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Extremist watch
Posted by: McQ on Monday, May 05, 2008

If you listen to USA Today, Rev. Wright hurt Obama fairly significantly:
Barack Obama's national standing has been significantly damaged by the controversy over his former pastor, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, raising questions for some voters about the Illinois senator's values, credibility and electability.

The erosion of support among Democrats and independents raises the stakes in Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries, which represent a chance for Obama to reassert his claim to a Democratic nomination that seems nearly in his grasp. A defeat in Indiana and a close finish in North Carolina, where he's favored, could fuel unease about his ability to win in November. Such results also could help propel Hillary Rodham Clinton's uphill campaign all the way to the Democratic convention in August.
Even the New York Times has to admit there's been damage, but tries to spin it a bit:
A majority of American voters say that the furor over the relationship between Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor has not affected their opinion of Mr. Obama, but a substantial number say that it could influence voters this fall should he be the Democratic presidential nominee, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.
Of course it is rather difficult to understand how the "furor" hasn't affected voter's opinion of Obama when in the same sentence, the NYT claims it could influence their vote.

Additionally, this following outlines the real problem with Obama's Wright relationship, or lack thereof now:
But nearly half of the voters surveyed, and a substantial part of the Democrats, said Mr. Obama had acted mainly because he thought it would help him politically, rather than because he had serious disagreements with his former pastor.
People continue to have great difficulty believing Obama's stance that he never heard or was aware of controversial things being said fairly regularly from the pulpit. A recent Newsweek article pointed out that Oprah Winfrey, formerly a member of that church, left the church, in part, because of incendiary remarks by Wright.

Meanwhile left leaning pundits, anticipating an eventual Obama nomination, are busy trying to identify comparable extremists to hang on McCain. Frank Rich thinks the John Hagee/Jeremiah Wright comparison works. Steve Chapman is enamored with a G. Gordon Liddy/Bill Ayers comparision.

Obviously neither quite work. Hagee's relationship with McCain vs. Obama's relationship with Wright aren't at all comparable. And, as Don Surber points out, there are a couple of problems with the Liddy/Ayers comparison:
1. Liddy did time in prison. 2. Liddy did not blow anyone up. But other than the doing the time for the crime and not killing anyone, two peas in a pod.
I mean its just hard to imagine G. Gordon Liddy somehow managing to fuel the same sort of outrage as something like this:


As Jonathan Martin notes, it's a fairly transparent attempt to lessen the impact of the controversy Obama faces by pointing at the other candidate and claiming moral equivalence with McCain's relationships.
By establishing moral equivalence, or at least harnessing McCain in his own baggage-by-association, the suggestion is seemingly that Obama's ties (real or perceived) won't look so frightening.
But looking at and comparing the relationships, it just doesn't work - and voters will see through the attempt.

Martin goes on to make the most salient point about why this is a politically stupid way for the Democrats to proceed (but they just may not be able to help themselves):
But there is another reason Republicans would welcome a chance to make this race about John Hagee vs. Jeremiah Wright: It diverts the focus from an incumbent president and party that have approval ratings south of the Mendoza line.

If Democrats, spurred by the emotion of the moment and fury at Wright, bite at the forbidden fruit of a character race instead of focusing on Bush, Cheney, a looming recession, an unpopular war, mortgage insecurity and $4-per-gallon gas, you'll have a good sense of why they have lost seven of the last 10 presidential races.
Heh ... I can't argue with that.
 
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Of course it is rather difficult to understand how the "furor" hasn’t affected voter’s opinion of Obama when in the same sentence, the NYT claims it could influence their vote.
Not really. The majority of Obama’s voters of of the ’true believer’ category. Mere facts are not going to sway them.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Meanwhile left leaning pundits, anticipating an eventual Obama nomination, are busy trying to identify comparable extremists to hang on McCain. Frank Rich thinks the John Hagee/Jeremiah Wright comparison works. Steve Chapman is enamored with a G. Gordon Liddy/Bill Ayers comparision.
Let them. If they want to sit there and rail about the horrors of Hagee or Liddy (*YAWN*) then they’re in the position of having to denounce Obama for Wright and Ayres. Or being hypocrites. I know they’ll pick hypocrites, but that creates a target rich environment and lots of amusement for us.

