8 Reasons Why Barack Obama Might Not Win Next Tuesday by Eric Zorn of The Chicago Tribune

October 30, 2008 at 8:03 am Leave a comment

barack-obama43.jpgIn January 2005, just after Barack Obama was sworn in as a United
States senator from Illinois, I published eight reasons why he’d run
for president in 2008. Then in January of 2007, just before he
officially announced his candidacy, I published eight reasons why he’d
win the Democratic nomination.

This week, to finish the cycle, I’ll give you a pair of eight-reasons
columns about Obama: Today, why he might lose Nov. 4. And Thursday, why
he’ll win.Am I hedging? No. I’m looking at the same polling data
everyone else is but saying I can still see Republican John McCain
pulling an upset. Why?

1. “Bittergate.” Obama has been remarkably disciplined in his
campaign, but his one “oh, no, he didn’t!?” moment was a doozy — his
unscripted comment in April that “it’s not surprising [that residents
of small-town America] get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or
antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

2. He’s played too much defense. Though Obama’s campaign has run
bazillions of ads criticizing McCain, they’ve stayed away from trying
to raise questions about McCain’s character and his judgment —
questions the McCain campaign has been raising relentlessly about Obama
and that Obama has had to answer.

It’s absurd, for instance, that more ink has been spilled about the
judgment Obama showed in the 1990s when working on education reform
with former Vietnam-era radical Bill Ayers than about McCain’s judgment
in 2002 and 2003 to cheerlead for the invasion of Iraq.

3. He was more dismissive than responsive to festering issues.
When questions came up about Obama’s real estate dealings with crooked
fundraiser Tony Rezko, he tried to brush them off with curt denials
rather than bury them with documents and comprehensive answers.

Ditto his lackluster and in places inaccurate responses to concerns
about his votes on “born-alive infant” legislation when he was in the
Illinois Senate and demands that he give a full accounting of his
personal and professional interactions with Ayers.

4. He left points on the table. Most of you know about Obama’s
sleazy associate Tony Rezko. But how many of you know about McCain’s
sleazy associate Rick Renzi? McCain named Renzi, a retiring Republican
congressman, a co-chair of his Arizona campaign in January, even though
the Wall Street Journal and other publications had reported he was the
subject of a federal corruption probe.

Renzi was indicted in February and is facing trial. Yet the Obama
campaign, apparently content to try to sit on this lead, hasn’t made an
issue of him or of McCain’s friendship with convicted Watergate burglar
G. Gordon Liddy, who once urged his radio listeners to “go for a head
shot” if federal agents came to take their guns away.

5. Biden’s blunder. Yes, foreign evildoers tend to test new
presidents. But when Obama’s veepmate, Sen. Joe Biden, blathered on
recently about an inevitable crisis in the first months of an Obama
administration, it gave McCain a fat opening to highlight security
concerns, one of his few winning issues, and play the fear card.

6. The economy now looks more like a chronic woe than an urgent crisis. This has allowed McCain to settle into an anti-tax, anti-spend, anti-liberal campaign groove that often works for Republicans.

7. Smoke. I’ve never seen a candidate subject to as many nutty
rumors and guilt-by-association smears as those about Obama that land
in my in-box every day. If enough voters decide in the end that there
must be fire somewhere in all that noxious smoke, Obama’s apparent lead
will vanish.

8. He’s African-American. Let’s be honest. In this rotten year
for the Republican brand, if a white Democrat were sitting in the polls
where Obama now sits, this “how he might lose” talk would be absurd.

It’s not. But it is misleading. Join me Thursday and I’ll tell you eight reasons why he’ll win anyway.

Source: Chicago Tribune


Entry filed under: Opinion. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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