The Presumptuous Meme

In the coverage of Barack Obama's trip abroad, reporters marveled at Obama's confidence and unflappability in the presence of world leaders and on the world stage. But there was an undercurrent to the coverage: was he too confident? How dare Obama give Sarkozy advice. Is it confidence or arrogance?

Cue Dana Milbank in WaPo, which opens with this gem:

Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee.

Get it? Presumptive...presumptuous...

Milbank goes on to report on Obama's closed meeting with the House delegation and irresponsibly, but typically, truncates Obama's statements for his own narrative purposes:

Inside, according to a witness, he told the House members, "This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for," adding: "I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

The truth, of course, is that Obama was actually making the point that it wasn't about him at all, but that's of little concern to Milbank who has a yarn to spin, which culminates in this snarky proclamation:

As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama's biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris.

Some say the supremely confident Obama -- nearly 100 days from the election, he pronounces that "the odds of us winning are very good" -- has become a president-in-waiting.

Obama repeating the media CW that it's his election to lose = arrogance! hubris!

The meme was perpetuated by WaPo's Jonathon Weisman and Maureen Dowd who mocks Obama as someone demanding to be worshipped, and of course, by McCain himself whose offensive new ad portrays Obama as more celebrity than world leader. In fact, as Matt Stoller notes, the ad is a freakin buffet of identity politics attacks but should we be surprised? This is how it works every time, the nexus of media and the Republican attack machine creating an emotional anchor with which to sink the Democrat. In just a matter of a few days an entire narrative spun before our eyes. And the Obama campaign's response:

"On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, 'Oops! He did it again.'  Our dependence on foreign oil is one of the greatest challenges we face. In this election the American people have a real choice -- between Obama's plan to provide tax rebates to American families while creating a renewable energy economy in America that frees us from our dependence on foreign oil, and Senator McCain's plan to continue the same failed energy policies by handing out nearly $4 billion in tax breaks to oil companies while investing almost nothing in the new energy sources that represent our future," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.

That and a chart that breaks down how the ad is false point by point. Really? Are we reverting to that again, the idea that the right can be countered with data points? McCain is desperate to define Obama before the Olympics start and the media has willingly aided and abetted. I hope the Obama campaign has more up its sleeve than appeals to reason to fight this latest meme because it's showing signs of sticking.

Update [2008-7-30 16:36:14 by Todd Beeton]:You know a meme has taken root when Letterman picks up on it.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, John McCain, presumptuous (all tags)



Well it's up to the Obama campaign

to turn things around.

They just need to continue to go on the OFFENSE and attack McCain on the economy every single day until the election.

Also, they need to act as if they are 10 points behind.

by puma 2008-07-30 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Well it's up to the Obama campaign

I personally prefer a candidate who doesn't like himself. I also like one who has proven to be an intellectual lightweight, makes me feel better about myself. I mean 4th worst in your class, climb aboard.

by Dog Chains 2008-07-30 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Well it's up to the Obama campaign

People who aren't actually intellectual lightweights don't feel the need to gush about themselves.  Look at the phony Western Wall prayer he leaked to Israeli media.  Her uses the words "me" or "my" seven times.  Not a syllable about others (the world?  the poor and oppressed? all God's children?).  Selfish.


by adrienne4dean 2008-07-30 02:10PM | 0 recs
McDesperate is the one...

acting like he's 10 points down -- because he is.

Obama doesn't need to emulate McDesperate.

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 01:08PM | 0 recs
You don't quite understand

At this point in 2004, Kerry pretty much coasted, assuming he was going to win.  He was up by more than Obama is now.

Obama needs to assume that he's going to lose if he doesn't campaign the hell out of the last three months, because, quite frankly, he probably will.  McCain makes a gaffe a day and the media usually acts like nothing's worth reporting.  Obama makes even a percieved ettiquette gaffe ("sweetie," or more recently, "he's acting too presidential"), and they're on his case like Bush with a chainsaw on some shrubbery.

