A big test for Obama

There can now be little doubt that Senator Obama's recent comments in San Francisco have become a major test for this candidacy. The ad Senator Clinton launched yesterday on the subject is one of the most powerful ads of this election cycle, and will require a sustained and significant response from the Obama campaign.

As Senator Obama demonstrated in the recent flap over Jeremiah Wright, every attack is an opportunity to offer a very public response. For the Obama campaign those words will never be able to be taken back, but what his campaign can do is to view this as a moment to better address the core of what is being discussed here - his understanding of the struggle of every day people, and to better clarify his plan to raise improve the lives of those facing increased struggle and hardship in an era when the standing of the middle class has deteriorated. As I have written many times, I have long felt this whole area has been a weakness for Senator Obama and his campaign. This moment is in essence an opportunity to correct a major structural weakness in his candidacy and thus if handled successfully could be a moment of great opportunity for the Senator.

Campaigns are a series of tests, some small, some big. For Senator Obama a few words spoken in private have begun to drown out the millions of words he has spoken throughout this long and grueling campaign. But that is politics, and this new test may be among the most consequential and important faced by Senator Obama so far.

Some interesting stuff I've found

NPI contributor Ruy Teixeira has just published an interesting paper for Brookings on how the white working class is shrinking in the US.

Talking Points Memo continues to just nail the truly ubelievable Bob Schaffer Mariana Island story.

Jerry Muller has an excellent article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs which argues:

Americans generally belittle the role of ethnic nationalism in politics. But in fact, it corresponds to some enduring propensities of the human spirit, it is galvanized by modernization, and in one form or another, it will drive global politics for generations to come. Once ethnic nationalism has captured the imagination of groups in a multiethnic society, ethnic disaggregation or partition is often the least bad answer.

Speaker Pelosi appropriately rebuffed President Bush today on his efforts to ram the Colombia FTA through Congress, saying:

“If we are going to be successful in passing a trade agreement,” Ms.
Pelosi said, “we have to first tell the American people that we have a
positive economic agenda.” (see this related post from Tuesday).

The Times had an interesting editorial this am on the global rise of food prices.

Finally thanks to those who came out at 8am this morning in San Francisco to hear Rob Shapiro and I discuss his new, excellent book, Futurecast.

Syndicate content