The Washington wisdom about Mr. Obama has often been just as wrong as that about Mrs. Clinton. We kept being told he was making rookie mistakes and offering voters wispy idealistic sentiments rather than the real beef of policy. But what the Beltway mistook for gaffes often was the policy.Looking back on the statements that Rich references and their context, it would seem that Rich is right and interestingly enough, Obama is getting traction on these points. He doesn't seem to be the novice that everyone thought and that is good for the Democratic Party and ultimately for the nation.
Mr. Obama’s much-derided readiness to talk promptly and directly to the leaders of Iran and Syria, for instance, was a clear alternative, agree with it or not, to Mrs. Clinton’s same-old Foggy Bottom platitudes on the subject. His supposedly reckless pledge to chase down Osama bin Laden and his gang in Pakistan, without Pakistani permission if necessary, was a pointed rebuke of both Mrs. Clinton’s and President Bush’s misplaced fealty to our terrorist-enabling “ally,” Pervez Musharraf. Like Mr. Obama’s prescient Iraq speech of 2002, his open acknowledgment of the Pakistan president’s slipperiness turned out to be ahead of the curve.
Now that the Beltway establishment, jolted by the Iowa polls, is frantically revising its premature blueprints for a Clinton coronation and declaring, as Time’s inevitable cliché would have it, that Mr. Obama has “found his voice,” it’s worth looking at some campaign story lines that have been ignored so far. They tell us more than the hyped scenarios that have fallen apart. Indeed, they flip the standard narrative of Campaign 2008 on its head: Were Mr. Obama to best Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he may prove harder for the Republicans to rally against and defeat than the all-powerful, battle-tested Clinton machine.
I am not sure that Rich is right about the GOP not having a game plan in the event Obama wins the nomination. The GOP game plan against Obama may not be as fully developed as the one against Clinton, but there is one. Obama still doesn't have a great deal of experience, even missing eight years as a First Lady. I am not sure of many of the items on his domestic agenda and their cost. I do however like the fact that he says he won't take crap from the world on issues of terrorism and terrorists. Now whether he follows through with that or not is a different story.
I still won't vote for the man, but if he beats Hillary--all the better.