Campaigning like he was 10 points behind is what you do when the deck is stacked against you, even if you're ahead.  You give it everything, you don't get complacent, and you don't let up.  It's how Obama beat the most powerful family in Democratic politics, and it's how he needs to beat John "Maverick Straight Talk War Hero" McCain.

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: You don't quite understand

All you seem to understand is fear and misinterpreting the past

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 01:43PM | 0 recs
Please educate me

What am I misinterpreting about the past?

Fear is a good thing.  Are you suggesting that Obama sit back and let the election take care of itself?

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:57PM | 0 recs
Fear is a good thing.

That was the official Democratic Party line from 1994-2004.

Voters can smell fear. Fortunately, Obama doesn't know the meaning of it.

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 04:15PM | 0 recs
Kerry never up

According to the gallup poll, Kerry was never actually up.  He was always a point or two behind Bush.  The assumption was always that the Democrats would have a much bigger turn out on election day.

They did have a record setting turn out, but the right wing Christians turned out even more.
Luckily, there are no gay bashing laws up for vote in places like Ohio this time around.

by gavoter 2008-07-30 03:43PM | 0 recs
Otto's memory isn't all that's shakey

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: McDesperate is the one...

Except he isn't ten points down he's 2.5 points down in the RCP average. Get real.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:24PM | 0 recs
Get Real?

From someone who wants Obama to campaign like he's losing?

i'll laugh now.

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Get Real?

Instead of laughing why not get real and explain why you were lying or at least exaggerating when you said he was 10 points ahead and I had to correct you.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:50PM | 0 recs
Soory, but I just can't take seriously anyone...

who says Obama should campaign like McDesperate.

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 04:20PM | 0 recs
More and more, I am convinced

that talking heads are using the adjective "presumptuous" because they can't use "uppity".

by Khun David 2008-07-30 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: More and more, I am convinced

I am right with you.  I can't believe that we aren't turning this back around on them by calling it what it is, just another racist attack.

by Demo Dan in Dayton 2008-07-30 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: More and more, I am convinced

More racist victimology bs.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:25PM | 0 recs

Because Republicans have never fallen back on veiled racism before.  That Willie Horton thing would've worked just as well if Horton were white!

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Hah

Of course they have but this is a big big stretch. It's like a knee jerk reaction. It's all racism. It's like the folks at AIPAC, say anything and your anti semite. If you think whining about racism when the black community are making an out and out racist decision to vote for their guy you're up a gum tree baby.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:42PM | 0 recs
It's all a rich tapestry of slime

I have not a single doubt in my mind that the Republican schemers are sitting there trying to figure out how to use Obama's race against him.  A synonym for "presumptuous" is certainly "uppity" in this context.  Was Bill Clinton ever called "presumptuous?"  Is it even sensical to call a credible nominee for president "presumptuous" for suggesting that they might (and will) win?

I am curious to see if this has ever happened before.  Was JFK, a younger man often criticized for his supposed inexperience, called "presumptuous" for his confident debate performance?

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: It's all a rich tapestry of slime

Bill Clinton was called a lot worse things than presumptous many of them by Clinton haters on this site. In fact he probably was called presumptous at some time or another for having the cheek to challenge the ever so experienced President Bush. Seeking cover in black victimology is merely going ot provoke derision.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:53PM | 0 recs
[citation needed]

[citation needed]

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:56PM | 0 recs
So basically


"Presumptuous" is a akin to racism?  Is that what you are saying?

by Khun David 2008-07-30 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: More and more, I am convinced

wait...    are you insinuating that anyone that thinks this may be 'presumptuous' is racist (clearly your reference with -uppity-)????   screw that.

"It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign -- that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol." - Barack Obama

Frankly I do indeed find that kind of speaking of oneself to be grossly 'presumptuous'. I also thinks it's a recipe for a loss in November if it doesn't come back to earth - at least in terms of language.

by swissffun 2008-07-30 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: More and more, I am convinced

I am watching Pat Buchanan misquoting Obama right now using racist imaging.  

by Khun David 2008-07-30 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: More and more, I am convinced

and that has WHAT to do with a response to my comment????  

by swissffun 2008-07-31 02:02PM | 0 recs
Thank God someone said it....

