Monday, June 02, 2008

The fading Obama cult

It's even getting into the conventional media, a couple months late. Here's Time magazine.

There's a key reason for the Obama-Carter similarities: everyone associated with Bill Clinton is working with Hillary, mostly. Everyone else in the Democratic world is working with Obama - and that necessarily includes the long string of Democratic failures stretching from Carter through the early 90s: Brzezinski, Mondale's 1984 campaign manager, etc., etc. None of these associations augurs well for Obama. Clinton's second term was the only clear Democratic success in a half century.

As for restoring America's standing in the world, Obama's is a case of American narcissism. Every foreigner I've talked with about this is very concerned about Obama, his lack of experience and knowledge, and the fact that when not prepared by aides and given the soft-focus treatment by reporters, he seems in over his head. They're strongly reminded of none other than George W. Bush in 2000 - except Obama is even less experienced. People with longer memories, as the Time article points out, are reminded of Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Probably most foreigners are most comfortable with Hillary Clinton, under the expectation that she would continue her husband's policies. That might or might not be a good assumption, but it's worth considering. Conditions now are different from and less forgiving than the late 90s.

Democrats are definitely experiencing buyers' remorse, and it's not even June yet. It will be interesting to see if, in the next few weeks, the media's generally soft-focus treatment of Obama ends, and they start treating him like any other politician. He'll sink like stone if they do. (May 28)

POSTSCRIPT: I drafted that posting last week, before the Puerto Rico primary. It's getting pretty hard to keep up the pretense of "Obama inevitability." OTOH, it's been clear since January that, if Hillary wanted this thing, she would have to fight for it. It wouldn't be a coronation by acclamation. She's earned some strange respect from critics, while at the same time provoking intense anti-Clintonism from liberals, who sound like Republicans from circa 1998. Whodda thunk it six months ago?

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