Monday, May 12, 2008

Skewin' Right

Well, this is cute. Doug Schoen has a bushel of advice for Obama in an editorial in the WSJ. Since it is the WSJ, though, every bit of it is advice that would be well-suited for a Republican.

I mean, look at this:

First, and obviously symbolically, he must start wearing the flag lapel pin. He simply cannot afford to raise doubts about his patriotism.

More substantively, he must also unabashedly support measures that reflect and emphasize his commitment to traditional American values.

For example, he should commit to enhancing and strengthening the earned income tax credit, to provide tax relief to the working poor and to continue transferring people from welfare to work. This will demonstrate his preference for hard work and initiative as opposed to entitlement programs.

Mr. Obama must also demonstrate concretely that he is sympathetic to the victims of crime -- in ways that go beyond the abstract rhetoric of his March 18 speech on race relations in Philadelphia. He needs to make clear, in no uncertain terms, that he understands American concerns about law and order, and that he puts public safety at the top of his priorities. To be sure, there is an increasing role for rehabilitation in the criminal justice system. But Mr. Obama must emphasize first and foremost that he is on the side of law-abiding people.

To win southwestern states such as Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, he must demonstrate his intention to secure our borders, and to integrate those immigrants who are here into American society with a clear path to citizenship. Mr. Obama should also reemphasize his support for the rights of gun owners to hunt and use firearms safely and responsibly.

On foreign policy, Mr. Obama must refute the presumption that he is not fully committed to the war on terror, or that he believes every problem can be solved by negotiating with the leaders of rogue nations. He must reassure people that he understands diplomacy has its limits. Part of this reassurance should consist of a speech that Mr. Obama should give on the subject of what Ronald Reagan called "American exceptionalism" -- still a core value for most Americans, and particularly swing voters. Our role in the world, and our unique democratic experience, make us a nation that has to be prepared to stand alone if absolutely necessary.

So the politician who is supposed to transcend old politics should prove himself by...acting exactly like a moderate Republican?

I mean, look at the stuff I bolded. "secure our borders"? "committed to the war on terror"? "On the side of law-abiding people?" "Traditional American values?"


You must be joking.

Yes, buddy, I'm aware that you (barely) won Tennessee for Clinton in 1996. Guess what? It isn't 1996. Triangulation doesn't work anymore. It never did, really, which is why your ilk kept getting beaten over and over and over again in Congressional elections across the country, and why your chosen president is best remembered for enacting policies that make Republicans far happier than Democrats.

(Which is one of the under-discussed reasons why his wife got smoked by Obama, but I digress.)

And for the comedy coup d'etat, I give you the last paragraph:

If Barack Obama is going to win the election, he needs to be able to fight the contest on the core economic issues that clearly work to the Democrats' advantage -- such as job creation, expanding access to health care, and providing relief to homeowners who have trouble paying their mortgages. But unless he is able to present himself as being part of the mainstream on core cultural and values issues, the Republican attack machine will be able to make this election about issues having little to do with the economy and our role in the world.
Ah yes. The siren call of DLC-style triangulation. I've asked before, I'll ask again. Does this ever work?


When the candidate isn't already possessing enough advantages that he probably doesn't need to pull this in the first place?

Is anybody, in 2008, still naive enough to think that positioning yourself in the middle of the field won't cause the Republicans to run the goalposts past you and attack you from the new middle? I didn't figure they were. It certainly didn't explain 2006, and by even trying it, you're guaranteed to piss off the online supporters that form the bedrock of 21st century fundraising.

I don't know, maybe this guy is a former Hillary supporter that's trying to sabotage Obama's campaign, although I can't see Axelrod, Plouffe et al being this dumb. I certainly hope not, anyway.

Edit: Oh, crap, that's where I know the name from. He's the strategist at Mark Penn's outfit. He's also the guy who said, in the Washington Post, that Clinton should keep on hammering Obama with as many negative attacks as possible, while repeating that "most liberal member" nonsense!

I'd be surprised if Obama's people even acknowledge his existence.

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