Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lead, follow or get out of the way

"Obama reverses two positions in new energy plan" - AP, Aug. 5
"Obama reverses, passing up on public campaign money" - AP, June 20
"Obama reverses (fill in the blank)"

You heard it here first: Obama has lost the election.

Shower me with pooh-bahs if I'm proved wrong in November, but I believe John McCain's growing poll numbers are tied as much to his well-crafted image (Obama ain't the only one with PR people!) as with the Democrats' inability to lead with a message.

Why else would Obama's campaign start looking more at poll numbers on issues like Iraq, gun control, the death penalty, off-shore drilling, public campaign funding and (reportedly) wearing a flag pin rather than sticking to his message of leadership and change?

It's called the middle voter. The swing voter. The undecided voter. But Democrats can't be so stupid to think that playing to the middle while dissing the support that brought Obama the party nomination will win an election, right? Right?

The middle should be led to Obama's positions not pandered to so Obama is led to them. Obama's reversals -- call them "moving to the middle," if you will -- may be few, but they have created a perception of Obama as a waffler instead of a leader.

Are these policy reversals because the Democrats are so inept at running a national campaign or is it because the GOP has infiltrated the upper echelon of the Democratic Party? Yeah, I believe Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone, but Republicans are the Kings of Dirty Tricks. Remember the implosion of Ed Muskie's campaign? Or how the hostages in Iran were magically released when Ronald Reagan became president and after Jimmy Carter's presidency had become saddled with hostage images? Or how John Kerry lost to the most unpopular president in American history?

The real reason George II was re-elected in 2004 wasn't because he knew the issues and tried to collect a few more votes by shifting his position. He's no brainiac. The man (by perception) leads -- albeit down the path to destruction! -- but he (with his shadow advisors) leads. And American voters will follow anyone as long as they believe he/she inspires them. That's why Obama's campaign surged, and that's why McCain's is gaining now.

Democrats better find and shoot the pig in the Obama campaign right now, or they've lost - again.

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