There is zero doubt in my mind that the word presumptuous is EXACTLY a euphemism for uppity.

Now, making this point is not the place for a gentleman like Obama, nor for those directly in his campaign.  

But it is absolutely beyond me why pundits on the left don't start such a discussion.

And on my browser, misspelled words get a red underline.  I'm sick and tired of the fact that both Barack and Obama are still red underlined.  Yes, I know, I can add them to my dictionary.  But there comes a point when I shouldn't have to.

by prius04 2008-07-30 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

Absolutely right. Obama needs to bark quickly, sharply and loudly enough that it resonates. Perhaps he's waiting. Seems like the Obama campaign has often gone against the convention of dumping news on a Friday to actually put stuff forward then so that it becomes the talk of the Sunday news shows.

by vcalzone 2008-07-30 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

But man, there's a world of stuff to attack Mccain on. Perhaps the Obama campaign is just letting him dig himself as deeply as possible before pointing out how far down he has gotten. Certainly at this point, McCain is beaten down and tired enough that nobody could mistake who has run a dirty campaign.

by vcalzone 2008-07-30 12:33PM | 0 recs
surprise surprise

Maureen Dowd at it again.

Gore, Hillary, Obama

by sepulvedaj3 2008-07-30 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

Dana Milbank is a one-man rumor mill.  He continues to carry the Al Gore invented the internet torch all these years later.

by Jess81 2008-07-30 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

Some of these Obamanauts have got their heads up their rectums talking about McCain's alleged lack of intellect, Obama's brilliance. Maybe true but he's kicking Obama around the floor at teh moment and I don't see much evidence of push back. As for the Dowd comment this hag was dumping all over Clinton for months to huge applause from the Obamanauts. Now of course she's dumping on Obama. What a surprise. This woman is poison.  

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 12:46PM | 0 recs
Not all of us

The sane Obama supporters filed Dowd under "help we don't want."

Much like Ludacris and Jeremiah Wright.

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

"Obamanaughts" gets you a 0.

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

I'm heartbroken and going into rehab.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

I saw someone on another website had posted an interview where Rove said Obama was arrogant and tried to paint a picture of him at the country club, with a good looking woman on his arm making fun of everyone else. I thought "Here we go", they are going to try to characterize Obama as someone that the "regular man" can't relate to. It's what Republican's do very well.

They managed to sell the American people their dim-witted, "every guy" George W. Bush over "intellectuals" like Gore and Kerry. And it worked.

Obama needs to get on top of this pronto. We cannot let them paint us into a corner we can't get out of.

by Dari 2008-07-30 12:47PM | 0 recs
Most of these attacks...

...arrogance, presumptuous, empty suit, nice speech were straight out of the Ohio/Texas/PA primary playbook.  They seemed  to cut back then, the question is: does the time lag between Aug and Nov as well as the fact they have been used before make them less effective?

by AZphilosopher 2008-07-30 12:49PM | 0 recs
I'm convinced!

I was going to vote for Obama because he's been proven right about so many things and has so many good proposals for the future. But he's so presumptuous that instead I'll vote for the senile old man with the the same plans as Bush and the big black spot on his face.

After all, the old guy's been demeaning himself with so many petty attacks on Obama that he obviously doesn't think himself worthy to be president. And the last thing I want is someone who THINKS he's qualified to be president.

But seriously, did these kind of attacks work for Hillary?

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm convinced!

Yeah, kind of.  I got the sense that Obama was bogged down at the end arguing over triviality - the gas tax holiday debate sort of woke him up, and he finished strong.

Rachel Maddow made that point a month ago - the way to beat Obama is to just keep jamming him with dumb shit over and over again.  If you have an opening to critique him on policy and an opening to say, go after him over something like whether or not he visited wounded soldiers enough, choose the latter.  He doesn't seem to have a good answer for it.

by Jess81 2008-07-30 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm convinced!

