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  • What Obama’s Blunder Says About Him

    Posted by Shannon Love on September 12th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Obama ran an ad mocking McCain because McCain doesn’t use email. But McCain doesn’t use email because the North Vietnamese crippled him to the extent that he no longer can comb his hair, tie his shoes or type. 

    What does this blunder tell us about Obama?

    Nothing good. Right now, Obama’s job is to destroy John McCain in the political arena. To that end, he should know absolutely everything about the man including his physical limitations. Obama should have known off the top of his head about McCain’s limitations and down-checked the ad. Given that Obama holds forth his campaign as indicative of his executive experience, this blunder indicates that he does not understand how to manage the gathering and processing of information about opponents.

    Such an intelligence blunder on the part of a President could cost lives. 

     

    40 Responses to “What Obama’s Blunder Says About Him”

    1. LotharBot Says:

      The Obama campaign, and Obama supporters, have gotten reckless. They thought they had this thing in the bag, and now they’re struggling to keep their heads above water. They’ve gotten sloppy because of it. I can only hope they keep it up long enough to lose.

      Look at the “Palin believes Iraq is a mission from God” rumors. The clip is on youtube, and it’s pretty obvious from watching that she prefaces it with “pray that”… but people haven’t taken the time to try to parse it; they hear something that sounds controversial and they attack.

      Similarly with Palin’s statement about “explicit” sex ed; they assumed she went the abstinence-only route instead of recognizing that she supports teaching about contraceptives, just not overly graphic stuff. Knowing her daughter was pregnant, they pounced on a little hint instead of taking the time to figure out her actual position.

      Similarly with the attacks on Palin’s experience, talking about the number of employees and budget of Wasilla in comparison to the Obama campaign. The state of Alaska has 15,000 employees and a budget in the $15 billion range, which puts it about 6x and 60x ahead of Obama, respectively. This information took me a few minutes to find on the Alaska.gov website. But Obama supporters aren’t likely to have any idea about those numbers.

      And similarly with this attack on McCain. He’s obviously tech savvy; those of us who paid attention to the primaries 8 years ago know that. In light of that, you’d think someone would have spent 5 minutes with google and realized he had a good reason not to.

      I’ve thought for a long time that Obama was an empty suit. I’ve heard him called the Rorschach candidate and Barack Hologram Obama (that one by PUMAs.) I’ve never been impressed with his accomplishments or managerial abilities, and I’ve never thought of him as particularly well-spoken; his penchant for Quayleisms and accidentally offensive comments is unmatched. Now that he’s trailing and has stopped being so cautious, that’s starting to show to more people. Between the bitter gun-clingers, the lipstick-wearers, the residents of the extra 7 states, the disabled, and so on, he’s found himself in a heap of trouble. Just a week ago I was saying he’d probably win, but now I could see him going the way of Dukakis.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      I am sure that when told about this fact, Hussein will blame his staff — one more time.

      I used to thrash associates who blamed their underlings. It is about as classless thing as an executive can do.

    3. Lexington Green Says:

      He has counted on the MSM coveriong for him for so long that he cannot function without air cover.

      However, the story will likely get out about how ill-advised this was.

      Drip, drip, drip — I hope that is the sound of his campaign draining away. Fingers crossed.

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      Robert Schwartz,

      I am sure that when told about this fact, Hussein will blame his staff — one more time.

      It’s especially damning given that choosing and supervising his subordinates is the central task of an executive. This is especially true in the case of an executive such as a candidate who has complete control over hiring and firing. When an executive says that his staff failed, he is saying that he failed.

    5. Terry Says:

      I can recall two very significant cases of buyer’s regret in my life.

      The first was when a friend graduated from high school and bought a new Yugo instead of a used Camaro.

      The second was when Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate.

      The Yugo lasted two months. I’m not sure Joe will last that long.

      There is not much about the Obama campaign that isn’t tanking right now, despite having the news media and entertainment industry pimping him at every opportunity.

