2008 Obama’s Meta-Problem
posted by October 29 at 15:00 PMon
Much of it amounts to piling on to all the criticism of Obama for not understanding how bad an idea it would be to have Donnie McClurkin, a man who has been “delivered from homosexuality,” as part of the recent pro-Obama gospel tour.
But the bigger problem is this: Obama is (or should be) trying to gain traction among Democratic primary voters. Again: Democratic primary voters.
To do this, he promised on Sunday to rev up his campaign by taking a tougher line against Hillary Clinton. But based on his performance since, Obama seems to have misunderstood why Democratic primary voters wanted someone to be more forceful against Clinton in the first place.
There are a lot of Democrats who worry that Clinton is too mainstream, too… Republican. They want someone to challenge her forcefully from the left, and they want Obama to be that person. They want Obama to be a proxy for them, for their frustration at how wildly far to the right they think the country has pulled in the last eight years.
Naturally, a lot of these people are gay or gay-friendly liberals. Naturally, these people have bad memories of the last presidential campaign and all its gay-baiting and homophobe embracing. Obama needs these people, and a lot of them are naturally drawn to him (or to an idealized vision of him), but here’s what he’s done lately to win them over:
First, he ran a campaign that failed to mount a forceful challenge to Clinton’s candidacy. Then he promised he would get tougher against Clinton and point out where his positions are actually more in line with liberal values than hers. And then, within the span of a day, he proved not even tough enough to yank an anti-gay voice from one of his campaign’s own events, infuriating liberals all over the country.
If Obama’s not tough enough to defend the interests and beliefs of left-leaning Democratic voters at his own events, why should these people now believe that he’s tough enough to successfully take on Clinton? More importantly: Why should they believe he’s any different than Clinton?
That’s Obama’s big problem nowócaused by the whole McClurkin mess, but much, much bigger than the sum of its parts.