Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Monday, August 11, 2008

Obama Eloquently Replies, "Nuh uh! You Are!"

...to John Mccain's charge that Obama is merely a political celebrity without the experience to lead. Seriously, right here. Aside from the completely unoriginal nature of merely saying, "I know you are, but what am I" in response to an opponent's attack ad, Obama has several problems here.

First of all, it mistakes John McCain's argument, which is twofold. He isn't simply saying that Obama is a celebrity as if this fact alone would make him an unfit and risky president. His message is that Obama's rise has been due to his celebrity, RATHER THAN EXPERIENCE OR ACCOMPLISHMENT, and therefore he would make an unfit and risky president. Even if Obama can successfully portray McCain as the true celebrity president rather than himself (a hard sell given that McCain has never jokingly been referred to as the Messiah, doesn't drape himself in glowing rhetoric about how his nomination marked the day that the waters would cease to rise, the poor would be fed, etc., and the fact that Obama is the one receiving hagiographic news coverage while McCain can't even get conservatives to say nice things about him), it does not logically follow that McCain's celebrity makes him a bad candidate. Obama seems to be trying to make the argument that McCain's status as a Washington insider makes him a bad potential president, a much more potentially fruitful line of attack, but mixing this with the celebrity response just muddies the more effective half of his message.

A more effective potential use of the celebrity counter-charge might be to argue that McCain is a celebrity seeker, who is driven by positive press rather than ideology. Hey, at least that message would resonate with many conservatives! However, I think it would be better for Obama to avoid the celebrity theme as much as possible. He's just fighting on a battleground of McCain's choosing, and any good general knows that you only do that when forced to. Since Obama still leads in the polls, he would be better off just avoiding this terrain. Trying to fight it out only increases the press attention on an Obama weakness.