      I’m looking forward to a McCain/Palin administration that will fight not only their political opponents, but also their own party to stop screwing around with this country. Energy is the economy, energy is national security. Energy is everything, and only McCain and Palin can fix this.

    6. Marco Says:

      LotharBot: “Just a week ago I was saying he’d probably win, but now I could see him going the way of Dukakis.”

      I was thinking along the same lines. Never have I seen Harold Wilson’s statement about a week being a long time in politics demonstrated with such force.

    7. Mwalimu Daudi Says:

      Unfortunately, the McCain campaign had a major unforced error when it agreed to having Palin interviewed by Charlie Gibson.

      What’s next – an interview conducted by Howard Dean? Perhaps Dennis Kucinich? Or maybe even Rosie O’Donnell? Why not all three, and while we are at it throw in Keith Olbermann for good measure?

      No wonder the GOP is called the Stupid Party – after decades of being demonized and dehumanized by the MSM the Republicans keep coming back for more. I suspect that the Messiah’s most recent blunder will not be as costly as McCain’s.

    8. Shannon Love Says:

      Mwalimu Daudi,

      Unfortunately, the McCain campaign had a major unforced error when it agreed to having Palin interviewed by Charlie Gibson.

      I don’t see that as being an unforced error and if it is, it does rise to the same scale as this one. Republicans have to face a hostile and biased press at some point. If they don’t, they’re accused 24/7 of “hiding from the press”.

      By comparison, Obama only had to use google and it is the kind of opposition research he should have preformed and memorized months ago.

    9. Fredrik Nyman Says:

      I have no idea who will win the election — but I do think it’s pretty clear that the election will no longer be about coronating Obama.

      Does that matter? I would think so, yes; once Obama got Hillary rattled and popped her inevitability balloon, the dynamics of the D primary changed, and Hillary made unforced errors (e.g. tall tales about coming under sniper fire).

      Is a similar dynamic at play here? Quite probably, yes: I do think McCain – and even more Palin – have Obama rattled. But the dynamics are different too, and may well be contributing factors. Obama’s inexperience, for one thing: this is his first real election against a real opponent from the opposite party. His team’s inexperience, for another: David Axelrod hasn’t run a nationwide campaign before.

      There are other factors in play too, that I think have some effect. The media factor, for one thing: not just political geeks notice that the MSM wants Obama to win, and will do anything to make that happen, and that they regard Palin with hatred and contempt. What is different this year is that the electorate have noticed. The blogs, sadly, aren’t keeping the media honest, but at least they expose the lies.

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Fredrik Nyman,

      Is a similar dynamic at play here?

      I think the dynamic is one of ideological parochialism amplified by an uncritical media. Both Hilliary and Obama never faced serious opposition or questioning. Their campaigns remained untested. Hilliary learned the hard way after the media turned on her and suddenly minor errors that once would have gone unremarked became red meat.

      Obama faces the same problem. In the primaries, the media shielded him and Hillary could not go after him to hard. Now he faces a no holds barred contest and he simply does not know how to fight in such an environment.

      Primaries (and elections in general) should follow the old military axiom “the more blood on the training field, the less blood on the battle field”. Elections should be about stress testing the candidates. The media should be trying to destroy every candidate. Instead, they coddle their favorites and let them blunder unprepared to the general election.

    11. Fredrik Nyman Says:

      Shannon —

      Ah, the hothouuse flower factor. But how much of a factor is it going to be though? The media still shields Obama, and I don’t see any signs of that changing anytime soon. Should we expect the media to suddenly behave like professionals in the upcoming debates?

    12. Peg C. Says:

      Shannon is right: the media and the Left do not believe in testing, in proving one’s mettle, etc. Look at their stance on testing in schools, in scholastic testing, in competition in general. Damaging to self-esteem. It’s a cliche now that conservatives’ ideas are tested every day and are stronger and more intellectually coherent as a result, but it’s still true. The Left wants to claim we live in an echo chamber but it’s anything but. (I myself was a Dem for over 26 years; no echo chamber here!) The Dems, the media, Hollywood, academia, etc., form a closed loop that coddles and keeps soft its political aspirants. They thrive where they have no competition and they do not get tested. Hillary and Obama (Al Gore and Kerry as well) are the natural outcome of this inbreeding.

