In a previous post, I argued that Barack Obama lacks the killer instinct needed to be a success in the dog-eat-dog world of politics. This post is a variation upon the same theme.
Obama has thus far advanced the politics of hope and good sportsmanship, rather than fear and dirty tricks, and for that I do applaud him. It takes courage to dare to be idealistic and optimistic in these cynical days. However, I don't think good intentions alone are sufficient to win elections. Nor do I believe in romanticized notions of clean campaigning.
Not willing to eat the cornbread, nor drink the kool-aid, I have to say that I'm frustrated thus far with the strategy of the Obama campaign. The campaign has decided to focus the lion's share of its efforts primarily in Iowa and South Carolina. It has conceded New Hampshire to Clinton, as well as Nevada. Under that modicum of thinking, Obama may win a primary or two, but the best he can hope for are a series of strong second-places. He can clearly do much better than that.
His current plan is to play nice and to not directly attack Harpy Clinton, even though she has more than ample skeletons in her closet. Directly attacking Mrs. Clinton would be so easy an exercise that it wouldn't require much effort. Nor would it be much of a stretch. The truth itself is damning enough. I don't think anyone would speak out in defense of Poor Hillary if she was taken to task for her failings as eight years as the arguably most powerful first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt.
Obama's current plan is for the gloves to come off in the period between the primaries and the Democratic convention. I believe this is a serious mistake. True, in recent years, the christening of the party's candidate has been a mere formality. He intends to run the table at the convention through the skillful manipulation of delegates and the nominating process. If I thought such a plan was plausible, I'd be all for it. However, it comes across as either delusional or merely wishful thinking.
Some of you may recall the Gary Trudeau/Robert Altman collaboration Tanner '88. In that under-appreciated HBO series, the mythical Democratic candidate Jack Tanner attempted a similar endeavor during the convention. His plan was audacious, bold, and brash. Naturally, it failed.
The sad fact is that Obama wants to sit back and seem above the fray, content let other candidates do the dirty work for him. He believes that John Edwards will launch a series of negative salvos against Clinton in a desperate effort to move out of third place. Obama conventional wisdom also believes that any presumptive GOP nominee will also take Hillary to task. Call me skeptical, but I see none of these things happening for quite some time, if ever.