Barack Obama can be forgiven if he's confused this week: The same week David Brooks was explaining that people don't know Obama, the outsider, well enough to place him; that Peggy Noonan labeled Obama "Mr. Untried and Untested," a Pew poll found that 48 percent of respondents said they were hearing too much about the presumptive Democratic nominee. Obama: under-known, but over-exposed? I talked about the paradox in this week's Current video (text below):
I think the wide-angle, overwhelmingly positive coverage of Obama's foreign tour, as well as continued fluffy coverage of his family, will pay off in the long run, even if it didn't give him a poll bounce. Like it or not, lacking a positive rationale for his own candidacy, John McCain is going to try to make Barack Obama the issue of this election. Obama's deft handling of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, as well as all he learned on those trips, accumulated political capital that will matter to him later. Heartwarming even if sometimes saccharine coverage of his adorable daughters and admirable wife -- check out this great (and not saccharine) story about Michelle Obama and military wives -- can't hurt, either.
I was irritated by David Brooks' column this week, as well as by Peggy Noonan's typically frothy riff on the "old America" she saw vroom-vrooming to life -- and embracing McCain -- at the Harley convention in Sturgis, S.D. this week. But it was all predictable. Both Republicans had thrilled to Obama's post-Clinton appeal earlier in the race, but now he's one-on-one with McCain, and flirty faux "Obamacans" are heading back to their tribes. The Obama media backlash has begun, for real. But Obama lucks out again -- two weeks of the Olympics, while he and his family vacation and get ready for Denver, are just what the country and the campaign needs.