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The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time." Holmes: "That was the curious incident." -- Sir Alfred Arthur Conan Doyle, "Silver Blaze"

As I watched last Wednesday's presidential debate, I found myself nodding when John McCain kept reminding us that as eloquent as Senator Obama is, that is when you have to pay him the most attention -- because that's usually when what he is not saying is the most relevant.

McCain chose to bring that up when Obama talked about offshore drilling for oil ("we'll have to look into it" and abortion (how "health of the mother" has been stretched to be meaningless). But there was another time when Obama spoke at length that I found myself listening to what was unsaid:

MCCAIN:I have fought against spending. I have fought against special interests. I have fought for reform. You have to tell me one time when you have stood up with the leaders of your party on one single major issue.

SCHIEFFER: Barack.

OBAMA: Well, there's a lot of stuff that was put out there, so let me try to address it. First of all, in terms of standing up to the leaders of my party, the first major bill that I voted on in the Senate was in support of tort reform, which wasn't very popular with trial lawyers, a major constituency in the Democratic Party. I support...

MCCAIN: An overwhelming vote.

OBAMA: I support charter schools and pay for performance for teachers. Doesn't make me popular with the teachers union. I support clean coal technology. Doesn't make me popular with environmentalists. So I've got a history of reaching across the aisle.

The question to Senator Obama was "when did you stand up to the LEADERS of your party on a major issue?"

Obama didn't answer that one. He knew he couldn't. Instead, he answered the question he COULD answer -- "when did you not act in the best interests of some of your party's core constituencies?"

Think about that for a second. When challenged to show his independence, Obama instead talked about he was not afraid to occasionally alienate some of his base -- in cases where he had overwhelming cover from other members.

On the other hand, at times it seems that McCain has made pissing off his base a major hobby.

The fact is, in Obama's entire political career, the only time he risked alienating his party's leadership was when he challenged Hillary Clinton for the nomination. Any other time, he's either fallen in lockstep with his party's leadership or, if that was too risky, arranged to "vote present" in one way or another.

Should we presume that once he becomes president, he will suddenly discover his backbone and stand up to those very same party leaders he's given his loyalty to for so many years? That he will, when necessary, stand on principles and fight against those who have commanded his fealty for so long?

Or will he be content to continue to follow the dictates of corrupt and inept party hacks like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, who have managed to lead Congress into approval ratings in the single digits?

We've seen Obama's style of leadership -- see which way things are heading, then race to the front and announce that that is the way he wanted to go all along.

When one considers the current state of the Congress, and the projected likelihood that the current leadership will most likely be in an even stronger position after November (god help us), that has to give anyone a cold chill down their spine.

Unless, of course, you're Chris Matthews.In that case, the shiver starts at the other end.


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Comments (10)

I brought up his inability ... (Below threshold)

I brought up his inability to answer a question when he was asked how he could reconcile his two positions on gun control; his support of far-reaching bans and his support of the court's decision in DC vs Heller. So often, he's asked something, gives a non-answer and it's just accepted.

Who was it (was it you, Jay?) that said the other day that Obama looks to see which way a crowd is running, sprints to the front and says, "Follow me!"

On the other hand, Wizblue is still on the rampage over Joe the plumber, desperately trying to focus all eyes on him rather than Obama's "spread the wealth" philosophy. Maybe it's just an inability to even hear answers at all.

"Sir Alfred Conan Doyle"</p... (Below threshold)
Tregonsee:

"Sir Alfred Conan Doyle"

Uh, methinks you meant Sir ARTHUR Conan Doyle. ;)


JT,I had roughly t... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

JT,

I had roughly the same thought as he was giving that answer.

Knowing how these things work in Congress, I'd bet that BO was ALLOWED to vote how he wanted on those bills once the party leadership already knew it had the outcome it wanted. It means nothing for him to vote in favor of vouchers (or whatever else) on a bill that has no chance of passage whatsoever. But it does give him the ability to later say "See, I supported that issue!!1!".

It happens all the time in DC.

oysterWho... (Below threshold)
Larry:

oyster

Who was it (was it you, Jay?) that said the other day that Obama looks to see which way a crowd is running, sprints to the front and says, "Follow me!"

Me oyster :-)

Thanks for reading my stuff.

Now things get interesting. McCain has run his course on making people uncomfortable with WHO Obama is. This is what is responsible for the race getting tighter.

Oh, by the way oyster, Obama has a track record for getting on board bills that have widespread support but do not necessarly follow traditional Democratic party supporter guidelines. Emil Jones fed Obama bills in the Illinois Senate, just as the Dems have done in the US Senate. Except in the US Senate, Obama got to vote certain ways as opposed to sponsoring the bills. The US Senate is too ego driven for leadership to hand Obama bills to sponsor like Jones would do.

Now McCain starts to zero in on specific demographic groups in specific states. His focus groups have likely told him what works and what doesn't. So have Obama's. Each will try to close the sale for the undecideds using the best ammunition they have from their respective positions.

The only thing that bothers me is the get out the vote organization that Obama has founded like he did for the caucus states. I suspect that we would find Wade Rathke's hands all over that one even outside ACORN and the SEIU.

McCain hit a home run at the Al Smith Dinner last night. Obama did not. McCain looked right into the camera when he told Olberman where he could put it. ROFLMAO

Brian Williams was NOT a happy person. I watched the roast on CSPAN, so I dunno what camera angles were used by MSM, er KGB.

Oh, and Chris Matthe... (Below threshold)
Larry:


Oh, and Chris Matthews doesn't do ANYTHING without a purpose. Is he distancing himself from Olberman?

Who says Obama challenging ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Who says Obama challenging Clinton WASN'T being a tool of the Democratic Leadership?

I thought this aspect of Ob... (Below threshold)
Clint:

I thought this aspect of Obama's personality was wonderfully illustrated at the Alfred Smith dinner.

While McCain was speaking, instead of reacting spontaneously to the humor, Obama spent the whole speech looking over his shoulder to see how the rest of the audience was reacting.

What a wonderful personality trait for a "leader." I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for him to break ranks with the leftmost branch of his party.

"When one considers the ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"When one considers the current state of the Congress, and the projected likelihood that the current leadership will most likely be in an even stronger position after November..."

The sad truth is that it's unlikely that more than a few voters even realized this. It would be interesting if someone did a poll to see how many actually do, but I doubt that will happen.

When people vote for their "blue-dog" representative or senator I wonder how many really realize that their voting for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. I wonder how many realized they were putting a former KKK leader 4 in line for the Presidency. Hardly any I'd guess.

<a href="http://www.victori... (Below threshold)
CR:

This story was carbon-copied from another land more than a century ago:

"I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the leader of the whole count-ree!"
(okay, I modified that last line just a bit.)

I always read your comments... (Below threshold)

I always read your comments, Larry.




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