Obama Sans an Umbrella in This Stormy Election

The presidential campaign in the US has taken off in a new direction since John McCain chose the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, to be his running mate.

The noise level has become decidedly louder and more strident. The liberal attack dogs have been unleashed and they are peeing on the lamp posts and baying at the moon. In the resulting clamor, it is difficult to hear what either presidential candidate has to say.

What we do know is that they are saying something…if only we could get past the public and media chatter.

Wretchard at The Belmont Club has an intriguing work-around for this noise problem. Though I’ve thought about such a device, I didn’t know they actually existed:

Word or tag cloud software has been used to visually represent a frequency count of terms in a given piece of text, providing a clue to the importance of certain ideas. Font sizes indicate the weight or emphasis on certain words. The word clouds of Sarah Palin and John McCain’s speeches at the convention make an interesting study in contrasts. Palin’s address is stocked with what I would call action or power words like ‘energy’, ‘oil’ and ‘reform’. She also uses the name of John McCain frequently. McCain by contrast hardly ever mentions himself in the third person. Remarkably, his speech has a lot of softer words such as ‘jobs’, ‘children’, ‘health’, ‘peace’. It is almost as if he had turned down the volume of political discourse to strike a conciliatory note. But both speeches also share common themes. One obvious pattern is a repetitive emphasis on the themes of ‘country’ and ‘America’, which are also the motifs of the campaign…

Yes, I know many of our readers were already aware of this phenomenon. Obviously it has many applications – for example, some other time I’ll have to see if much analysis has been done on individual Shakespeare plays.

At any rate, now that the sides have been drawn up, clouds and clouds of words are being generated about this campaign. In fact, both sides are generating their own weather systems. It is quite amazing to watch the tempests take shape and move across the political landscape.

Predictably, there are the torrents of abuse being heaped upon McCain for his vice-presidential choice. Palin’s very presence in this campaign seems to call forth thunderbolts of invective from the left. Amazing rage, as in this spittle-flecked comment sent to Mark Steyn by a reader he calls “Mr. Sensitive”:

This abortion prohibitionist hag won’t cut it among women with brains. And BTW she is a good example of reproduction run amok. 5 kids; 1 retard. I wonder if the b***ch ever heard of getting spayed.

As I said, this kind of attack is predictable; it is also a major symptom of irrational fear. Reasoned discourse and disagreement are one matter. We all have differing political philosophies and differing ideas about the direction in which we wish to see our government move. But political beliefs, words, and actions that arise from this kind of apprehension begin in whatever dark part of the human psyche that remains primitive and terrified. Reasonable people don’t think or talk like that.

There is another kind of anger on the left. It began manifesting itself during the Democrat primary, as it became increasingly obvious that the mainstream media was in the tank for Obama. Hillary, formerly the Golden Girl, became a shadow boxer in this event. You could fairly say – especially if you were a Hillary fan – that the machinations for Obama’s ascendancy began with the DNC (for our European readers, the Democrat National Committee, chaired by Howard “Screaming” Dean, former governor of Vermont, and very former presidential candidate).

If you go to that site, as I just did, you will notice that the Dems are on the defensive. Their headline concerns the Republican Convention, which is not a position of strength. Instead of a picture of Obama leading us all to hope, they have a picture of McCain on the banner story. Very strange. However, it does line up with what I’ve been reading, i.e., that the Dems are on the defensive now. Certainly their main page indicates that assertion. Even as they bad-mouth McCain they are leading from weakness, from fear. It will drive people away.

But I digress. I want to discuss the cold anger of those who believe that Obama stole this primary. I can’t remember the last time a primary left either party in the disarray we’re witnessing right now. The best example of this phenomenon is PUMA, and PUMA is fascinating indeed.

Again, for our European readers, an explanation: P.U.M.A. stands for “Party Unity My Ass”. It is the defiant response of those who are positive that Hillary was cheated this time around. But PUMAs are not frothing at the mouth. If anything, they are coldly rational. And they have a plan to destroy Obama for what he did. They may succeed.

This is from the Grand Puma:
– – – – – – – –

As P.U.M.As we support Hillary Clinton and believe if the Democratic Party’s primary process was a free and fair contest she would have won the nomination. Our support for Hillary has nothing to do with the fact that she is female.

We support Hillary because we think she is the best candidate for President the Democratic Party produced in the 2008 electoral cycle. We do not support Obama because we feel that not only did he steal the election, but that he is also an empty suit of the highest order, a man who not only lacks experience, but also lacks integrity.

He talks the talk, but cannot and does not walk the walk. Incidentally, Obama’s ineptitude and character flaws have nothing to do with his race, whether he is white, black, green or purple, he would still be inept and untrustworthy.

Did gender play a role in denying Hillary a fair shot, yes it did. Is that fair? It isn’t, but life isn’t fair either. It is all about choices we make. The DNC and Obama chose to give the election to Obama, and PUMAs have chosen NOT to recognize Obama’s electoral viability and have also chosen to work against him.

Only time will tell if we stand on the right side or wrong side of history. One thing is clear though, and that is never again would the Democratic Party take those who vote in its primaries for granted.

