Sunday, January 27, 2008

You Make the Call: Does Obama Sound "Presidential" or "Black?"

If you are just waking up Sen Barack Obama won huge in South Carolina. Doubled up Hillary Clinton, won 55% of the vote, confounded the polls. Big time.

Last night CNN righty political pundit Bill Bennett noted that his victory speech sounded not only "presidential" but even Reaganesque. At around the same time a Volokh blogger posted similar thoughts in even stronger terms:

    A citizen can disagree with governmental policy proposals of Barack Obama, just as a citizen could disagree with the the policies of Ronald Reagan. But there is no reasonable doubt that Reagan did an excellent job in his role as Head of State. A patriotic American can appreciate the good work of a President as Head of State, even while disliking much of the President's work as Head of Government. Senator Obama's victory speech in South Carolina suggests that he too might be an outstanding Head of State.
Many of the commenters voiced supporting sentiments.

This is similar to Caroline Kennedy's somewhat more partisan endorsement of Barack as a politician "like [her] father."

The contrasting narrative is that Barack is now tarred (pun intentional) with the label "The Black Candidate" and therefore "won't win another state." Michael Graham ran that out in NRO. (h/t Keeler.) Redhorse's latest entry in his brilliant The Day in Billary series catches Team Clinton flogging the same meme.

Memo to the Clintons. When you say "The Black Candidate" can't win, you don't only acknowledge racism in the electorate you imply that it's OK. We expect to bring us down, not you. Let's leave the race-baiting to the professionals.


Jason Haas said...

I may be overthinking this, but after reading the snippet from Volokh, it suddenly occurred to me Obama's Reagan comments may not have been a pander to the conservative ed board, as widely speculated.

Seriously, that doesn't make much sense when you consider the ed board, even if conservative, was choosing among three Dems for primary endorsement.

Rather, Obama may have been looking long term, toward November.

Scott Piepho said...

Well that plus Obama may not know when to break the connection between his mouth an his analytical brain. He's wouldn't be the only in the midst of rethinking Reagan after the last seven years. It may well be that the remark wasn't calculated in any way, he just gave voice to something that was on his mind.

Which is generally a deadly trait in a politician.

Jason Haas said...

very true, about him and the deadliness of said trait.

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago I told a few of my co-workers that Obama reminded me of Reagan. I don't think Bennett's claim is too far off the mark. I also heard one of the television pundits refer to the Clinton's as taking on "Nixonian" tactics. I don't think that is far off the mark either.