Senator Barack Obama is suffering from the same disease that Hillary Clinton and Rudy Guiliani had, it’s called inevitably. Over the past few weeks he has gone from being the fresh new face to the stale inevitable candidate. With that inevitability, has come sloppiness, hence the stupid statement about rural America and his lousy performance in the last debate. Obama is on auto pilot but he doesn’t have the experience to back it up. Its just another example of how Obama is not ready for Prime Time .
Is Obama Ready for Prime Time? By KARL ROVE
April 24, 2008 After being pummeled 55% to 45% in the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama was at a loss for explanations. The best he could do was to compliment his supporters in an email saying, “you helped close the gap to a slimmer margin than most thought possible.” Then he asked for money. With $42 million in the bank, money is the least of Sen. Obama’s problems. He needs a credible message that convinces Democrats he should be president. In recent days, he’s spent too much time proclaiming his inevitable nomination. But they already know he’s won more states, votes and delegates.His words wear especially thin when he was dealt a defeat like Tuesday’s. Mr. Obama was routed despite outspending Hillary Clinton on television by almost 3-1. While polls in the final days showed a possible 4% or 5% Clinton win, she apparently took late-deciders by a big margin to clinch the landslide. Where she cobbled together her victory should cause concern in the Obama HQ. She did better – and he worse – than expected in Philadelphia’s suburbs. Mrs. Clinton won two of these four affluent suburban counties, home of the white-wine crowd Mr. Obama has depended on for victories before. In the small town and rural “bitter” precincts, she clobbered him. Mr. Obama’s state chair was Sen. Bob Casey, who hails from Lackawanna County in northeast Pennsylvania. She carried that county 74%-25%. In the state’s 61 less-populous counties, she won 63% – and by 278,266 votes. Her margin of victory statewide was 208,024 votes. Mrs. Clinton’s problem remains that she’s behind in the delegate count, with 1,589 to Mr. Obama’s 1,714. Neither candidate will get to the 2,025 needed for nomination with elected delegates. But the Democratic Party’s rules of proportionality mean it will be hard to close that margin among the 733 delegates yet to be elected or declared. Mrs. Clinton will need to take 58% of the remaining delegates. Thus far, she’s been able to get that or better in just four of the 46 contests. Her path gets rougher. While Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Puerto Rico are good territory for her, Oregon and Montana may not be. And Mrs. Clinton will be outspent badly. She entered April with $9.3 million in cash, but debts of $10.3 million. Mr. Obama had $42.5 million but only $663,000 in unpaid bills. In Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama’s money could only wipe out half a purported 20% deficit, but the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Mr. Obama behind by 2% in Indiana and ahead in North Carolina by 16%. Those states will vote in two weeks. The financial throw weight he will have in the Hoosier State could more than erase Mrs. Clinton’s lead there, while keeping North Carolina solidly in his column. His money could give him a double knockout on May 6, which would effectively end her bid for the presidency. If she wins Indiana, however, she will surely go forward – and Democrats run the risk of a split decision in June. Mr. Obama could have more delegates, but she could have more popular votes. In fact, on Tuesday night she actually grabbed the popular vote lead: If you include the Michigan and Florida primary results, Mrs. Clinton now leads the popular vote by a slim 113,000 votes out of 29,914,356 cast. Mr. Obama will argue he wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan and didn’t campaign in Florida. But don’t Democrats want to count all the votes in all the contests? After all, Mr. Obama took his name off the Michigan ballot; it isn’t something he was forced to do. And while he didn’t campaign in Florida, neither did she. And what about the Michigan and Florida delegates? By my calculations, she should pick up about 54 delegates on Mr. Obama if they are seated (this assumes the Michigan “uncommitted” delegates go for Mr. Obama). If he is ahead in June by a number similar to his lead today of 125, does he let the two delegations in and make the convention vote even closer? Or does he continue to act as if two states with 41 of the 270 electoral votes needed for the White House don’t exist? The Democratic Party has two weakened candidates. Mrs. Clinton started as a deeply flawed candidate: the palpable and unpleasant sense of entitlement, the absence of a clear and optimistic message, the grating personality impatient to be done with the little people and overly eager for a return to power, real power, the phoniness and the exaggerations. These problems have not diminished over the long months of the contest. They have grown. She started out with the highest negatives of any major candidate in an open race for the presidency and things have only gotten worse. And what of the reborn Adlai Stevenson? Mr. Obama is befuddled and angry about the national reaction to what are clearly accepted, even commonplace truths in San Francisco and Hyde Park. How could anyone take offense at the observation that people in small-town and rural American are “bitter” and therefore “cling” to their guns and their faith, as well as their xenophobia? Why would anyone raise questions about a public figure who, for only 20 years, attended a church and developed a close personal relationship with its preacher who says AIDS was created by our government as a genocidal tool to be used against people of color, who declared America’s chickens came home to roost on 9/11, and wants God to damn America? Mr. Obama has a weakness among blue-collar working class voters for a reason. His inspiring rhetoric is a potent tool for energizing college students and previously uninvolved African-American voters. But his appeals are based on two aspirational pledges he is increasingly less credible in making. Mr. Obama’s call for postpartisanship looks unconvincing, when he is unable to point to a single important instance in his Senate career when he demonstrated bipartisanship. And his repeated calls to remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s “fierce urgency of now” in tackling big issues falls flat as voters discover that he has not provided leadership on any major legislative battle. Mr. Obama has not been a leader on big causes in Congress. He has been manifestly unwilling to expend his political capital on urgent issues. He has been only an observer, watching the action from a distance, thinking wry and sardonic and cynical thoughts to himself about his colleagues, mildly amused at their too-ing and fro-ing. He has held his energy and talent in reserve for the more important task of advancing his own political career, which means running for president. But something happened along the way. Voters saw in the Philadelphia debate the responses of a vitamin-deficient Stevenson act-a-like. And in the closing days of the Pennsylvania primary, they saw him alternate between whining about his treatment by Mrs. Clinton and the press, and attacking Sen. John McCain by exaggerating and twisting his words. No one likes a whiner, and his old-style attacks undermine his appeals for postpartisanship. Mr. Obama is near victory in the Democratic contest, but it is time for him to reset, freshen his message and say something new. His conduct in the last several weeks raises questions about whether, for all his talents, he is ready to be president.