One thing I've come away from here in Denver, in talking to various people, is the sense that the Obama campaign has become consumed with its brand as an end in itself. They did such a good job of packaging hope, optimism, and change that they are now resistant to any campaign strategies or tactics that might, in the eyes of some people, damage the brand.
They remind me of the classic car aficionado who beautifully and meticulously restores a vintage sports car but can't bring himself to risk actually driving the thing.
In both cases you can sympathize. A lot of time and energy went into creating this special product. But at some point you have to let go and use the thing for its intended purpose. The sports car is made for driving, tight and fast. The candidate's positive reputation is intended to further political ends, which in the short term means winning election.
There are signs that the campaign has been slowly coming around in recent weeks to a more aggressive, combative approach to the general election. But I think its ambivalence about doing so is less a result of the Democrats' historical tendency to fritter away opportunities because of fear and trepidation, and more because the Obama campaign spent tens of millions over a year and a half to build Obama's sterling reputation and they are afraid of breaking it. It's different from what hobbled Dukakis and Kerry, but the outcome could be the same.
-- DAVID KURTZ
As Ta-Nehisi [Coates] succinctly put it earlier this month, "What really exposed Lieberman to the brunt of liberal outrage was the sense that Joe was, first and foremost, out to get his."
More than anything else, that explains Lieberman's apparent close friendship with John McCain. What we have is two men who share a massive sense of entitlement and who have both made a political career out of playing the courageous independent, especially to the media. Theirs is a mutual exploitation society, a cynical-even-by-Beltway-standards pairing in which both attempt to use the other as a platform to advance his own personal interests.
Lieberman is the weaker of the two, however. If he is actually offered a position on the GOP ticket and accepts, it's an acknowledgment that either McCain wins or Lieberman is out of politics forever. Depending on how things play out in Connecticut, he might not even manage to finish his term. If he stays off the ticket, his position in the Senate becomes very precarious.
-- STEPHEN SUH
McCain campaign airs provocatively misleading ads.
The press has a conundrum.
If we want to point out how misleading they are, we air the ad.
McCain’s campaign wins the point.
If refuse to point out how misleading they are, McCain’s campaign escapes criticism.-- MARC AMBINDERTwo Republican losers are in Denver this week, jockeying for TV face time and puckering up to their new best friend, John McCain.
In the primaries, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney ran neck and neck for the title of Most Shameless, America's Mayor with his 9/11 posturing and the former Massachusetts governor setting world records for pandering to the Radical Right by flip-flopping on gays, abortion and other social issues.
Now they are gate-crashing the Democratic convention like clowns from "Comedy Central." Romney is angling for VP on the Republican ticket, accusing Democrats of playing "the politics of envy" by harping on McCain's multiple homes, while modestly pointing out he himself has only four.
Who knows what Giuliani wants in a McCain Administration? Attorney General? The six-figure lectures fees must be drying up.-- ROBERT STEIN
Partly as a result of America's continued inability to create affordable childcare options for women, our parties have been unable to woo substantial numbers of women into running for higher office. . . .
This is a problem. And this, I suspect is why the Pumas are really angry. They saw Clinton as their only shot. But they've got their anger misplaced. They should be focused on nurturing other women, the next generation as well as Clinton's, so that they never again find the playing field so bleakly unequal, the future so blankly, uniformly male.Cartoon by Tom Toles/Universal Press Syndicate