And because something didn't work in the primary targeting Democratic voters committed enough to vote in the primary, it therefore won't work in the general?

It would be great if the election were to be decided by people who read blogs all day at work (, really I have finished that report...) and otherwise pay attention. But historically, that isn't how it works. Maybe all the new voters and interest this year will make the environment different, but I heard that in 2004 as well, so I'm still waiting.

In the meantime, we have a long history of failed candidates who didn't have their campaigns respond to petty define-the-candidate stuff like this. The reason the Republicans are campaigning that way this year isn't just because of the paucity of McCain's ideas: it's because they've won 5 of 7 Presidential elections I've voted in doing just that.

Obama's staff/surrogates need to defend Obama (and define McSame) pretty aggressively to defend against this kind of crap. Hoping voters won't respond to this is the losing choice.

by fsm 2008-07-30 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm convinced!

Ugh, you're right about this. I just can't imagine waking up in the morning, like I did during the Kerry/Bush campaign, hoping and praying it was all just a bad dream.

People are easily led and seem to latch onto any reason to agree with the Republicans and distrust the Dems. It makes no rational sense, but people are largely irrational.

When Obama does speak up against stuff like this, I like what he says and his tone. I just wish he would do it a but louder!

by Dari 2008-07-30 01:53PM | 0 recs
He doesn't seem to have a good answer for it.

His answers are quite good and the polls show it.

by Glaurung 2008-07-30 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

I'm curious what folks think is an effective plan of action for fighting back against something like this.  I mean, it's easy in a progressive echo chamber to pen righteous rants about how it's all a racist Rovian smear, but in terms of diffusing the meme among actual voters I think it's going to take a little different approach.

I've gotten this reaction from people for a while now.  I mean, if someone at the office says to me, "It struck me as pretty arrogant at that debate when Obama said 'I look forward to you advising me, Hillary,'" what am I supposed to say back to them?  "Arrogant is a racist code word, you Republiscum"?

The problem is, like with the meme that John Kerry wasn't clear about his positions, there actually is a bit of truth underneath it all, and I think it disables folks from coming up with a good response when they refuse to come to terms with that.  I mean, Obama does occasionally lapse into sounding like he's trying to portray himself as a world-historical figure, and people pick up on this.  It's hard to deal with it if your only reaction is "it's all in their head, they've been tricked by the Rovian smear machine."

Some people appear to be under the impression that all they have to do is 'factcheck' this meme, like somehow all they have to do is refer people to a quote where Obama says "aw shucks, I'm nobody special" and bang, meme debunked, onto the next issue!  It's not that easy.  Frankly, if I knew an easy answer, I'd be suggesting it.

by Steve M 2008-07-30 01:14PM | 0 recs
It'll backfire

I have a friend in the CNN Political Unit who just emailed me about this.

He said that the problem is that McCain is already ahead by about 8 points among working class voters but yet Obama leads by about 8 points on average.  For McCain to win he has to win the independents and those independents are NOT low info voters although they are moderate they are sensitive to race and no a race baiting campaign when they see one.

While appealing to the low info voters, he is losing the voters he needs to actually WIN.

He can keep it up as far as I am concerned.

by sweet potato pie 2008-07-30 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: It'll backfire

I do not think most white folks would perceive it as a race-baiting meme, at all.

I've heard from many people that "I look forward to you advising me, Hillary" struck them as arrogant.  Did they react that way because they think Obama is a cocky black guy?  I don't think so, these people have never given me any reason to think that of them.  Rather, the reason they think it's arrogant (I personally thought it was an awesome zinger, btw) is because of Obama's relative youth and inexperience, not his race.