      As far as military analogies go, anything militaristic simply horrifies these people. And they want to lead this great nation with all that that implies. Horrifying.

    13. Mwalimu Daudi Says:

      I don’t see that as being an unforced error and if it is, it does rise to the same scale as this one. Republicans have to face a hostile and biased press at some point. If they don’t, they’re accused 24/7 of “hiding from the press”.

      That is a common sense interpretation, Shannon. Which is exactly what the MSM lacks.

      Here is my main beef with the McCain campaign’s blunder. I don’t think it matters one whit to voters if the MSM shrieks and pouts and whines that Republicans are avoiding “the press”. By appearing with Charlie Gibson the McCain gave ABC exactly what it does not deserve – respectability. ABC is now engaged in a full-court smear against Palin, and the Mccain campaign assisted.

      But if GOP politicians must consent to interviews with MSM blowhards, they should do the following: bring their own camera crews and make it plain that the journalists will be taped and held accountable for any distortions and falsehoods that they put on the air. If the MSM objects, then Republicans should point out that the MSM has a long history of bias and dishonesty and that if they really represented “the public’s right to know”, then they would welcome the accountability and the chance to come clean. Don’t let the MSM yammer about “broadcast rights” – it’s either agree to be held accountable or get lost.

      In short, the GOP must not follow the rules set down by the MSM. Period. End of debate.

    14. J Says:

      Where did you hear McCain’s dexterity was so crippled that he can’t type? I thought he could not raise his arms. I’ve seen photos of him signing autographs, that should be enough dexterity to get computer literate. In fact here’s an article where he says he is learning to go online himself, but he doesn’t email because he doesn’t have need for it (he does read emails). He knows the impact of the internet, he just isn’t into it as the younger generation is into it. Certainly his daughter is on-line with the blog, so he knows how it impacts people’s lives. But he is from the older generation where news comes on paper, and can relate to that better. It hasn’t stopped any of our previous presidents from running the country. George Bush even claimed he didn’t read newspapers.

      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/11711.html

    15. Shannon Love Says:

      Fredrik Nyman,

      The media still shields Obama, and I don’t see any signs of that changing anytime soon

      No, but their ability to do so in the general election is greatly reduced. The rough edges they prevented from being rounded in the primaries will become evident. In the end, they weaken the ideas they claim to be supporting.

    16. A.W. Says:

      I have been solidly in McCain’s camp for months because, gee, i don’t want to lose the war on terror. But my brother is torn, because he has not fallen for all this “McCain is the devil” shtick, but he is pretty liberal. But tonight, McCain may have lost my brother.

      You see, my brother and I are disabled. We have a couple learning disabilities each.

      And even if he forgives that, he is going to watch the howling monkeys on the left try to defend this indefensible ad, claiming that 1) McCain is not realy all that disabled this way, and 2) if he is, he is not qualified to be president.

      For all disabled people it brings up very bad feelings, but for those of us who have disabilities, even more so. From people who claimed we were faking our limitations–when in fact, to admit our limitations often made us feel ashamed–or to claim that our limitations were so severe we were not able to do anything–based on an outsized estimation of how much we are limited, or underestimating our ingenuity in overcoming those limitations, this is going to sound nastily familiar.

      This is sort of like my take on Palin. I figured only a few women would vote for McCain because he brought on a woman. But as they watched the virulent and nasty attacks on her, many women would identify with her and bond with her. that speech at the convention was some confirmation of that theory and i think it will only get worse as we go along.

      Don’t get cocky, McCain, but either by luck or rare political genius, you have them so turned around they don’t know what to do, and pretty soon they will start to be spooked. And here is the really funny part. Obama himself doesn’t seem to take the idea of losing very good. And his supporters won’t either, especially after 8 years of bush. They will get more desperate as they go along, and this could really turn into a rout.

