Ok, this page was named a little harshly – Op-Ed Failure. But, I’m quite proud of this piece written on January 16, 2008 when it looked like things had fully peaked for Obama and all the momentum was slowing/awkwardly slipping away. Unfortunately, the opinion & editorial boards at the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, etc. wouldn’t pick it up. Maybe my expectations were a little too high? Ha! Oh well…
The Complacency of Now
For what it’s worth, let me begin by professing my sincere support of Barack Obama. He’s running a classy campaign and thoroughly understands the most pressing issues facing our country. In no particular order, the United States must find alternative energies, become respected again by the international community, invest in technology R & D, embrace/understand globalization so our economy grows as quickly as the world’s, and improve PK-12 education.
However, all the “hope” Obama stands to offer will (obviously) go to waste if he doesn’t find some sort of sustained momentum before February 5th. I say this as a matter of fact because he won’t have the same youth turnout in every important February 5th state like he did in Iowa. The youth in Iowa were licking their chops for 12 months narcissistically waiting for America to watch them turn out and vote for a politician that can actually make a difference in America.
Obama’s win in Iowa – contrary to pundit belief – did not prove that our country is less racially divided than previously theorized. It simply proved that a majority of 228,000 Iowans – whether racially motivated or not – agreed that he was someone that could bring together all sides and solve the aforementioned pressing issues. Understanding the only way Obama wins the Democratic nomination is if he swept all four pre February 5th primaries and caucuses, the Clintons (plural) realized they had to do literally anything to win New Hampshire. Let the FUN begin.
Hillary cries at a simple question that shouldn’t bring any normal or sensible president, leader, candidate, woman, etc. to tears. Amongst other twisted words and statements deceitfully derived from the Obama campaign, Bill brings up the previously retracted “D-Punjab” comment. Bill – who has seemingly made this an “elect one get one free” campaign – continues the onslaught by explaining the Obama candidacy is a fairy tale. The Obama campaign was complacent and let their plan of attack unfold without any formal/public response or rebuttal before the primary other than telling Hillary she was “likeable enough” in a horrible debate moment. Hillary wins NH.
Obama’s campaign essentially ended January 8th unless he retaliates by questioning Hillary’s sanity (see breakdown in NH), inability to make any real changes if elected, connections to lobbyists/big business, scandals such as Whitewater, failure to accomplish any major initiative as First Lady, the unwillingness to release Clinton’s national archives, etc. Furthermore, he needs to publicly chastise Bill Clinton’s Karl Roveish lie spreading, truth stretching, and negative campaigning tactics. In a generation of shock and awe, Obama must be overly aggressive and make a move now in order to impact Americans whom solely care about momentum and popularity when entering the voting booth.
The only way Obama can be overly aggressive – and thus get attention to Clinton’s campaign defects – is by directly calling her out during a nationally televised event like the two remaining debates in South Carolina or Los Angeles. Releasing a press statement to the mainstream media – as he did about Bill Clinton twisting his words during the NH primary – is not aggressive enough nor would it gather enough mainstream media attention to impact voter response. Even if Obama wins Nevada and South Carolina, Clinton will still be the front runner but ironically at the same time a perceived underdog on February 5th because of her recent losses. Without Obama picking up any momentum in the relatively near future by addressing Clinton’s faulty campaign/character, Americans will have no reason to support anyone but Hillary – the national front runner since day one.
We’re currently in the midst of an eight lap race, Obama is pacing twelve lengths behind, and there are only 200 meters remaining. Assuming the Clintons don’t shoot themselves in the foot before the finish line, America will be forced to endure 8 more years of the last 16 years unless Obama focuses on the fierce urgency of now, rather than his campaign’s current complacency of now.