Barack, Hit Back At McCain!

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You hit me, and I hit you back, God will not be angry. That needs to be imparted to the people who run the Obama campaign. Docility in the face of voracious negative attacks, don’t win elections. Both Al Gore and Kerry tried it, look where it landed them. A word for the wise.

[Election 2008]

The “Palin” phenomenon would not have arisen if the Obama campaign had been pragmatic in selecting Clinton as his running-mate rather than emotional with assumed unforgivable and destructive attacks by Senator Clinton.

That is Politics 101; if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I say bring back those who devised the “kitchen-sink strategy;” the Mark Penns, the James Carvilles and the Paul Begalas. 

McCain understands what he needs to do to win; by his pick of Governor Palin, a strategic decision made by Karl Rove’s students, it is beginning to appear that Obama should have done the right thing.

Senator Barack Obama has to be lectured that you don’t win elections by playing gentleman. Gentlemen in politics always finish last and don’t get elected. Obama has to show anger—he has to show emotion; this coolness stuff has started to endanger his chances of becoming president of the United States (POTUS).

Yesterday, I watched the Obama response to the McCain ad attacking him about “Lipstick on a Pig.” It seemed as if he was lecturing his students; where was the passion? Where was his anger that the McCain campaign has gone too far? 

Maybe I am myopic, but to my naked eyes I didn’t see any of those things. Here’s a quote from an article I wrote on July 30, on “The Biased American Media Against Obama.” “As we say back in Africa, ‘Do me, I do you, God no go vex.’”

You hit me, and I hit you back, God will not be angry. That needs to be imparted to the people who run the Obama campaign.  Docility in the face of voracious negative attacks, don’t win elections. Both Al Gore and Kerry tried it, look where it landed them. A word for the wise.

Apart from the lackadaisical manner in which he delivered this rebuttal to the McCain attack, Obama chose defense rather than offense. Obama needed to have come out smoking with outrage, visible outrage, not this cool civility. 

All he needed to say to the press today, was “I am not going to apologize about my comment about Lipstick on a pig, until John McCain apologizes to Senator Hillary Clinton.” McCain used similar words as Obama's "pig" comment while denigrating Clinton's healthcare plan earlier in the campaign.

And then Obama could have added that he was not going to address the issue again until he heard McCain’s apology to Clinton, rather than this circumlocution of a jibberish he uttered. Obama was presented with a perfect opportunity to drive a wedge between the 8-12% of fanatical Clinton supporters and their desire to vote for McCain. 
What should have been good for the goose should have been good for the gander. If McCain felt Obama called Palin a “pig”, then it should have been obvious that McCain called Clinton a “pig.” This was an opportunity to tear the Palin-McCain ticket to shreds, but he failed to do so. 

There are some sharkpunditrata who continue to harp on how Obama would destroy his “brand” if he were to become too negative.  I say screw the “brand” stuff; it is about winning the election. 

Maybe the lesson Obama said Clinton taught him during the primaries has been forgotten in this general election season. The same sharkpunditrata are waiting to write the obituary of what he failed to do in an election which is said to be his to lose. 

This is no longer about winning the caucuses in the primaries, restricted to ardent Democrats. He has forgotten that he almost lost the nomination by sitting idly by while Hillary Clinton started employing the Republican playbook against him. He lost the major states. The so-called “kitchen-sink strategy” almost worked. We have a saying that “a man who has been bitten by a snake should be afraid of the worm.”

In other words, Obama’s antennae should have perked up once he returned from the triumphant world tour and the McCain campaign decided to brand him as a “celebrity.”

Obama then as now decided to play defense over one of the greatest phenomenal accomplishments of a US presidential candidate. Rather than respond to the thousands of white Europeans adoring America, he allowed the McCain camp to destroy his European triumph. Obama should have countered that ad with: “When was the last time hundreds of thousands of Europeans were waving American flags, rather than burning them?”

I know I will be excoriated, but I am going to say it. The difference between we Blacks and Whites is that we bring emotion to issues; whites bring pragmatism on the other hand. Look at the present make-up of the McCain campaign: he has re-assembled those who were used to dreadfully oust him from the Republican primaries in 2000—Carl Rove and his minions, including chief campaign manager Steve Schmidt. 

They have brought the same playbook they employed in getting Bush elected twice: employ non-issues, cause confusion within the electorate, and let them forget that you are the party in power that has caused countless sufferings. 

And in this, they found an obscure governor of a state whom they perfectly knew had a great deal of problems, and they figured that the press would be focused on the negatives, and that there would be a backlash against press criticism of Governor Palin. Look at what has happened since her selection which has thrown the Obama campaign; making the same mistakes earlier attributed to the Clinton campaign.

I don’t want to say that I told you so, for this is what I wrote on July 9th, in an article entitled “Obama/Clinton: Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize”:

“So, I vote for our keeping our eyes on the prize - POTUS, and despite all denials, I am happy that Obama is beginning to see the clear sky now that the fog has cleared. I don’t see another candidate that could help him win easily as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton could, and I vote for her as the vice-presidential candidate to Senator Barack Obama. It is a winning combination that is formidable.”

I am not going to cry over spilt milk; that would be like cutting my nose to spite my face. 

Obama needs to develop a more emotional and passionate manner of reacting to issues.  Frankly, he is beginning to give me ulcers.

Dr. Onyeani is Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the African Sun Times: www.africansuntimes.com

 


 

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