Tuesday, September 09, 2008


In his column in National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson opines as to the reasons why the McCain/Palin bounce is scaring the living daylights out of the Obama/Biden ticket.

Yes, calling Sarah Palin inexperienced serves also to point out that the top of the Obama/Biden ticket is far more inexperienced and in very significant areas. Yes, going negative brings out a side of Senator Obama that is far from attractive and that will also impact the voters’ view of him over the next 8 weeks.

More important, this kind of vicious rhetoric directed at Sarah Palin does not resonate in quite the same way that it did when it was directed at Senator Clinton. Let’s be very realistic. Mrs. Clinton is not attractive in a great many ways. She is not physically appealing and frequently looks as though she was “rode hard and put up wet” – which, I agree, shouldn’t be a criteria used to judge the content of her intellect or character. However, Mrs. Clinton is also only a mediocre public speaker with a frequently shrill and unpleasant speaking voice and she has, whether she deserves it or not, a reputation for being ruthless, unfeminine and downright nasty. Too many stories have surfaced regarding her disdain for the military and her absolutely indefensible treatment of her Secret Service agents during her husband’s presidency – and since – and her other rather unlovely utterances referring to a person’s religion or race.

This is not the case with the beautiful and yet down-to-earth Gov. Palin. Mrs. Palin has a lovely speaking voice and what she says is positive and interesting and frequently quite witty. In addition, she is happily married and the mother of five children and soon to be a grandmother. The vicious lies being spread by the Left about Sarah Palin are not only being perceived as exactly what they are by a great many voters, that calumny is also turning off voters.

Back in my “salad days” I was consulting on the campaign of a young man with good educational credentials and not a lot of real world experience who was running for a rinky-dink county office that had been held by the same woman for over 20 years. Our consistent and unremitting advice to our candidate was “she doesn’t exist” and we repeated that advice on an almost daily basis. Campaigning against HER was a no-win situation for our candidate. Campaigning on the basis of HIS plans and viewpoints was a much more intelligent route for him to take. No, he didn’t win the election for that rinky-dink office that year. However, four years later he DID win it because not only had he built name recognition, but he had also built good feelings in the minds of our county voters, both for his intelligence and for his public persona. Despite all the focus groups in the world, all the high tech nonsense being used in national political campaigns, what a presidential campaign ultimately comes down to is PEOPLE and how they feel about the candidates.

Senator Obama is, more and more, not being perceived by the voting public as someone they’d want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with. He is arrogant, distant and exudes an air of entitlement that is relentlessly unattractive. His wife is perceived by many women as a purely evil and nasty bitch. Contrast that with the beautiful and seemingly approachable Governor of Alaska and her charming and supportive husband Todd – and the Obama campaign is in serious, if not terminal, trouble. And lucky for Senator McCain, Senator Obama is most unlikely to take my advice and will continue the almost criminally stupid negative attacks by his campaign and his surrogates (does the Obama campaign seriously think we’re so stupid as to believe he is not involved in some of the smears being circulated). And, during the Vice Presidential debates, should Senator Biden revert to his normal practice and either bloviate endlessly or, worse yet, set verbal minefields that are largely irrelevant for Governor Palin, they will be seen clearly by the American public as something we, as a nation, tend to dislike intensely: mean-spirited bullies.

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