I’d been trying to flesh out this brainstorm I had Thursday night, but my failure to focus yesterday prevented me from getting an angle on this idea. It’s all based on this notion that Obama’s not very good playing defense while the circumstances of the campaign have largely kept him on offense.
I might have saved the idea for a later date — or perhaps neglected it altogether had I not, just before turning in, noted Jennifer Rubin’s criticism of the McCain campaign for failing to “get into the math . . . of Barack Obama’s spending plans and explains.”
For most of the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama has been on offense. He was the challenger going after Hillary Clinton, his party’s nominee presumptive. When she started going after him, he floundered, limping across the finish line to his party’s nomination.
Once the McCain campaign started its summer offensive, he became peevish, whining about his Republican opponent’s creative ads. His campaign seemed to be coming apart in the days after the GOP Convention when Sarah Palin fired up the GOP base.
Only the financial crisis put McCain on the defensive as the candidate of the party in power. Perhaps, had McCain more quickly hit Obama for failing to do anything while in the Senate to forestall the crisis, we might see a different dynamic today.
The Republican would, however, have needed the media to help him raise those questions. And our media haven’t done a very good job of challenging the Democratic nominee. They haven’t put him on the defense as they have John McCain and Sarah Palin.
That’s why Rubin’s post reminded me of my “brainstorm.” Quoting economist Alan Reynolds who wonders how Obama, if elected, would pay for the trillions of dollars in new spending he proposes. She concludes that “We don’t know, because he has never been grilled and never been forced to respond to the math.”
Never been grilled. Never been forced to defend his expensive agenda in light of current fiscal reality. How might Obama have held up had the media been more aggressive or the McCain campaign more focused?