Saturday, September 13, 2008

From the Gut

I think Tom Friedman is right: Obama has to step it up -- and I have no doubt he will:

This race has a long way to go. It is still Obama’s election to lose. But Obama got where he is today by defining himself as the agent of change and by defining change as the issue in this election. McCain, with Palin’s help, has once again not only made Obama’s experience an issue, but has now moved in on Obama’s strength and tried to define the G.O.P. ticket as the party of “change.”

How, you ask, can two people running with the exact same policies as the party that has been in power for eight years, claim to be the agents of “change?” That’s politics. There’s no shame. But what this has done is to make the word “change” as a campaign slogan meaningless. Obama will need to find another way to connect his ideas — clearly, crisply and passionately.

Because, while the pollsters tell us it is still really close, my own totally unscientific, seat of the pants poll tells me this: When you say Obama’s name today and ask people for their first impression — a quick, flash, gut, first impression — no single word or phrase or policy comes to mind. His opponents will fill that vacuum if he doesn’t. They already are.

September 10, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

From the Gut

If John McCain can win this election race with a 50-pound ball called “George W. Bush” wrapped around one ankle and a 50-pound ball called “The U.S. Economy” wrapped around the other, then he deserves to represent America in the next Olympics in any race he wants — swimming, cycling or track — I don’t care how old he is. He would be the Michael Phelps of politics.


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