Pundits and politicos on both sides of the aisle have long lauded the Democratic campaigns in the three most recent presidential elections (1992, 1996 and 2008) where that party’s candidate won the general election. Yet, one wonders how those campaigns would have held up had their Republican opponents mounted a more effective challenge.
In the most recent contest, we had a brief window into how the Obama team performed on defense when John McCain surged out of of St. Paul and the Democrat stumbled badly. Obama didn’t do well on defense. Had it not been for McCain’s ham-handed handling of the financial crisis — and had the Republican had a better political operation — who knows how Obama would have fared come November.
This year, we’re beginning to witness just how unprepared the Obama team is for an effective opposition. As Tevi Troy observes today in commenting on the doggie wars, “there is a larger point here as well, one that speaks to competence“:
Attacking Romney for cruelty to dogs without recognizing Obama’s own self-admitted and enormous vulnerabilty on the issue is a shocking instance of a research and self-assessment failure on the part of the Obama campaign. The Seamus attacks were not a one-time hit, but appear to have been part of a concerted effort by the Obama team to make Seamus an issue. To do so without considering that the pro-Romney forces had an easy comeback fails Campaign Hit 101.
“The dog wars show”, Troy concludes, “that the vaunted Obama campaign competence appears to be a thing of the past as well.” Is it a thing of the past or is it that it hasn’t faced such challenges before? Or perhaps, it never occurred to them that if Republicans got hit, they just might, to borrow an expression, “punch back twice as hard“.
And possibly they were also counting on the legacy media to back them up (and oblivious to the effectiveness of conservatives using new media.)On HotAir, Allahpundit shows “George Stephanopoulos wondering whether the dog wars’ have jumped the shark” and quips, “Predicted media reply: Yes with respect to the Obama dog-eating goofs, no with respect to Seamus.”
SOMEWHAT RELATED (from Glenn):
JIM TREACHER: When did President Barack Obama stop eating dogs? I’m trying to find out. Plus, many amusing photos.
Related: “Why did it take the mainstream media so long to discover that Barack Obama ate a dog?” They bought his memoirs so they’d look good on the shelf, but nobody wanted to actually read them. Besides, they were too busy going through Sarah Palin’s middle-school yearbooks.
UPDATE: Reader A. Sorenson writes: “The media now needs to think twice about being Obama’s lapdog.” Heh. Indeed.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Some background on the press’s reading priorities.
Warning: Pictures in Treacher’s link above may cause laughter.
UPDATE: Weighing in on this matter, James Taranto offers, “The Obama campaign and its surrogates have shown an amazing inability to anticipate the ways in which their attacks on Romney backfire against their own man.” If you have a moment, read the whole thing.