Now, I'm of course not trying to defend the GOP from charges of race-baiting.  But I just don't think most non-liberally minded white people are going to see it that way.  And the strategy of calling it race-baiting is, I think, something that might work out in a Democratic primary but not really with the general electorate.

by Steve M 2008-07-30 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: It'll backfire
sweet potato pie:
Unbelievable. Obama has the blacks, white intellectuals, hispanics, women under 40, young men and women. That's his base. He wins by getting the women over forty and some more of the men. For sheer complacency and arrogance by a typical Obamanaut this comment takes a bit of beating.  
by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: It'll backfire

Otto--what are you doing posting here if you are so clearly at odds with everything this site purports to stand for?

by wasder 2008-07-30 02:11PM | 0 recs
Obama must create negative

McCain memes.  Simple as that.

by Dmitri in San Diego 2008-07-30 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama must create negative

Yeah, I'll just go around the office telling people "you've bought into a McCain meme."  Good call, I'm sure we've heard the last of this one with strategies like that.

by Steve M 2008-07-30 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama must create negative

What are you talking about?  My comment does nothing to elicit your response or tone.

What does "Obama should create McCain memes" (meaning he should define McCain's character negatively) have to do with talking to your colleagues about memes?

by Dmitri in San Diego 2008-07-30 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama must create negative

Oh, you did that thing where half of your sentence was in your subject line.

I was trying to make sense out of what seemed like a pretty cryptic comment to me.  Sorry about that.

by Steve M 2008-07-30 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

I always like your posts. This is an important topic and I hate to see people bury it because they perceive it as being negative or unduly concerned.

I can't bear the thought of McCain winning and if that makes me overly concerned about vulnerabilities, so be it. I don't think any of us can rest on our laurels in this campaign.

by Dari 2008-07-30 01:59PM | 0 recs
I wonder what Olbermann thinks

Given how often Milbanks appears on his show, it's gotta be a quandry for Keith.  He doesn't like to argue with his guests, but Milbanks is now perpetuating the current smear.  My guess is that it won't come up in conversation.

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:22PM | 0 recs
August 2004 is the month

in which Kerry lost the election. He didn't fight back on the swiftboat attacks. He didn't really fight at all.

The same thing is starting to happen. Character attacks on McCain should not be ruled out, especially when there is so much REAL evidence to back them up.

by Dmitri in San Diego 2008-07-30 01:28PM | 0 recs
Ugh, no.

There's enough bad policy decisions from McCain to fill ten campaigns.  We do not need to become the enemy to fight the enemy.

We need to negate McCain's character attacks and re-frame the debate on issues.  That's what Kerry never did.

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Ugh, no.
Hand on heart did you think that after last week Obama would be struggling to eak out a 2.5% lead over McCain. Does it EVER occur to you to ask yourself why. He's struggling to open up a lead for two reasons. One theres a bit of a schism in his own party, I don't know how big but it's there. Two the McCain bs ads are working because they are defining him. I know it's a travesty but it's reality.
by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:37PM | 0 recs

Hand on heart did you think that after last week Obama would be struggling to eak out a 2.5% lead over McCain.

Yes.  Of course.  A) I don't think the polling has been too accurate, but also B) I have been here watching this season, and I know how disingenuous the media has been.

They want their horse race, and they're going to get it, even if they have to sabotage the best chance this country has to fix the damage of the Bush administration.

Regardless, your ideas are ridiculous.  The "schism" is nearly non-existant.  Only a few vocal halfwits, probably no larger than the percentage of Democrats we lose every election year for whatever reason.  And the McCain ads have been running for less than a week, if I recall correctly.  They haven't defined crap yet.

by Dracomicron 2008-07-30 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Crimeny

Dracomiron: So

You admit the campaign is underperforming.

Claim the media is being beastly, so what's new.

Make totally unsubstantiated claims that the polls are loaded against Obama.

But dismiss my ideas as ridiculous and imply I'm a halfwit for suggesting what I think are the reasons. Get out of denial kid. I didn't define the size of the schism because I can't but there is one as a cursory reading of this site would tell you if you weren't totally blinkered. And I'm willing to bet for every vocal halfwit there are 20 quietly nursing the grievance. And as numerous people have pointed out the ads got far more free news coverage than paid exposure. Get out of the bunker. He's landing some blows.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 02:11PM | 0 recs

the difference between 2004 and 2008 is that in August, the Democratic National Convention had already taken place.  Kerry had given his bogus "reporting for duty" speech and the swiftboaters were in high throttle.

by Khun David 2008-07-30 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

The McCain camp is clear what they want to do.  They feel that if they make the race about Obama, they have a chance to win....