    17. Shannon Love Says:

      But if GOP politicians must consent to interviews with MSM blowhards, they should do the following: bring their own camera crews and make it plain that the journalists will be taped and held accountable for any distortions and falsehoods that they put on the air.

      That’s a very good idea. With cheap digital cameras there is no reason why there should not be multiple records of each interview.

      But I do believe that the media still retains enough credibility that candidates cannot simply ignore them all together.

    18. Steven Den Beste Says:

      As regard blaming it on Obama’s staff, there’s an old aphorism from business:

      “First class people hire first class people. Second class people hire third class people.”

    19. Fredrik Nyman Says:

      J (September 12th, 2008 at 11:56 pm) —

      http://www.forbes.com/asap/2000/0529/053_print.html

      In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. “She’s a whiz on the keyboard, and I’m so laborious,” McCain admits.

    20. Lexington Green Says:

      “First class people hire first class people. Second class people hire third class people.”

      SDB is right — and this applies to the VP pick as well.

      A very lame, cowardly choice.

    21. Shannon Love Says:

      J,

      Where did you hear McCain’s dexterity was so crippled that he can’t type?

      See above about the Forbes article. The issue was fairly well documented in the 2000 election.

      Most politicians try to minimize their disabilities so that they do not become readily apparent. Few people realized, for example, that Bob Dole had a crippled hand form an injury sustained in WWII because he always held a pencil in it.

    22. Your Liberal Nightmare Says:

      ”But as they watched the virulent and nasty attacks on her, many women would identify with her and bond with her.”

      How condescending. do you really believe conservative women are [blah blah blah – deleted for trolling]

    23. Anonymous Says:

      “Unfortunately, the McCain campaign had a major unforced error when it agreed to having Palin interviewed by Charlie Gibson.”

      Do you know what polls are?

    24. Your Liberal Nightmare Says:

      Two words about the disability excuse: VOICE RECOGNITION

      [deleted for trolling – don’t take the bait]

    25. Mwalimu Daudi Says:

      How condescending. do you really believe conservative women are so emotionally needy they would invest their vote on the basis of counter-identification? It’s pretty sad to base your vote on identity, but to base it on opposing someone else’s identity is even more tragic.

      So what does that say about the Messiah’s constant race-baiting? Or is that a nightmare you prefer to forget?

    26. Fredrik Nyman Says:

      LiberalNightmare:

      What is the counter-identification here? Rather, I think some women will feel identification (or solidarity if you prefer), having themselves experienced or witnessed their sisters being the target of snarking, hate, contempt, and double standards.

    27. LotharBot Says:

      “If McCain had the lifestyle and leadership style that required persistent, asynchronous, accountable, immediate communications, he would have no choice but to use email.”

      Powerful people like presidents and senators don’t have a lot of spare time to devote to sitting at the computer typing. Instead, they pay someone else to do it. If something actually demands their attention, they get briefed on it, and if a response is needed, they can dictate one.

      —–

      Watching somebody be subject to unfair attacks triggers sympathy, and sympathy makes you more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and to listen to them. It’s not as though the attacks will somehow magically make women vote for Palin; rather, the attacks will trigger a degree of sympathy (among men too!) that will make people more likely to identify with her and with her message. Not everybody votes based on a careful analysis and weighing of every issue; a lot of people vote based on who inspires them or who catches their imagination or who “feels” right to them. Obama inspired a lot of people and captured their imaginations during the primaries, but as he’s started making silly attacks and Palin has been their subject, a lot of people have shifted over to her side.

      The election is still a long way off, but if Obama keeps attacking and Palin keeps garnering sympathy, it’s going to be 1988 (but probably not 1984) all over again.

    28. Helen Says:

      Did Palin do really badly in those interviews? Not what I read. Surely an interviewer as hostile and as condescending as Gibson seems to have been would surely antagonize a lot of people, men and women, who would be on the side of the politician. It is certainly the only thing that will make politicians even remotely popular here. Isn’t it one of the accusations against Obama that he will not face hostile interviews?

