But one aspect of his campaign that troubles me is his unwillingness to play the rough and tumble politics you need to go up against the Republican slime machine. The GOP can't run the damn country, but they sure are good at running dirty campaigns.
The Obama camp's tenderness is seen in this quote from his campaign manager, David Axelrod, in a Times piece about the GOP's use of cheap symbolism to define their opponent:
“The question,” Mr. Axelrod said, “is whether given the abysmal state of our economy, given the war, given all the challenges that people sense we face that have led George Bush to have the lowest rating ever, do you believe that voters are going to be distracted from the fundamental need for change? I think the answer to that is no.”
I think the answer is yes.
After eight years under Boy George, the country sure is in abysmal shape, the economy is tanking, the war grinds on - but do not underestimate the ability of the American people to be bamboozled by bullshit issues, the type of issues Republicans are masters are throwing out to muddy the way.
Hell, look back no farther than the 2004 race. Decorated war hero John Kerry, injured in combat in the Vietnam war, running against draft dodging, coke inhaling George W. Bush whose daddy pulled strings to get him out of combat and into a cushy National Guard assignment - an assignment that he didn't even complete, no less!
Yet somehow Kerry was morphed by the sleazeballs running Bush's campaign into an effete Easterner, a liberal whose war record and patriotism was questioned on a daily basis. Don't think those "Swift Boaters" aren't just lying under their rocks right now ready to slither out and begin their work on Obama.
Say what you will about the Clintons - they know how to hit back and hit back hard when they are slimed. There is a reason Bill Clinton was the only Democratic president since FDR elected to two terms. There's a reason he was at 70 percent approval in the polls, the very day the GOP impeached him for getting a bob job.
Obama and his team better get ready for the slime that's going to hit him if he's the candidate. (And, of course, some of it has already started, with smarmy comments made about whether he wears a goddamn flag pin in his lapel).
The Obama team better be ready to put aside their high-minded thinking that somehow times have changed so much, and that people won't be distracted and fooled by the constant GOP sleaze. They better be ready to hit back damn hard when the nonsense starts.