The comment section response (included in the link above) is vintage vitriol. As coolly angry as the PUMAs are, their opponents are heatedly rageful. The comment section on this post surprised me. I expected a discussion amongst like-minded PUMAs about their disappointment, but instead it is mainly frenzied indignation at the nerve of this group of disaffected Hillary supporters to publicly “diss” Obama. The opponents of the PUMAs are afraid, and well they should be. Hillary’s people deserve respect simply for the force of their loyalty, which is of much longer duration than that of Obama’s followers.

Obama could have saved himself from the wrath of the PUMAs had he chosen Hillary as his vice president. Instead, he went for a very limited, mediocre running mate. Joe Biden lost his first bid for the presidency when his blatant plagiarism of a speech by British Labour politician Neil Kinnock was revealed. In a world where integrity operated, that should have finished Biden’s career, period. But here he is, still flourishing as the senior senator from Delaware.

Here is what Thomas Lifson had to say about Biden’s weakness. Evidently, he is a repeat offender:

Political insiders have long known about Joe Biden getting caught plagiarizing almost word-for-word a speech given by British Labour politician Neil Kinnock. In fact, that killed his 1988 presidential campaign.

But a more serious plagiarism charge has been out there even longer – that he plagiarized in law school. That is something that can get you thrown out if proven…

I didn’t know about the incident in law school, but this problem does seem to be a characterological flaw for Mr. Biden. The one discovered in 1988 made quite an impression on me; it remained a source of wonder that he kept getting re-elected to the Senate despite this flaw. What especially struck me was the bullying manner he used in his attacks on any Republican who had the misfortune to appear before the various committees Biden served on over the years. The man has no shame and no sense of proportion.

And this is the person that Obama chose as his running mate. No wonder the PUMAs are mad. Fighting mad. Some would say suicidally mad because they want one thing: Obama’s defeat in November.

PUMA is a well-organized group which thinks strategically. Though they haven’t said so, I believe their battle plan goes something like this: first, a defeat for Obama in 2008. Make the Dems feel the full press of their fury. Then, in 2009 they begin planning for Palin’s defeat.

Here is my guess at the broad outline of their strategy –

  • It is very likely that John McCain will not run for a second term. At least that’s what I’ve heard here and there. People question his age, his injuries, etc., and think he will give up after one term. This may or may not be correct, but it is the current wisdom.
  • Thus, barring obvious incompetence, Palin, as the vice president, will be the natural choice for the Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
  • Obama will be toast when the PUMAs are done with him in this election cycle. Thus, the only viable candidate for the Dems will be Hillary. And the PUMAs have those four years to plan their strategy and to put the fear of God into the DNC. They will not permit their candidate to be overlooked next time around.
  • 2012 will feature a face-off between Hillary and Palin. As far as the PUMAs are concerned, it will be no contest since they see Hillary as having more gravitas than Alaska’s governor, whom they consider to be an upstart who stands for every issue they despise.

Therefore, look for strong advocacy of Sarah Palin by the PUMAs for this election. Look for lukewarm endorsements of Obama by Hillary.

Even now, there are murmurings of a landslide for McCain. I think the contest will be more bitterly fought than that, and the advantage more evenly shared once the bloom is off the surprise of Palin’s candidacy.

However, this move by the Republicans has thrown everything off balance. To illustrate that, look at one of the commenters on the PUMA site above. This person does not compare Obama and McCain. Instead, in a very long screed, the contrast is between Obama and Palin.

McCain’s choice of Palin as his running mate has thrown a real spanner in the works. Obama is all about change – watch his campaign do some drastic changing as it tries to work its way back to an advantage it has lost…lost to Palin.

NOTE: I have deliberately withheld any opinion of Palin. There’s enough of that to go around already and you can read about it on most American websites that deal with politics. What I was – and am – interested in is the Palin effect in this election. In other words it is the process of the campaign, not its contents, that bears close observation.

I wonder if Obama plays chess? If he wants to stay on his feet, he’s going to need to stay several steps ahead in this game. It may be that his queen is already irrevocably compromised.

Time will tell.

9 thoughts on “Obama Sans an Umbrella in This Stormy Election

  1. Hillary had one executive decision to make in her life, and she did not pull the trigger: fire Bill.
    How could she be expected to beat a no-account sociopath whose only accomplishments are the writing of two memoirs?
    Bet she doesn’t divorce Bill by ’12either.

