Commenting on the recent ABC debate, Barack Obama lamented:

"Last night we set a new record. It took us 45 minutes ... before we heard about health care. Forty-five minutes before we heard about Iraq. Forty-five minutes before we heard about jobs. That's how Washington is."

Hillary's pointed and cleverly effective response:

"Having been in the White House for eight years, and seen what happens in terms of the pressures and stresses on a president, that was nothing."

"I'm with Harry Truman on this: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Speaking for myself, I'm very comfortable in the kitchen."

Score another rhetorical point for Hillary. The mainstream media crush on Obama has spoiled him. Aspirants to the presidency should expect hostile questions. It is time to "toughen this kid up."

The other point, of course, which begs address? Obama displays a ridiculous lack of self-awareness in complaining that no one wants to talk about the issues.

Which issues?

The issue of change, perhaps? The issues of guaranteed healthcare, risk-free mortgages, peace and prosperity, national solvency combined with universal affluence, and, don't forget, domestic political tranquility? We are going to achieve all these things and the lambs are going to lie down with the lions.

But those are not issues; they are merely bromides.

The real issues, just to name just a few: reconciling our nanny-state mentality with our finite resources. Social Security? Medicare? Bailouts? How to withdraw from Iraq, decrease military spending, down-size the army, and preserve our preeminent place and relative security in a hostile and changing world? Preserving a unifying nationalism in an increasingly apathetic and individualistic nation?

In reality, Senator Obama has no intention of addressing any truly pressing dilemmas with anything more specific than a "be the change you seek."

No candidate has done more to make this an issue-free presidential campaign than Barack Obama. Not that I blame him. This is the game--and it is an old game.

For kicks, reflect on this passage concerning the Election of 1848 taken from David M. Potter's The Impending Crisis (1976):

"The ambiguity of [Democratic nominee Lewis] Cass's position might well have won him the election in a more normal year, but the Whigs showed a talent for evasion that made the Democrats seem decisive by comparison."

The Whigs of 1848 passed over their experienced party leader and well-known warhorse, Henry Clay, to tap Zachary Taylor, who claimed no prior party affiliation (and had never even voted in a presidential election), but was a newly minted war hero whose political views were a mystery to voters.

Potter again: "While the Democrats had adopted a platform whose meaning no one could be sure about, the Whigs found a way to be evasive without equivocation: they adopted no platform at all."

"After a campaign in which most participants furiously avoided the issues, Taylor...won the election."

This is the way to win the presidency!

The game has always been to tell us as little as possible about yourself without being such a blank slate that you appear dangerously ill-equipped for the office.

Zachary Taylor ran a successful military campaign in a successful war. He might be a good president. You get the picture.

We are likely to fall for this ruse from time to time.

But Senator Obama reaches another level of arrogance and duplicity entirely when he lashes out with self-righteous calumny, accusing others of doing what has, in fact, formed the bedrock of his campaign: placing personality over serious policy proposals and problem solving.
Category: Campaign 2008.11
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A few weeks ago, I asserted that the real danger for Democrats this summer was not injuring one another playing hardball politics but in nominating the most unapologetically liberal candidate since George McGovern.

During the past three weeks, this analysis has become ubiquitous.

The Democrats have committed a foolish strategic error, which they cannot easily repair. However, despite our growing euphoric optimism, we should not lose sight of where we really are.

No matter what happens between now and August, this remains a Democratic year.

The eventual Democratic candidate of 2008 will run buoyed by intense George W. Bush fatigue. The electorate is restless with an unpopular five-year war with no end in sight, and the uncertainty concerning the economy always plays in favor of the out-party.

The eventual Democratic candidate of 2008 will run against a presumptive Republican nominee who is seventy-one-years-old, who is admittedly inexpert on the economic questions, and who stubbornly (albeit bravely) advocates extending the five-year war indefinitely.

Bottom Line. Incontrovertible Fact. This is a good year to run as a Democrat.

Other things to consider:

1. When Obama finally clinches the nomination, he will receive a tremendous bounce. All the bad will be forgotten, and the new storyline will be the impending "rout" on McCain.

2. Even with the ongoing love affair that is Obama and the national press corps, the Clintons retain enough power and possibility to influence media coverage right now. This will not be true of John McCain during the fall election. Barack Obama will enjoy protection from the mainstream media from Labor Day through the first Tuesday in November. Don't hold your breath waiting for George Stephanopoulos to ask irritating questions of the Democratic nominee during the homestretch. On the other hand, John McCain will face withering wall-to-wall coverage of every gaffe, potential hypocritical anomaly, and every ache and pain.

