Obama The Wimp

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.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Always Us vs Them and name-calling. Typical partisan crap. Where’s your story about Bush and McCain’s hypocrisy. Bush said, “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.”And McCain said, “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”

  2. You just can’t stand any criticism of Obama at all, can you? Can you name something about Obama, either in terms of political style or policies advocated, that you DON’T like, Thomas?

  3. TL, Visit my blog. I have a post entitled Obama Disappoints. Get off your high horse, Transplanted Lawyer.And I must admit that I haven’t completely ruled out voting for Nader if Obama continues to disappoint. And another post entitled: Will the Democrats Be Any Better?What you call criticism (calling someone a wimp) is not fair or balanced. You clearly have different standards for those you favor. That is certainly your prerogative, but it doesn’t help foster rational dialogue.

  4. Respectfully, Thomas, I read the post you referenced, and I can’t figure out exactly what it was you found disappointing in Obama, other than a generalized view that he was slanting more rightward to appeal to general-election voters once he locked up the nomination — and you excused him for doing that. I can speculate about what you were thinking about — offshore oil drilling, perhaps — but I don’t know if that is what got you upset at Obama last month.In the meantime, I stand by my characterization of Obama’s very recent conduct as wimpy. He’s got more steel in him than he’s been displaying of late, and I like him better when he shows it.

  5. TL,If you read the link to The Nation article, you will understand that not only am I disappointed in a generalized move by Obama to the right, but more specifically in his new stance on FISA among other things (including offshore drilling). Exactly where in my post did I excuse Obama? I wouldn’t call the fact that I understand why he might do such a thing an excuse. I specifically said, “There wouldn’t be any confusion if he stood by his principles.” My opinion is that Obama should stand by his principles for a long enough time for them to legitimately become his principles. Once he started pandering to others in order to get elected (how convenient), he started representing more of the same. Despite this, as I mentioned, I still plan to vote against McCain. Obama still has my vote, but it certainly isn’t set in stone. I still reserve the right to vote for Nader or some other 3rd party candidate. I suspect you will vote for McCain no matter what he does.Of course TL, you have every right to stand by your characterization of Obama. That’s exactly what I expected you to do…Are you still on your high horse?More steel in him? How male-centric of you. Perhaps Obama is just metrosexual (or a girly man according to most Republicans). Like I said before, you may continue to call people names, but that certainly doesn’t foster rational dialogue. Take care.

Comments are closed.