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Do Americans really want to hear straight talk?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, October 12, 2007

Bloomberg has an article about how Obama has been using tough love as a way to differentiate his campaign from his rivals. Billed by Bloomberg as the "Sister Soljah tack", Obama has been telling crowds at various stops on the campaign trail things they might not necessarily want to hear:
So far this year, Obama, 46, has talked up tougher emissions standards in Detroit, gone to the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York to chastise Wall Street executives over tax loopholes and their ``what's good for me is good enough'' mentality and told black men in South Carolina that they need to ``stop acting like boys'' and face up to parental responsibilities.

In Philadelphia in July, he endorsed merit-based pay before the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' group, which opposes it. In New Hampshire, a state with a tradition of environmental activism, the Illinois senator refused on Oct. 9 to rule out new nuclear power plants.
Now it can be argued that there may be other reasons, but it is plain to anyone that Obama's star has not been rising for some time. In fact, it's been sinking rather steadily.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is doing none of the above and her star (and poll numbers) is rising.
David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, said his candidate knows his tough-love strategy carries some risk. ``If you're straight-up with people, you're not always going to please them,'' he said.
But is that a smart strategy for a 2nd or 3rd place candidate ... especially in the primaries where it is only the base which will turn out for you? Is it smart to turn on them when you expect them to turn out for you?

I'm strictly speaking about political strategy here. It's one thing to talk like this in a general election. You can argue that while your base may not like what you have to say, at that point they have nowhere to go. OTOH, when doing it in a primary, aren't you taking the chance of alienating your base? Obama's poll numbers would indicate that may be the case.

It's interesting though - I can't tell you the number of conversations I've had with people who say, "I just wish politicians would be straight with us and tell us what they really believe". Viewing Obama's steadily declining poll numbers I really wonder if that's true.

In truth, it seems to me we want to be sold unicorns and rainbows during an election cycle and then, after the election, cynically criticize the politicians for not delivering on their promises. As we watch Hillary Clinton rise steadily in the polls, I think we have to honestly reflect on the question "do we want straight talk from politicians" and reluctantly conclude that in reality, for the majority, the answer is "no."

And yes, that means, God help us, we will get exactly the government we deserve.
 
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So far this year, Obama, 46, has talked up tougher emissions standards in Detroit, gone to the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York to chastise Wall Street executives over tax loopholes and their ``what’s good for me is good enough’’ mentality
So, what’s this WS mentality?
and told black men in South Carolina that they need to ``stop acting like boys’’ and face up to parental responsibilities.
Pretty obvious truth.
In Philadelphia in July, he endorsed merit-based pay before the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ group, which opposes it.
Real merit based pay would involve eliminating the union and going back to a free market eductation system.
In New Hampshire, a state with a tradition of environmental activism, the Illinois senator refused on Oct. 9 to rule out new nuclear power plants.
Good for him.

He’s sounding a lot better in all this. I actually agree with most of what he’s saying here.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Yeah, but it is unlikely you’ll be a Democratic primary voter, Don, and that’s the political point of all of this.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
has talked up tougher emissions standards in Detroit
Maybe if the staight talk was based in a genuine problem cause by the current emissions standards I might not be so objectionable to it.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I think Obama has shifted his focus from getting the nomination (which was already a very long shot) to crafting his political persona for the long term. Like McCain in 2000, he can get much media love by challenging conventional wisdom at essentially zero cost. It gets attention, and gives him many degrees of freedom whatever office (I’m thinking Veep or Illinois governor) he goes for next.

We’ll likely be seeing him for decades to come.
 
Written By: Larry
URL: http://
All his points mentioned have no reference to a proper function of government, only, on the contrary, to a nanny/welfare state.

Most people don’t recognize this, but many do. The also recall that of the points mentioned, he’s also proposed many other completely absurd points.

It just may be that many reject his notions, but many accept Shrillary’s blatant socialistic authoritarianism.

On the other side of the aisle, many conservatives and republicans accept the statist interventions and the welfare state that the republicans propose.
 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
Obama has no chance if he plays it safe. Hillary’s clearly got the inside track, and his lack of experience needs to be balanced by something significant, like a reputation for straight talk and honesty. It may not work, but I think it’s a sound strategy. It also might differentiate him enough to make him a solid VP candidate. What VP candidates say in primaries is politically irrelevant (I doubt ’voodoo economics’ cost Reagan-Bush any votes), it’s all based on repuation. Obama as a charismatic lightweight may not be enough; if he builds a reputation as a tough straight talker, that might help.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Perhaps I am just too old for this sort of thing; but it is hard for me to imagine anyone writing about politics (particularly electoral politics) who is not familiar with Herbert Agar’s observation, "The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear."
 
Written By: Stephen Smoliar
URL: http://therehearsalstudio.blogspot.com/
do Americans really want to hear straight talk? That’s an easy one- No. Much too painful. Next.
 
Written By: kreiz
URL: http://
It’s a pretty simple thing.

Everyone believes they are right, as they should.
If someone tells them something different, that person is wrong.
People don’t like politicians who are wrong on policies close to their heart.

So whether or not the country as a whole believes Obama is right in general, if he tells everyone what they don’t want to hear he’ll have no support. Maybe he should only tell 10% of people what they don’t want to hear and keep a reputation as a savvy tough-talker with the other 90%?
 
Written By: Boy
URL: http://

 
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