Remember back in June (or was it July?) when John McCain was tanking in the polls (or was it Obama who was soaring?) and sage pundits suggested the presumptive Republican nominee had “frittered away . . . his three-month general election head start.” Some thought the presumptive Republican nominee didn’t do a good enough job making his case to the general electorate after having sown up the Republican nomination while his rivals in the opposition party were still slugging it out for the Democratic nod.
He lacked, as one observer put it, aÂ theme for his pudding.
Now, with the dynamics of the race shifted*, it seems that Barack Obama, having securing that Democratic berth for the fall contest, has frittered away the lead he once enjoyed.
I don’t think Obama frittered away the entire summer, only the second half. But, he made one huge campaign blunder which, combined with a refocused McCain campaign, allowed the Republican candidate to bounce back. The presumptive Democratic nominee was on the right track when he traveled to Middle East and Europe to shore up his diplomatic and Commander-in-Chief bona fides.
But, he should never have delivered a campaign-style speech on foreign soil.
Not only did it reek of presumption, that he was acting as if he had already won the White House, but it made the trip seem less a learning experience than a media stunt. He should have waited until he got back home to make a public address about his journey, telling the people he wished to lead about what he learned and how his meetings and observations abroad would inform his Administration, should he win election.
That speech showed that the campaign was long on style, but short on substance.