To Butcher an Old Zep Song "The Theme Remains The Same"..

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The problem with Obama? Andrew Sullivan, unknowingly nails it: “Fascinating to see how many themes remain the same,…”

Obama’s primary campaign was centered around grand themes, and yes, the themes haven’t changed much. There wasn’t that much difference concerning policy positions between Obama and Hillary, so the change “theme” was the deciding factor in the primaries. Obama – The Theme Candidate! He did mention policy positions but they were never really explored, as the theme was the central focus. Now in the national election, he is finding a hard time selling the theme to a half eager public. Those paying attention want solutions based on hard policy, and those not paying attention much are probably bored with the “theme”. You can olny get so much milage out of the thing before you run out of political gas. Obama’s “theme” can’t provide a hiding space to distract for his less-than-solid policy positions.

Lets examine the energy issue. McCain jumped on the drilling platform early (pun intended) and got a big advantage there. Though it can be called a flip flop by some, as McCain was against off shore drilling in the past. But the Democrats have been so successful at painting Republicans as being in the back pocket of “Big Oil”, McCain’s current position on the energy problem actually feels more natural, whereas Obama’s recent semi-conversion to drilling feels a lot like just another political weather-vane policy swing employed so often by the last Democratic inhabitant of the White House. Obama has changed course on so many issues as of late (drilling, Iraq, FISA, rejecting public financing of his campaign) he is starting to lose the confidence of the voters who helped him win the nomination. His positions on the issues are becoming more and more uncertain in the public mind, and his nuanced performance in the round table thing the other night didn’t help clarify things. People like a solid, mater-of-fact stand on the issues, without all the endless rational to explain why. It is what it is. That is why McCain won the other night, and why Bush was able to get within striking distance of Al Gore in 2000. Obama still has plenty of “themes”, but not a lot of solid policy ground left on which to stand.

PS. Besides the themes, there is something else that hasn’t changed. When I watched the video posted at Sullivan’s site, I was struck by two things:

A) Obama says “Uh” a lot, on a topic which should be very familliar and not require a whole lot of thinking, and

B) Watch how the journalist interviewing Obama absolutely fawned over him. Fascinating! The more things change, the more things stay the same!!!

[youtube bBxUSLCPlmc]

OK. Three things – I think Obama has gotten better looking with age. This has nothing to do with anything, I just though I would point it out.

No Comments to “To Butcher an Old Zep Song "The Theme Remains The Same"..”

  1. By Vadim, August 20, 2008 @ 9:32 pm

    I agree with this. I think Obama’s been gradually isolating his original support base by trying to win over a much smaller constituent.

    I originally wanted to vote for Obama until he voted for the FISA bill. We had already disagreed on a number of issues (Israel/Palestine, the death penalty) but the FISA bill just confirmed that he wasn’t the progressive I remember him being living in Chicago.

    So I’m voting Green unless he revokes his support for FISA:

    In Illinois voting third party is still an acceptable option. I have no idea what I’d do in a swing state.

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