The media onslaught aimed at McCain is going to be brutal.

3. Finally, while McCain appeals to moderates, conservatives continue to revile him. Of course, they are closer to him philosophically than Obama or Clinton--but that may not be the question.

Conservatism (and right-wing talkers) do well with conservative leaders, and they do well with a liberal leader against whom they may fulminate, but "moderate" Republicans are much more troublesome.

Will conservatives get on board the McCain train? Only if it is in their interest. Does a McCain presidency further the interest of movement conservatism? The answer to that question will very likely determine the election.

Because the Democrats have erred so egregiously, Republicans have a chance. But is only a slim chance. A long General Election night for the GOP remains the most likely scenario in our future.
Category: Campaign 2008.11
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A few hundred years ago, Joe Biden said of Barack Obama:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Irony of Ironies: is Obama actually less articulate than we assumed? Of course, if articulate means "using language easily and fluently and persuasively," he is one of the most articulate national politicians to come down the pike in decades. But, if articulate means "silver-tongued," as in sharp and quick on his feet verbally, he is not nearly as fluid as we once thought.

His lackluster performance in the latest debate brings this home--but we have noticed for some time that he is much better standing alone at a podium delivering a speech than engaging in fast-paced conversational give-and-take on a stage with other political sharpies.

Why have we been slow to see this? Part of the problem lies in our prejudices (or to use a more benign phrase: our expectations). If he is to be the next great black leader, he must be a great speaker.

Part of the problem is that his real talent is confusingly connected to his oratory. His speeches can be incredibly moving (although I know a curiously high number of people who find him a total bore as a speech maker). But for the most part, he is an exciting speaker--after all, the girls aren't swooning for nothing.

But the key to Barack Obama's appeal is not necessarily his speaking ability. In truth, his uniqueness lies in his brilliance as a writer. In essence, he competently reads his outstanding speeches.

For all his gifts of persuasion, Obama is much more plodding law professor than he is scintillating trial attorney.
Category: Campaign 2008.11
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Does any of this "bitter" America "clinging" to God, guns, and backwardness really change the dynamic of this race?

So many seem to assume that this unguarded observation will arrive as a revelation.

Is this really a surprise to anyone?

We have spent the last few months dissecting the Obama appeal, and over the last few weeks we finally stumbled upon the missing element that explains so much: Obama, the product of the nation's most elite institutions of higher education, perfectly represents the liberal intelligentsia.

Who are the Obama-maniacs?

African Americans, the millennials, and the ever-present, ever-confident, not-so-young anymore, upwardly entrenched professional class.

This newly discovered third component consisting of well-heeled Ivy-Leaguers and Ivy-pretenders loves Obama with every fiber of their collective being.


He speaks their language. Consider once again the notorious example in question:

"[Successive presidents have] said that somehow these communities [small towns] are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Conservative pundits reacted in horror.

And, for the record, the Clintons, who desperately needed a turnover, are in the middle of this chaotic pile of humanity fighting for the football. They laid off the Wright comments last month, out-sourcing the dirty work to Hannity and Limbaugh, and those bumpkins made a mess of it. This time there is no room for error. The Clintons own this operation to expose the real Obama.

Will anybody care
about this window into Barack Obama's soul?

The reaction from Obama and so many of his fellow intellectuals?

What's the big deal? I am sorry if the truth hurts, but come on, folks, everybody knows this is right!

It is a telling response--but will anybody care?

No and Yes.

No. My sense is that the vast majority of Democrats agree with Obama for the most part.

In fact, my hunch is that the Clintons pretty much agree also--but, as the clock winds down, their need trumps their world view.

Again, this is not really a revelation for the heart of the Democratic Party.

So, what happens? This incident may or may not impact the Democratic nomination race. It likely helps Hillary some in Pennsylvania.

A Horse Race Aside: we are in the midst of a familiar pattern. Hillary holds a big lead in a big state. Obama chips away. Election day approaches with Obama surging and Hillary departure talk cresting. Then Hillary pulls away again on election day?

Is this the latest installment in that serial drama? Maybe. Of course, most "cardiac kids" eventually come up a little short in the end.