    29. Helen Says:

      Too many surelys in the second sentence above. Wish there was a way of correcting postings on the forum.

    30. hanzie Says:

      McCain does use voice recognition. Her name is Cindy McCain.

      By the way, Forbes said it was painful to type in 2000. It’s now 8 years later. If it’s painful 28 years after the initial injuries, it’s got to be worse now, as McCain is 72. But his speaking voice is as great as ever, and he certainly has all the assistance typing he could possibly want.

      Obama: “I have experience typing. But please don’t ask me how to land a jet fighter on an aircraft carrier in a storm. There’s some technology even the godlike can’t understand”

    31. Shannon Love Says:

      Your Liberal Nightmare,

      Two words about the disability excuse: VOICE RECOGNITION

      My mother had to use voice recognition software and I have even written some. It doesn’t work well. People use it only has a last resort. McCain doesn’t have to use it so he doesn’t.

      If McCain had the lifestyle and leadership style that required persistent, asynchronous, accountable, immediate communications, he would have no choice but to use email.

      McCain’s workflow makes heavy use of all forms of electronic communication. It is merely that he himself does actually manipulate the human/computer interface. He has others do it for him. Since people talk faster than they type this is most time effective way to communicate. Given that executives like McCain or Obama must process vast amounts of information from many different sources, using human interfaces is more efficient.

      Not arguing that disqualifies him from the presidency, but it does tell you something about how he works.

      No, Obama intended the ad to demonstrate that McCain is old and out of touch to the point were he “doesn’t use that new fanged interweb thingy the kids are so excited about these days.” That is not true. In fact, McCain has been somewhat out ahead on the use of the internet over the last decade.

      The ad represented a major error on Obama’s part because he apparently did not realize that McCain suffered from a physical disability. It’s his job and his responsibility as a candidate to know these things and to not make these kinds of errors. That he has made two (at least) so far says something about his executive skills.

    32. david foster Says:

      Robert Schwartz;

      “A chief is a man who takes responsibility. He does not say “my men were defeated,” he says *I* was defeated.”

      –Antoine de St-Exupery

    33. Sloan Says:

      “Not everybody votes based on a careful analysis and weighing of every issue; a lot of people vote based on who inspires them or who catches their imagination or who “feels” right to them.”

      And as much as I pride myself on voting based on experience, qualifications, and voting record, I have to admit that Sarah Palin has just flat-out inspired me. I’m not sure I can explain why, but I think it has a lot to do with her story…where she came from, how she got involved in politics, and how she took on “the forces that be” and won. And in a fairly short period of time, she rose to be governor of the Great State of Alaska, with very little help from her own party. She’s quite a lady.

      I have long predicted that the first female President will be a Republican, not a Democrat. If she comports herself well as V.P., my prediction may well come true.

    34. Helen Says:

      In the past it was a sort of a political rule that any woman who was a serious candidate won the first time round. I don’t think Geraldine Ferraro counted as a serious candidate though that was not really her fault. But this rule broke down with Segolene Royal, a lady I wrote about a good deal at the time. The reason, in my opinion, is that the rule applies to the right. A serious woman candidate on the left does not necessarily get in. All kinds of reasons for that but one is that the traditional left and, it appears, the newer left are seriously misogynistic. On the right, women do get to the top and I don’t mean just Thatcher either. So most probably Palin will be the first woman President. Though, naturally, there’s many a slip ….

      Going back to Obama’s ad. I know others have pointed this out on other blogs and forums but it needs to be said – is the ability to type really the most important qualification for a President. When I blogged about it, somebody reminded me that Tony Blair could not use e-mail (not a surprise, most MPs don’t know how to switch on a computer) and has only just learnt to text. So? He was a pretty crummy prime minister but not because of that.

    35. J Says:

      Thanks for the forbes link. Quite interesting how the internet campaign was run in the last election. I imagine web campaigning has only intensified in this one.