  2. Well said, dymphna.
    I have been following the adventures of the PUMA’s since they were first formed.
    They were already displeased that B-HO got the nomination, and not Hillary, but what has thoroughly infuriated them is, B-HO didn’t even consider Hillary for VP. He chose Biden for one cynical political reason, B-HO’s weakness in the male vote, and most particularly in the white male, blue collar vote. Based on the left’s reaction, and a current Rasmussen Report poll, not only has this not worked, as males still support Mc by a wide margin, but the female vote still favors B-HO, but the percentage has been cut in half, since Sarah’s selection.
    Additionally, a Zogby poll released yesterday, show’s the post RNC bounce has given Mc/Palin a lead.
    The volume of words you speak of, are mostly coming from the LSM, and as Dr. Bill Bennett so profoundly observed the other day, the LSM is furious because they were surprised, and they don’t like being surprised. The LSM still likes to view themselves as all knowing, and the shaper of public opinion, and that they should have been the one’s to announce who should have been Mc’s VP selection. In return, they have determined it necessary to attack Sarah, to destroy her in anyway imaginable, and there is no depth too low in pursuing their goal.
    This cartoon describes the LSM position, perfectly.
    I read this article yesterday, it’s from the U.K., and I must say, this sums up the B-HO campaign and the LSM’s response perfectly. What has been really interesting, to me, is the reaction of people in small towns to the press corps following Mc and Palin, excoriating them, demanding they be truthful.
    I agree with you that it is the process that bears watching. Every time you see or hear a question about Sarah, and her background or qualifications, remind yourself, that the LSM has given B-HO a pass on every significant question about his background or qualifications.
    Here is a source for all the media myth’s and lies, concerning Sarah.

    As for 2012, I still think it will be Gov. Bobby Jindal’s time, irrespective of who his competition is.

  3. Oh boy, the backstage of Washington is not so in the back this time. Thank you Dymphna for the info.

    One note about Sarah Palin:

    People like me tend to say:
    I am not against women running for president but…

    … the truth is that…

    I am a machist. I think a home has to be man’s territory. Women must only go from the kitchen to the bedroom, period. Well, they may come out one time or another to clean the house but, bedroom-kitchen-bedroom.

    I am a machist… but I love Sarah Palin, she is great! I mean, I’ve seen her 45min speach, she’s awsome.
    I would like very much for her to be President of the United States, at least, I cannot think of a man better than her (Buchannan?). I was afraid on what would she do over Russia. She has the brains to figure out what to do, I liked her a lot, and still do! She should definetly run for President if the opportunity apears.

    “This abortion prohibitionist hag won’t cut it among women with brains. And BTW she is a good example of reproduction run amok. 5 kids; 1 retard. I wonder if the b***ch ever heard of getting spayed.”

    And this is probabily a person who would cherrish Kardeshim (you know, the prostitute?). Con Swede will say: “Inverter vallues, inverted vallues”… indeed.

    By the way, drinking with Bob is great.

  4. I do not really care for Hillary Clinton or what she believes in, but she clearly got a raw deal both from the media and the Democratic Party insiders. Obama would not be the Democratic nominee if he hadn’t won much of his Delegate count in Caucus states. These have open votes and there is considerable evidence of Hillary supporters being intimidated, shouted down, and bullied by younger Obama supporters. In Texas with both a Caucus (open vote) AND a primary (secret vote) for example Hillary won the primary and lost the Caucus vote. This is besides the out of state busloads of Obama supporters, ‘irregularities’ and ‘minor procedural problems’ which were widespread.

    None of these of course are going to be investigated by the DNC or the media, which backs Obama. That’s how easy democracy can disappear.

    From what I have seen of her, I like Sarah Palin and we could do worse.

  5. I agree with almost the entire article here. But I do sense one small issue. What if MCain doesn’t complete his term? Then what?

    We know Palin would then succeed him, and become our first female president. How will anybody stand against her then? She’ll have the gravitas she needs, or else I think she’ll know she can’t play with the big boys and stand aside.

    Most likely, it’s just my love of irony talking. All the chatter about who will be elected the first woman president, and then perhaps Palin will back into the job.

    Guess we’ll find out. But I must mention that at this point, I’m beginning to suspect a landslide for McCain.

  6. Dymphna:

    “I want to discuss the cold anger of those who believe that Obama stole this primary. I can’t remember the last time a primary left either party in the disarray we’re witnessing right now.”

    The Democratic Primaries of 1980, where Ted Kennedy fatally damaged the already overwhelmed incumbent Jimmy Carter.

    This is one of the features that Republicans would like to forget, that the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 was due in no small part to Ayatollah Khomeinei, Ted Kennedy, and a surprisingly strong 3rd party candidate, John Anderson.

    You will note that since 1980, neither party has countenanced an upstart challenge to its’ sitting incumbent President.

    In my view, NObama is a “Kennedy Branded Product”, a perusal of his career is highly illuminatory, and thus he represents the “Next Step” in the Kennedys’ and partisans decades-long quest to be America’s “kingmakers”, if not America’s “kings”.

    Who knew how profitable a strategy it would turn out to be that Joseph Kennedy bought up Depression-era Boston mortgages with his bootlegging profits and invested heavily in early Hollywood, eh?

  7. “Obama could have saved himself from the wrath of the PUMAs had he chosen Hillary as his vice president.”

    Given that Mrs. Clinton still wants the Presidency, and that very few VPs have moved directly to the Oval Office by election, she would have declined — possibly in public, to Obama’s great humiliation. Now that Governor Palin is the Standardbearer for the next generation of Republicans / conservatives, Mrs. Clinton’s only hope of bing the history-making first FEMALE President is to run in 2012 — which would require Obama to lose this year. In no plausible case would she have accepted his nod for the second post.

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