Either way, this bump in the road seems unlikely to derail the Obama juggernaut. As several pundits have asserted: no scenario in the Quaker State changes the overall math. Even I am finally coming around to the inevitability of Barack--but not completely; sometimes final straws are curious events. We will know soon.

However, even I admit now that Barack Obama is moving ever nearer to finally escaping the clutches of Hillary Clinton and emerging triumphant in this contest for nomination.

What then?

Will anybody care in the fall?

Yes--but probably not enough people.

There was so much talk today about this "revelation" rendering Obama unelectable in November. Again, I remain skeptical. Obama--if he were anybody but Obama--would be clearly unelectable in the Fall Election. In fact, Obama--if he were anybody but Obama--would be "un-nominatable" in the Democratic canvass. But Obama is Obama--and all previous rules go out the window in this race. As I have said before, Americans seem bound and determined to elect this man--and everything else (issues, experience, philosophy, etc.) is pretty much noise.

All of this gives a glimmer of hope to an old Republican warhorse--but we need to keep in mind, in the bigger picture (Bush fatigue, Iraq fatigue, and the economy) the Democratic candidate still holds all the high cards in the 2008 race.
Category: Campaign 2008.11
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
We are in the midst of a lot of crazy talk concerning the open slot for a John McCain running mate.

What about Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice? Frankly, the whole Condi idea strikes me as too “gimmicky.”

“Hey, look, they have a black candidate and we have one too.”

When conservative pundits raised the idea of the Secretary of State for top spot three years ago, I thought it was an interesting idea. I am actually a big Condi fan. However, it arrived a non-starter because of the trials and tribulations of the Bush White House (see Jay Cost for a statistical analysis of why this is a bad strategy--hint: 30-percent approval rating). Moreover, Rice has forcefully and repeatedly articulated her own apparently sincere desire not to be president.

Now, to go back to Rice in a frenzied attempt to achieve a racially balanced ticket and/or create excitement among conservatives seems utterly panic-driven and foolhardy.

An Aside: does Condoleeza Rice really pack the kind of appeal among conservatives that will somehow overcome the deep and abiding disgust for John McCain? I don't see that.

Turn the page.

I think those who have been suggesting Charlie Crist for the past few months are on the right track. Let’s get the four yards and a cloud of dust. Charlie Crist is not the big play, game-changing stroke of genius we would prefer--but he definitely helps a lot in Florida, and Florida is a must have.

Historically, it is a rare instance in which any second banana makes any difference anywhere other than their own state (and even that is not a given).

Can Crist win Florida for the ticket? Maybe. Maybe not—but, once again, he helps some in a very close and vital state.

Tim Pawlenty? He might swing Minnesota. Maybe. Maybe not. Minnesota would be nice. But Minnesota is more like three yards and a cloud of dust.

Are Crist and Pawlenty too moderate? Compared to what?

The strategy of pulling conservatives back in by establishing a rock-ribbed conservative as heir apparent would be fine--save for the dearth of rock-ribbed conservative heir apparents (see Cost again for the dilemma of the "weak GOP bench").

Governor Mark Sanford from South Carolina has been mentioned in this regard, and he seems like a nice fellow, but I am skeptical of this line of attack in general. More than likely, conservatives will be unmoved by any of this patchwork. There is nothing John McCain himself can do to appeal to conservatives (although he can take care not to continually alienate them)--and I remain unconvinced that any conservative VP can bridge this divide.

In the end, the McCain-hating conservatives will either come back around in the face of a very liberal Democratic nominee (most likely Barack Obama) or they won’t. Some conservatives are going to vote for Bob Barr and some will not vote at all. But mainly this election is going to be won in the middle. Who best appeals to Mr. and Mrs. Average American?

In a really odd development (within an abominably dismal year to run as a GOP candidate), wild card John McCain now holds a pretty enviable position with the non-aligned voters of America. John McCain has unorthodox appeal, which will be hard to counter. Independent voters will not buy the canard of McCain as a Bush third term. And, as we have said before, Obama is positioned too far Left for most voters--and this dissonance among the candidate and the plain folks of America will be the story to watch between now and November.

Time will tell. If the economy stays above deep and bitter recession—and the news from Iraq stays on a moderately positive track—John McCain maintains a slim chance to beat Barack Obama.

