I’m not saying wimps can’t win Presidential elections. They have. George Bush the Elder was thought of as a wimp. And Jimmy Carter, I mean, really, have we had a bigger wimp in office since Franklin Pierce?
But I can’t understand why Obama’s been acting all wimpy-like lately. He had a weak-sister reaction to the South Ossestian War. He’s caving in to Hillary Clinton’s demand for a roll-call vote at the Democratic Convention. He’s exposed himself to a variety of strange fund-raising issues. He could defuse the fund-raising problems if he tried. He didn’t have to actually risk his nomination by having a floor vote. He could have actually threatened to do something to Russia to pressure it to stop its aggression. But he didn’t do any of those things; instead, he’s been oddly passive about all of these things.
Where’s the fight in him? We saw flashes of it in the primaries, so we know there’s something there. But it seems odd indeed that Obama is transforming himself into a kinder, gentler candidate. I don’t see how it helps him appeal to those voters who are on the fence, particularly in battleground states.
Somehow, Democrats let the issue of high gas prices get flipped around against them, and suddenly it’s all about drilling for oil and being Republican. And when the elephants were making that happen, there wasn’t a peep from the donkeys; Obama’s only comeback was to get your car tuned up and check the tire pressure. While this may actually be useful for some folks, it sounds like weak ketchup and in politics, perception matters at least as much as substance. The result was forcing a flip-flop and resulting egg on Obama’s face.
It seems to me that passivity is not a good recipe for a Democratic victory. The Democrats are still the challengers; they’re the ones who have to flip a state or two from the 2004 results. Obama can do this if he tries, as I see it, but right now he doesn’t look like he’s trying very hard. I’d still say Obama is the favorite, but given the current political landscape, McCain has a reasonable shot at winning this election outright.