Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pay Attention, People: The Cult Is Cracking

Democrats traumatized by the surreal losses in 2000 and 2004 feel like it's déjà vu all over again, with the sudden surge of John McCain and Sarah Palin in the polls. It's like a bad dream: Even the Obama fundraising juggernaut is stumbling, according to the New York Times, missing its internal targets and having to push harder for cash. Meanwhile, white women have flocked to the ticket with the white female vice president; according to the most recent ABC News poll, Barack Obama had an 8-point lead among white women voters last week; now he's trailing McCain by 12, a 20-point swing in one week.

...Watching Obama's press conference Tuesday morning, I found myself thinking the Democrat needs some sleep -- and maybe a speech coach. I know, that sounds ridiculous given what a great orator he is. But in these short sessions with reporters, and even sometimes on the stump, he's strangely rambling and indirect. There are too many "ums" and "you knows" and long preambles. Asked a question about Palin stealing his thunder with her star power and biography, his answer began:

"You know, uh uh, I guess, uh uh, one of the benefits of running a 19-month race, we've been through twists and turns." He went on and on with that preamble, and I found myself tuning out the rest of his answer.

-- Joan Walsh, one of the most liberal of liberal talking heads, finally noticing what the rest of us have seen all along, in Salon.com.