      It makes better sense that McCain actually can type, though not easily and painful. I couldn’t understand how he could get recertified as a pilot if he couldn’t physically type. It explains some of the comments about his determination and how he barely made it.

      In addition to the Obama campaign’s ‘John McCain is stuck in the last century’ smear, I also find the McCain campaign’s ‘Barack Obama wants your kindergarters to learn about sex’ smear quite beneath these two candidates. I’m hoping we are not in for more lies and the campaigns will pull back from these shameful attacks.

    36. Lexington Green Says:

      “If McCain had the lifestyle and leadership style that required persistent, asynchronous, accountable, immediate communications, he would have no choice but to use email.”

      Serious executives never touch email, from what I am seeing.

      Their secretaries cull through it. They have f2f and phone conferences, and they are very selective about who gets to be in either of them.

      Email is mostly a waste of time. Ten emails get typed to resolve things that could be done in ten seconds on the phone or in person.

      McCain not touching email, if it is true, is smart not stupid.

    37. OBloodyhell Says:

      > They thought they had this thing in the bag, and now they’re struggling to keep their heads above water. They’ve gotten sloppy because of it. I can only hope they keep it up long enough to lose.

      Making it glaringly clear how unprepared and unable to perform they are for the Top Spot.

      Surprises are an eternal part of international diplomacy and international interactions of all sorts.

      Getting broadsided because you did not properly research your opponent is bad. Floundering wildly about while attempting to regain your footing is worse still.

      Once more we see that Obama doesn’t have what it takes.

      Jimmy Carter, Part Deux? I damned sure hope not!

    38. OBloodyhell Says:

      > his penchant for Quayleisms and accidentally offensive comments is unmatched.

      I dunno, there.

      Biden seems to be able to trump him daily.

      Near as I can see, Biden can’t say anything without one foot in his mouth, and he’s always making the supreme effort to put the other one in there, as well.

      ================================================================================
      How can you have both feet on the ground when one is always stuck in your mouth?
      ================================================================================

      LOL

      .

    39. OBloodyhell Says:

      > Unfortunately, the McCain campaign had a major unforced error when it agreed to having Palin interviewed by Charlie Gibson.

      Don’t be ridiculous. All it’s done is given the McCain/Palin people an opportunity to point out how ridiculously biased the MSM are by showing how carefully they edited highly relevant parts of the interview out. The only ones who will stay convinced that Palin is a bad choice are the ones who were already of that opinion on day 1. Everyone else will get the whole deal, regardless of Gibson’s smarmy questioning and ABC’s egregious attack job in the edit room.

      The Gibson interview has given the GOP not less than two talking points which any rational viewer can see as valid —
      The MSM is attacking M/P in a way that they are clearly *NOT* attacking O/B
      The MSM isn’t even being fair when they get to put forth biased questions, but are taking the responses and removing context to smear as much as they can.

      There may be more to come, we’ll see.

    40. Obloodyhell Says:

      > Two words about the disability excuse: VOICE RECOGNITION
      [deleted for trolling – don’t take the bait]

      Well, I’ll grant that a legitimate element, even if the troll would never grasp why or the following response — But other reading may not be such closed-minded fools, though they might not see the answer due to unfamiliarity with the state of technology — So, for their benefit, let’s note:

      Voice recognition does work — sort of. Like handwriting recognition, if you’ve ever used either — It’s still a long ways away from perfection, is far from consistent or easy, requires a notable amount of time to train and/or set up.

      It’s truly orders of magnitude better that being utterly without.

      But when you are wealthy enough to have human assistants, and a supportive wife and daughter, etc., who can assist you — voice recognition is a complete waste of very valuable time.

      Sure, you may be able to do fine enough on your own in a wheelchair(see Stephen Hawking), or with a seeing eye dog (and voice reader software)… but if you can afford a human assistant to help you instead, then EVERYTHING you do is so much faster it’s better to have than the assistive techniques in question.

      So Duh and QED. “Voice Recognition”, for McCain, is a ridiculous option.