Is He Tough Enough?

This seems to me to be the principal question that Democrats have of Senator Barack Obama; is he tough enough? Indeed, the most frequent criticism I read or hear anymore from his more prominent critics within the party isn’t that he’s not progressive enough, or that he can’t win the election, but that he might not be ready to take on the Right Wing Attack Machine.

This was a line of criticism that used to frustrate me, but now only makes me kind of smile every time it comes up. Is Obama tough enough?

He seems to thinks so, and in fact promises to be tougher once the general election begins, the restraint he has held so far coming as a result of not wanting to go after a fellow Democrat too hard. This to me is incredibly laudable.

But my question has been, when has Obama proven not to be tough enough? While I find this critique funny, it is still somewhat baffling. You know, when we look at the course of this entire campaign, it’s interesting because Barack Obama was never supposed to get here; he was, at best, the scrappy runner up who might, just maybe, if he played his cards right, get selected as a running mate. From the very beginning the chips were stacked against him, and he took double digit deficits in virtually every state but his home state, and began turning them around.

It is a testament to the way he has built his campaign that he went up against perhaps one of the biggest political machines we’ve seen in an age, and got the better of it.

You don’t do that without being both smart and tough.

Nor have we seen him cave under the pressure of withering attacks. Indeed, in the weeks leading up to this moment there have been two controversies that had led many to describe his campaign as over. In the first, he delivered a speech that will be printed in history books, for the second, he turned the tables and used it as a means to discuss both the sad state of politics as usual while at the same time shining a light on the state of middle America and how it has suffered under the poor stewardship of our government.

No one who has been paying attention can claim that Obama is nothing if he’s not a media darling. No, through March and April the media and his opponents, within his party and without, have done everything to take the man out at the knees, and where is he now?

Oh.

Right.

He’s still the Democratic frontrunner, not just in delegate and voting totals, but also in the polls as well. Oh, yes, and while polls vary, Obama is doing pretty well against John McCain as well. After having to suffer being called an undercover Islamic terrorist, a black Christian racist, and a Godless Commie, somehow this rookie without the experience necessary to win a presidential election is still leading two opponents who are far more experienced and seasoned than he is.

How is that exactly? Because he’s not tough enough? Because he’s too naive? No, really, I want to know, because, from where I’m standing, his campaign should have been ended at least twice, maybe three times now, and he’s still standing.

So someone please tell me how the green rookie is showing his weakness, because I haven’t seen it yet.

NOTE: Big thanks to RCP for linking in!

(edited by DrGail)

9 Responses to “Is He Tough Enough?”

  1. Nice Kyle…
    Good morning.
    You know, I don’t know why this story isn’t getting more press:
    Howard Dean is calling for super delegates to commit
    It seems important, yet I’ve not seen one peep… anywhere.

    Peace,
    =RD=

  2. Hey RD. Actually, Dustin covered that earlier in the night.

    and Good morning… or good night actually, I’m on my way to bed now!

  3. Steven says:

    I haven’t seen your blog before, but judging from your comments above and the vast majority of the blogs you link to, I think I have a pretty good sense of where you stand politically. Just so you’ll have a better sense of who I am and where I stand politically: I teach English and creative writing at a major state university in the midwest, but come from a blue collar family in NJ. I’ve gone to school and/or lived in CT, MA, CA, ME, OH, and IN. I came of age in the ’60’s and campaigned for McCarthy, marched in NYC and DC against the war, helped organize the National Student Strike in the spring of ’70 after the Kent State shootings, campaigned for McGovern. I use my classes to introduce issues of class/gender/race/GLTB issues and never miss an opportunity to interrogate issues of power. I categorize myself as very liberal both socially and economically. I sound like an Obama supporter, right?

    You ask above where “the green rookie is showing his weakness.” His weakness comes not from his lack of experience on the national political scene but from his core character. He has had an astonishing life and has overcome a great deal, and he believes that that has occurred–in every sense and at every turn–not because of a combination of historical events, luck, skill, and suavité but because he really is superior to just about anyone else alive. He believes in himself as only demagogues, religious zealots, or the psychopathic can. He drips with condescension and scorn for other human beings, all of them, all the time, but has the charisma to charm individuals in small or large groups when he focuses on doing that. He basks in the adoration of stadium-sized crowds. He has never said a word he doesn’t adore. According to his wife, he alone can see the hole in America’s soul, and he alone can heal it. He shares our pain as well, understanding what a difficult time we have affording arugula or scraping ice off our windshields because we can’t park in heated garages. He understands why some of us have caveman tendencies and live in unenlightened squalor because he has read the right books and because his laser-like intelligence penetrates all. When he isn’t giving his trademark winning smile, his mouth tends to assume the lineaments of a smirk or a sneer. He shoots hoops too, and wants to rip up the bowling alley in the White House. Good idea.

    Maybe he’ll make a great president.

    But you know who he reminds me of? He reminds me of George Bush in his press conference after the 2004 election; he reminds me of the George Bush who is constitutionally incapable of ever admitting he made a mistake; he reminds me, in his stubbornness, arrogance, defensiveness, humorlessness, and inability to take criticism, of the politician (since Nixon) I have hated most.

    Obama’s weakness lies in his character and in his personality. He may be your imaginary friend, but I can assure you that you are not his.

  4. Cool – Thanks Kyle. I’ll check it out.
    I’ve been really busy doing research on Zimbabwe all night.
    Must have slipped right by me.
    Pleasant Dreams, Bro.
    Peace,
    =RD=

  5. Truth Seeker says:

    No Obama is not tough enough. He was humiliated at the PA debate and acted out the very next day.

    OBAMA FILPPED HILLARY OFF. And he did the finger gesture right after mentioning her name at different venues so it was no accident.

    This guy is not ready for prime time. He is an angry, immature jerk!
    I MEAN, WHO DOES THIS? And he wants to be President?

    Check it out for yourself…He made the same gesture after saying her name in 2 different venues at the same point during the speech. And you can see and hear the reaction he got from his audience.

    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/04/obama_fingers_a_gotcha_debate.html
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/04/obamaflipsoffcl.html

    We need to get on this, those of us who care. I am sending these links to as many superdelegates as I can. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF WE ALL DID.

  6. DM Metzger says:

    This insinuation garbage needs to stop TS. It looked pathetic when they tried to claim the “3 AM” ad contained subliminal “nigger” references and it looks just as bad now.

    You see what you want, reality doesn’t agree. And do you really think the superdelegates are going to be swayed by some b-grade speech analysis? I don’t think so. They’ll make up their mind, but it won’t be because of this.

  7. Settle Down TS… Chill
    If that’s true (which it is not) you know it’s been done before. How juvenile.

    We don’t need to get on that at all… So many important things are happening and you’re worried about a finger gesture. Grow up.

    Here are some things to concentrate on (in no special order):

    1. TORTURE
    2. TIBET
    3. ZIMBABWE
    4. DARFUR
    5. Boycotting Chinese Products
    6. The Upcoming Food Crisis
    7. Global Warming
    8. THE ECONOMY
    9. IMPEACHMENT
    10. IRAQ

    There are a lot more…
    Peace,
    =RD=

  8. fattigmann says:

    To: Steven 7:45 a.m.

    Your evidence, sir? Do you know the man personally?

    Your hatred is distasteful and unsubstatiated.

    Speculative psychoanalysis like yours poisons the blogosphere and does nothing to advance the debate.

    It’s not about toughness. The old politics cannot survive. If Barack loses the presidential race, fine. Winning at all costs is not winning.

    As an English and speech teacher I have been inspired by his reasonable and eloquent appeal for a new politics.

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