Such children...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
How did I miss this ?

Obama and the art of bare knuckles politics.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Almost Bithead. One could also reconcile the two statements if the "substantial number" were never going to be Obama voters in the fall. People whose opinion starts out at "he’s a stinkin’ Democrat, ain’t he?" aren’t going to have it affected by Wright, but still may claim it will influence their vote in the fall. Plenty of opinions are already formed as are the votes in the fall. All this campaing back and forth only impacts a little at the margins. Of course as small as margins have been any impact can be important, but on the fundamentals Democrats are looking stronger and stronger.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Howard Dean was on Fox, busier than a cat covering stuff on concrete, trying, I think, to keep Obama’s problem association from being put in tv ads. I wonder why? He even brought up the old "Willie Horton" smear. (I wonder if he really is too ignorant to know that St. Al Gore ran with that first?) He completely ignores things like the NAACP anti-Bush ad with a pickup truck pulling chains behind it. If you can link Bush to murders (convicted and sentenced to death and life imprisonment) when his only connection was being governor of the state in which the murder occurred, I fail to see why Obama’s long-standing association with race-baiting haters and unrepentant terrorists should be off limits.

I also expect that, rather than going away, to the extent Wright and Ayers continue to be linked to Obama as the campaign goes on, more and more of those who don’t really pay attention will begin to, and it won’t be a positive for Obama.

As for the NYT, like Pauline Kael, they don’t anyone who thinks this stuff matters.
 
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
Of course as small as margins have been any impact can be important, but on the fundamentals Democrats are looking stronger and stronger.
Mpppmfhhh.
I’m not so convinced. From my angle it looks like they’re still arguing over what their fundamentals ARE.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
but on the fundamentals Democrats are looking stronger and stronger.


Uh, on what fundamentals?

The Democrats where shown to be flawed on the fundamentals by the Great Society era, and since then have come up with misc bad ideas such a single payer healthcare and assault weapon bans.

It isn’t even clear they have real fundamentals.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I don’t know what fundamentals Retief is on about, but the Democrats do have the wind at their back in this election—the readiness to switch parties after a two-term president, a war that has gone on long enough to be unpopular, the number of retired Republican seats in Congress this year, and problems with the economy.

I’m surprised that a short, bald troll like McCain is holding his own at all in the polls against Obama and Hillary.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Of course it is rather difficult to understand how the "furor" hasn’t affected voter’s opinion of Obama when in the same sentence, the NYT claims it could influence their vote.
It is the literal truth. The number of voters who would vote for him before the remarks and after, plus those who wouldn’t before or after is greater than those whose opinion has changed.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Quite right Huxley. Here are a few more from the post:
If Democrats, spurred by the emotion of the moment and fury at Wright, bite at the forbidden fruit of a character race instead of focusing on Bush, Cheney, a looming recession, an unpopular war, mortgage insecurity and $4-per-gallon gas, you’ll have a good sense of why they have lost seven of the last 10 presidential races.
The fundamentals are stuff external to the campaigns, economic news and insecurity, news from Iraq, Bush fatigue, etc.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Nonetheless my bet is that Dems will get sucked into a character battle because Hillary or Obama will be attacked on that basis and because that’s the politics that comes most natural to them (e.g. Bush/Cheney hatred) and is the glue that keeps the base together.

Besides, complaining about the war in Iraq or the price of gasoline requires at some point that the candidate present credible solutions—not the Dem strong suit. Currently Hillary and Obama are moving towards the Bush admin’s position on Iraq. OTOH recommending taxes and protectionism aren’t so believable anymore
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
The fundamentals are stuff external to the campaigns, economic news and insecurity, news from Iraq, Bush fatigue, etc.
I don’t see those as fundamentals, although it’s possible they will impact the outcome.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The heavy money is still on the Democrats on ALL of the political future boards.
The only polling organization that I have found that has been putting numbers up on the electoral votes is Rasmussen. He has the Democrats at 260 to 240 with the Democrats only needing to win about 25% of the toss ups
 
Written By: John Ryan
URL: http://
The heavy money is still on the Democrats on ALL of the political future boards.
Of course it is - it’s May for heaven sake.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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