Of course, if the economy craters, or Iraq goes south, nothing can help McCain.
The day before all Hell broke lose regarding The Speech, Ron Fournier filed a story for the AP in which he claimed, Obama "bordered on arrogance."


"If arrogance is a display of self-importance and superiority, Obama earns the pejorative every time he calls his pre-invasion opposition to the war in Iraq an act of courage.

"While he deserves credit for forecasting the complications of war in 2002, Obama's opposition carried scant political risk because he was a little-known state lawmaker courting liberal voters in Illinois. In 2004, when denouncing the war and war-enabling Democrats would have jeopardized his prized speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, Obama ducked the issue.

"It may be that he has just the right mix of confidence and humility to lead the nation (Obama likes to say, 'I'm reminded every day that I'm not a perfect man'). But if the young senator wins the nomination, even the smallest trace of arrogance will be an issue with voters who still consider him a blank slate."

The Speech swept this trenchant observation piece away on a tidal wave of immediate analysis specific to the unfolding crisis--but Fournier, as always, was spot-on when it comes to character study.

An Aside: Fournier is an equal-opportunity iconoclast, unrelentingly fair and impartial as he is blistering in his critiques. You may remember these earlier pieces critical to the Clintons, which were devastatingly perceptive: here and here.

Now we learn somewhat inadvertently from John Heilemann, writing a "will she or won't she for the good of the party" piece for New York Magazine, that Obama clumsily squandered a logical John Edwards endorsement back in February.

How did he boot the fairly routine play?

According to Heilemann, "Obama came across as glib and aloof" with the vanquished but still very proud couple:

"His response to Edwards’s imprecations that he make poverty a central part of his agenda was shallow, perfunctory, pat. Clinton, by contrast, engaged Edwards in a lengthy policy discussion. Her affect was solicitous and respectful. When Clinton met Edwards face-to-face in North Carolina ten days later, her approach continued to impress; she even made headway with Elizabeth. Whereas in his Edwards sit-down, Obama dug himself in deeper, getting into a fight with Elizabeth about health care, insisting that his plan is universal (a position she considers a crock), high-handedly criticizing Clinton’s plan (and by extension Edwards’s) for its insurance mandate."

One more piece of anecdotal evidence. Several of my female colleagues (not all of them Hillary supporters) have been telling me for months now that Obama is too arrogant and patronizing.

In terms of arrogance, ironically, Obama is reminiscent of George Bush in 2000 in that both men emerged inexperienced and relatively unknown--but likable and supremely confident. Like Senator Obama, Governor Bush marshaled his light resume as an asset: he would set a "new tone" in Washington and be a "uniter not a divider." Of course, a suspicious press corps raised the specter of "gravitas" in 2000, and Mr. Bush faced nagging questions back then regarding his "smirk" and his "swagger." Thus far, for the most part, Candidate Obama has fairly skirted similar pejorative personality assessments.

But perhaps the honeymoon is coming to an end. Perhaps "arrogance" is the next nettlesome hurdle for the junior senator from Illinois.
The talk of an impending implosion for the Blue Team continues to rage.

In a nutshell: the conventional wisdom of the moment confidently asserts that a rancorous primary equals a big loss in November.

This storyline is mostly driven by partisans for the candidate slightly ahead right now, who see advantage in prematurely calling the contest on account of damp underpants, and a press corps that lacks a sense of history or the ability to take the long view--but loves to push the panic button and breathlessly report on an onrushing cataclysm.

An aside: none of us are very good at predicting the future--but no cohort in America is any less prescient than the jittery chattering class of mainstream media impalas, nervously sniffing the wind, kibitzing with one another as they pass the time between dashing off to the next stampede.

There is a crisis looming for the Democrats--but it is a brand of trouble that they all seem completely blind to at the moment. The Democratic Party is not positioning itself very wisely for a general election.

First, the good news for Democrats.

No matter what happens between now and August, this remains a Democratic year.

The eventual Democratic candidate of 2008 will run buoyed by intense George W. Bush fatigue. The electorate is restless with an unpopular five-year war with no end in sight, and the uncertainty concerning the economy always plays in favor of the out-party.

The eventual Democratic candidate of 2008 will run against a presumptive Republican nominee who is seventy-one-years-old, who is admittedly inexpert on the economic questions, and who stubbornly (albeit bravely) advocates extending the five-year war indefinitely.

Bottom Line. Incontrovertible Fact. This is a good year to run as a Democrat.

