When Barack Obama’s campaign decided to purge their official website of the candidate’s former criticism of the “surge” in Iraq, the story was instantly linked on the Drudge Report and became yesterday’s No. 1 topic du jour on talk radio.
It was the kind of embarrassment that cut three ways against Obama — reminding hawks on the Right of the Democrat’s anti-war stance, pouring salt in the wounds of Democrats who’d supported Obama precisely because of his anti-war stance, and hurting him with independents by enhancing the Illinois senator’s growing reputation as an untrustworthy flip-flopper.
The most important point of yesterday’s gaffe, however, is that Obama’s Long March to the Democratic nomination was not much of a warm-up for the media environment he’ll face as the general election campaign comes into clear focus this fall.
It’s as if a promising recruit in Class A baseball were to find himself suddenly catapulted into the major leagues, eagerly leaning into the plate in his first at-bat, only to have the pitcher aim a 95-mph fastball at his ear.
Welcome to the big leagues, rookie.
UNLIKE HIS UPSET of Hillary Clinton, the fall season will pit Obama against the concerted efforts of the conservative communications apparatus his campaign has dubbed the “Republican attack machine.”
Obama knows all about that machine — he might never have gotten this far had it not been for the assistance of the Right in making Hillary a soft target for the challenger.
Recent years saw an outpouring of anti-Clinton books by conservative authors including John Podhoretz, Amanda Carpenter, and The American Spectator’s own R. Emmett Tyrrell.
Throughout her 2007 reign as the “inevitable” Democratic front-runner, Clinton faced a relentless cacophony of criticism from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other talk-radio hosts, as well as a steady stream of negative attention from conservative columnists and magazines.
Many observers felt that Matt Drudge especially had it in for Hillary, headlining every negative item about her campaign at his site that functions as the de facto online one-stop shop for national news.
“Progressives” who now celebrate Obama’s nomination as the triumph of Hope seem not to have pondered this key question: To what extent was his victory produced by decidedly unprogressive forces who — looking forward to the general election — figured that the callow upstart would be easier to defeat than the crafty Clinton crew who’d beaten the GOP in every previous match-up?
EVIDENCE OF THE INFLUENCE that conservative communicators wielded over the Democratic nominating process is apparent in the trajectory of the campaign.
Hillary remained the clear leader until the Oct. 30 debate in which she stumbled badly when asked about a proposal by New York’s then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
Is immigration an issue where liberals are conflicted? When debate moderator Tim Russert asked Hillary’s Democratic rivals for a show of hands if anyone disagreed with Spitzer’s proposal, it was not Obama but Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd who spoke up, prompting Clinton’s disastrous facing-both-ways attempt to “clarify” her position.
Limbaugh and other conservative media spent the next several days hammering Hillary for her gaffe, and within weeks, Obama moved ahead in the polls for the first time.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?