“Captain” McCain sinks “Ensign” Obama at Saddleback Church
Andy Martin’s exclusive insight on the Saddleback “debate” and its impact on the DNC
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FIRST JOINT APPEARANCE SHOWS CAPTAIN MCCAIN, NOT ENSIGN OBAMA, IS IN COMMAND
WHAT THE CABLE TV BOBBLEHEADS MISSED WAS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DEBATE ON THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
WAS THE FORUM AN UNFORESEEN PRE-CONVENTION BLUNDER FOR OBAMA?
(NEW YORK)[August 17, 2008] Last night I watched the joint appearance of Senators Obama and McCain, held at the Saddleback Church in California. Frankly, I was stunned by the contrast.
In two words: McCain was crisp and confident; Obama was ethereal and tentative. There is not much new in my insight. I think the general cable TV bobblehead consensus was that McCain was surprisingly strong and poses an unexpectedly powerful challenge to Obama in joint confrontations. The contrast was stark. Captain McCain vs. Ensign Obama.
Both men are trying to solidify their base while poaching independent voters for their cause. McCain won the exchange. The mainstream media always make a big issue of Obama seeking to appeal to “moderate” Republicans and independents. Indeed he is.
But the media ignore the companion impact of Obama’s poaching, namely that when Obama acts “conservative” he legitimizes “Reagan Democrats” moving towards McCain. The shift of voters is a two-way street.
David Gergen of CNN delivered the slimiest low blow of the night. Gergen said the forum showed McCain was trigger-happy. Personally, I hardly find pursuing Al Qaeda to be a trigger-happy position.
On balance, McCain presented himself as a strong and decisive leader. He was concise and focused. Obama was nuanced. The event solidified McCain’s base, but may have diffused Obama’s.
During the forum Obama continued to misrepresent his record and distort reality. Asked about his most difficult decision, he said that “opposition to the Iraq war” was his biggest crisis in life because, he suggested, he was a candidate for the “senate.” Obama has relentlessly misrepresented his status in 2002, when he was a candidate for the Illinois state senate, not the U. S. Senate, from an ultra-liberal Democratic district overwhelmingly opposed to invading Iraq. Cable TV bobbleheads always ignore Obama’s distortion and misrepresentation on his status and role in 2002.
Fact-checkers will tell you that (i) Obama was not a candidate for U.S. Senator in 2002; (ii) Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the war in 2002 and (iii) Illinois Senator Dick Durbin voted against the war. So being “against the war” hardly represented the “life crisis” that Obama claimed. On the contrary, he would have had a crisis if, as Senator Clinton did, he supported the war. The man is not capable of giving an honest answer. (I was also against the war in 2002, and that was an unpopular position among my Republican friends.)
Now for our exclusive observations on the post-debate impact.
Obama obviously agreed to participate in the forum some time ago; I don’t remember the exact date. He probably thought the appearance was an opportunity to raid McCain’s base. He may have miscalculated and ignored an unforeseen aspect of the meeting. Indeed, Obama may have ended up raiding his own base on Saturday night.
I believe the Saddleback appearance is going to “cost” Obama at the Democratic National Convention. You heard it first at ContrarianCommentary.com.
First, liberal Democrats are going to continue to be outraged at Obama’s rush to the muddled middle. The DNC is, after all, a convention of Democrats, not independent voters. The “base” will be boiling.
Second, Obama’s flaccid performance is going to energize both the actual Hillary Clinton delegate population and the independent pro-Clinton movement in Denver. Double trouble.
My opinion: Obama made a serious blunder in agreeing to a joint appearance with McCain one week before the DNC. The Saddleback forum should have been foreseen as an event that would pull Obama towards the center, or even conservative end of the spectrum. The last thing Obama needed to do was appear moderate or conservative on the eve of the national convention. Of course, Obama may be planning to reprise the paper mache conservative role at Invesco Field on August 28th. Who knows?
The bottom line: Obama’s views as expressed at Saddleback energized his intra-party competition and opposition, and demoralized his most fanatic supporters. On balance: a net loss for Obama on the eve of the national convention. I would have advised him to schedule the Rick Warren forum after both candidates had been nominated, not just before he was going to appear before his most rabid supporters.
Obama is now sailing in uncharted territory for him, and he is clearly not an expert navigator, let alone triangulator. Paris Hilton may have noted that Captain McCain has a few wrinkles, but then we are electing a captain for the fleet, not a junior ensign to supervise the mess. Captain McCain proved he could be a gladiator in the political arena; Ensign Obama proved something, I’m not sure what.
Even Democrats are demanding specificity. Gauzy nostrums such as “change” and “faith” are not going to cut it. Independent voters are not going to accept generalities. Yet, Obama is at his weakest when he speaks both without a teleprompter and when he is asked to make specific responses. His hesitations and intonations when he appears without remarks prepared by a speechwriter can be irritating. He has a sort of guttural, slippery “yuhknow” that he repeats constantly, even more often than McCain’s equally irritating “my friends.” Both men need public speaking coaching.
But, on balance, Captain McCain’s crisp and confident responses clearly made him the winner. Ensign Obama’s appearance before a conservative group, where he tried to triangulate on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, was a major blunder. He will pay a price in Denver.
UPDATE: We are still working on a response to the media hysteria triggered by Barack Obama’s latest pamphlet of lies, titled “Unfit for Publication,” attacking one of my competing authors. I don’t make a habit of supporting my competitors because they are, after all, taking money out of my pocket. Proceeds from my book all go to the anti-Obama movement, not my personal enrichment. But because Obama’s “defense” against “lies” is a new set of his own lies, I feel I should respond.
In the meantime, readers of my book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, can rest assured my work is still the only gold standard and practical handbook on Barack Obama’s unfitness for the presidency. Buy it.
Book orders: http://OrangeStatePress.com. Immediate shipment from the publisher now available.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have decided to oppose Barack Obama’s election and have become Executive Director of The Stop Obama Coalition, http://StopObamaCoalition.com. By default, I have become the national leader of the anti-Obama movement. I am not acting as either a Democrat or Republican. I have had no contact whatsoever with the McCain Campaign. I am not a member of any political organization. The views express are entirely independent. I am acting as an American citizen who sincerely believes Obama is not the man we need in the Oval Office. We are going to run a very dynamic and aggressive campaign against Obama. I will continue to write my columns for ContrarianCommentary.com.
Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin comments on regional, national and world events with over forty years of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. His columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Andy is the author of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, published in July 2008, see http://www.OrangeStatePress.com. MEDIA CONTACT: (866) 706-2639 E-MAIL: AndyMart20@aol.com [NOTE: We frequently correct typographical errors and additions/subtractions on our blogs, where you can find the latest edition of this release.]