However, for the first time in a long time, I am starting to believe that John McCain has a slim chance to prevail in November.

But not for all the conventional hand-wringing reasons we keep hearing presently.

Why might McCain actually have a chance?

The unique and thoroughly unpredictable Obama Phenomenon has pushed the Democratic party well to the left of traditional viability.

Obama is the most unapologetically liberal candidate to seriously contend for the Democratic nomination since George McGovern.

Obama is unabashedly against the war in Iraq. He is no less adamant on this point than Dennis Kucinich.

Anti-war candidates do not get elected president of the United States. Never. Not once.

Mrs. Clinton certainly understood this, which is why she began her campaign for the nomination as a centrist Democrat, strong on defense, tough as nails on terrorism, and committed to success in Iraq.

But then came unforeseen calamities between the Tigris and the Euprhates--and then came Obama. When she voted for the war back in 2002, she bet on a more competent Bush administration and a few more of the intangibles breaking our way--but Iraq surprised everyone. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton is the only person in America who had more to lose from a mishandled Iraq than George Bush.

A festering Iraq opened up the door for O--and he did the rest with his charisma, oratory, message of reconciliation, and implicit offer of racial redemption.

But the Obama Juggernaut comes with a price. Not only is Obama anti-war, he is for higher taxes, national health insurance, more social programs, a radically liberal view of America and its place in the world, and a whole host of things to which most Americans are completely unsympathetic.

These are views that Republicans take great pains to project on a Democratic candidate (oftentimes needing to exaggerate for political purposes). There will be no distortion necessary in the case of Obama. He is the genuine article.

If Obama wins the nomination, Democrats will need to hold their breath for three months, hoping that the "spell" does not wear off before the first Tuesday in November. For, stripped of the magic, Obama's views on public policy and political philosophy are not the stuff of successful general election campaigns.

And, even if Mrs. Clinton "steals" the nomination between now and August, she has tarried too long in the left-wing morass: parroting his anti-Iraq rhetoric, bad-mouthing free trade, and promising billions to every American in need. She had no choice: she had to either move left or get crushed--nevertheless, there she is, spinning her wheels in the soft turf of liberal disconnect.

Mrs. Clinton has enough political acumen to start steering back toward the center line ASAP--but is it too late? Will she be able to gain traction? Has she gone too far? Specifically, would she lose all credibility, if she suddenly started speaking sanely on Iraq again for a general election audience?

Of course, let me repeat, this is such a dismal year for the GOP--none of that may matter. But it gives McCain some hope.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers; it is always an honor--but we especially appreciate the company. In tribute to the Senator from CT, here is the BB "Lieberman file" from 2006.
D-Day: War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it's over! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's on a roll.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...
[thinks hard]
Bluto: the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!
[runs out, alone; then returns]
Bluto: What the [expletive deleted] happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my [expletive deleted] from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer...
Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these [expletive deleted]. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let's do it.
Bluto: LET'S DO IT!

I continue to be flabbergasted by the parade of effete column-writers and faint-hearted Democratic Party hand-wringers who suggest that Mrs. Clinton should quit.

Did these guys never have a high school football coach?

Quitters never win and winners never quit.

There is time on the clock, and she's got the ball. Granted, she needs to march the length of the field and three points won't win it--but so what. Fourth quarter, man! This is why you come out for two-a-days in the heat of August. Gut-check time.

Seriously, what kind of a message would a Hillary capitulation send to the youth of America?

Quitting is for lightweights like John Edwards. Mrs. Clinton may go down, but she goes down swinging. She doesn't quit; they have to beat her (God help them).

Nancy Pelosi be damned, I still think this thing is going the distance.
An old coarse joke:

A man walks into a supermarket and ponders which toilet paper to purchase. He asks a stock person about the generic option. "Oh this is the new no-name line of products," he says. "They are much cheaper. Give it a try."

A few days later the shopper encounters the stock person in the supermarket once again: "I've come up with a name for your no-name toilet paper."


"Yes," the consumer says, "you can call it John Wayne toilet paper, because it's rough and tough and don't take excrement off nobody."

If I were to tell that joke today, with all due respect to the Duke, I would probably call it "Hillary Clinton" toilet paper.

Politics aside, she is one muy mal hombre.

