prolonged campaign.
There are many more Presidential debates to go. Many more times for the American people to have intimacy with Barack Obama and see him in an uncontrolled environment. These debates won’t serve Obama well. He does not have any electoral votes under his belt to serve as his safety net as he did in the Democratic primaries. The debates will serve McCain well who has more than enough time to let Obama expose himself some more. Going forward, McCain will just have to count his houses correctly before the debates.