A brief history of the repeated and exaggerated reports of the political demise of Hillary Clinton:

Dead as a doornail on the eve of NH (which she won). Clinging to life on the morning after NH and dead on the eve of Nevada (which she won). Dead after South Carolina. Presumed dead on the eve of Super Tuesday, after the Kennedy family collectively passed the torch to Barack Obama, mainstreaming the young lion for old guard Democrats and presumably neutralizing Hispanics--do you recall the spate of Bobby and César Chávez stories?

However, Mrs. Clinton spoiled her impending funeral by winning California, Arizona, and New Mexico on the strength of Latino votes, holding off a serious charge in New York and New Jersey, winning handily in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, and, sweetest of all, winning by a wide margin in Kennedy-land: Massachusetts, where both senators and the sitting governor endorsed her opponent.

Then came the Obama winning streak, fourteen in a row (including Virginia and Wisconsin).

Especially dead after Wisconsin. The week prior to Ohio and Texas ("Hillary's Last Stand"), Jonathan Alter exhorted her to show some class, respect party unity, and quit before any more votes could be cast.

An Observation: every Jonathan Alter column must include a random FDR quote, an ostensibly fair-minded weighing of the facts, followed by a conclusion that finds that Hillary is finished and Obama is ascendant.

Mrs. Clinton elected not to follow Alter's advice.

It was March 4th and long, and she stepped back into the pocket, scrambled, somehow evaded the grasp of several 300-pound linemen, and threw a perfect strike thirty yards down the field, which she somehow pinned with one hand against her helmet for one of the greatest big plays in the history of primaries.

She won RI, Texas, and Ohio.

Still alive.

Now after losing two more primaries that do not really matter much, the funeral dirge is once again playing non-stop on every station.

Now she is Tanya Harding. "She can only win by destroying her opponent." Yeah, that's how it pretty much works in American politics.

Jonathan Alter is taking a rest, evidently, but he must have tagged David Brooks to beat on Mrs. Clinton for a few rounds.

Brooks repeats the suggestion that Clinton do the heroic thing for her nation and her party and quit:

"If she [withdraws voluntarily], she would surprise everybody with a display of self-sacrifice. Her campaign would cruise along at a lower register until North Carolina, then use that as an occasion to withdraw."

Are these guys watching the same game I am?

One more time: this nomination will be decided by superdelegates. Both sides have arguments to make for the nod. Obama has the better case on the numbers--but that does not matter. Hillary's claim is compelling enough, especially with a big victory in Pennsylvania and solid wins in Indiana and North Carolina—from which she can emerge as the candidate with momentum.

Moreover, Obama just took his first big hit over the last fortnight. Barack boosters, like David Brooks, would like us to believe that Obama "weathered the Rev. Jeremiah Wright affair without serious damage to his nomination prospects," but I am skeptical.

There is a lag time to public polling. The daily numbers will be behind any real change in public sentiment resulting from this imbroglio. The public has not really had time to digest this affair.

In truth, Obama sustained a serious shot to his image, and we have no idea how debilitating the wound will prove to be.

Hillary Clinton would be foolish not to keep throwing into the end zone. Knowing what we know about her and this campaign thus far, we would be foolish to bet against her.

Endnote: kudos to Howard Kurtz for his tongue-in-cheek treatment of this phenomenon earlier in the week.
This afternoon, Robert M. Goldberg, vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (whatever that is), writing for The American Spectator, charged Barack Obama surrogate, Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, USAF, Ret., with pursuing an anti-Israel agenda.

McPeak recently in the news charging former-President Bill Clinton with McCarthy-like innuendo, serves as an "Obama for President" co-chair.

According to Goldberg, "McPeak has a long history of criticizing Israel" and its insistence on holding on to territory won during wars with Arab neighbors.

Goldberg quotes McPeak In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, complaining that the Israeli lobby (Jews) intimidated American politicians from pursuing American interest in the Middle East.

I do not know Goldberg. The Spectator is an unabashedly agenda-driven opinion journal. Having said that, if this assessment bears out, taken on the heels of Senator Obama's Jeremiah Wright problem, this revelation poses another serious distraction for the Obama campaign.

Goldberg writes:

"Obama has a Jewish problem and McPeak's bigoted views are emblematic of what they are. Obama can issue all the boilerplate statements supporting Israel's right to defend itself he wants. But until he accepts responsibility for allowing people like McPeak so close to his quest for the presidency, Obama's sincerity and judgment will remain open questions."

Only time will tell, but this looks like something worth watching.