If the race ever gets to be about McCain, they have NO chance!

It is absolutely crucial that the Obama campaign starts turning it around to BE ABOUT McCain...

It sounds like they are about to start... The campaign responds today:

"On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, `Oops! He did it again.'"

It looks like the Obama campaign has been setting up McSame for the fall with their recent silence, and wants the press to do the dirty work..

by LordMike 2008-07-30 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

I hope you're right but I haven't seen much  evidnce of it so far.

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:45PM | 0 recs
Let's do it ourselves, if Obama won't

attack McCain's character.

Go to this link, copy the list of flip-flops and send it to your friends and family. Ask them to pass it along. pflops

by Dmitri in San Diego 2008-07-30 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's do it ourselves, if Obama won't

"Go to this link, copy the list of flip-flops and send it to your friends and family. Ask them to pass it along"

What am I to say?

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 01:46PM | 0 recs

Can we stop using the f*ing word "meme"???  Thanks, Dawkins, ya schmuck.

by DaTruth 2008-07-30 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Jesus...

Agreed - seriously.  Meme is a stupid word.

by mikes101 2008-07-30 02:10PM | 0 recs
Meme is the perfect word for Obama

It has the word "me" in it twice.


by adrienne4dean 2008-07-30 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

as part of my personal
"Quit making our Nation stupid"

It would be a requirement...
That persons with an opinion be required to..on their own...correctly spell what they write.
(note: I am NOT writing about the in-bred-3 toed-PUMA's that post here)

by nogo postal 2008-07-30 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

note: I am NOT writing about the in-bred-3 toed-PUMA's that post here)

How about a grammar test too?

by ottovbvs 2008-07-30 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

The problem with this sort of "meme" is how do you really counter it? I mean its constructed out of fabrications, non-truths, slanders and hearsay. I agree that something besides assuming the American people will see through it is needed but I can't really fault the campaign for their response yet. I don't know what the appropriate response should be. I do assume that folks will see an ad trying to somehow tie obama to Britney and Paris and find it ridiculous but beyond that I am pretty stumped how you counter this kind of crap except by continuing to drive the campaign narrative and force McCain to play defense.

by wasder 2008-07-30 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

As memes go, I'm not sure that the "presumptuous" meme will really resonate with the public.  I mean, I'm sure a sizable number of people don't even know what that word means.  

This meme is one the media has fabricated completely on its own.  I'm pretty sure that many members of the MSM believe that Obama is presumptuous and arrogant, but, since these people are so out of touch with reality outside of the beltway, I don't think it's too worrisome.  

In fact, the presumptuous/arrogance meme actually undermines the inexperience meme, a meme that does resonate with the general public.  

by ProfessorReo 2008-07-30 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

Just because Obama might make a better president than McCain doesn't mean he's not arrogant.  Of course he's arrogant.  If he wants to win, he needs to keep it in check.  Pointing to 200,000 cheering people and saying "They're not cheering me, they're cheering a symbol of American greatness" isn't smart.

by Upstate Dem 2008-07-30 02:25PM | 0 recs
You're so right.

The Repubs throw chaff all over the place and we think running around picking it up is going to make it all better.

Get on the offense, Dammit!

Attack, attack, attack!

by Bush Bites 2008-07-30 02:25PM | 0 recs
Countering the Meme

I think this line of attack may be the one that starts to stick, especially as McCain's Plan A -- the "unpatriotic" line -- hasn't taken hold. However, there is a way to counter it a bit.

First off, it's key for Obama and the campaign to work in some more self-depreciating jokes and the like, kind of when Michelle was taking about Obama not taking out the trash (or something like that). A few high-profile self-depreciating lines would be helpful (as would avoiding anything that sounds uber-confident, rather than just normally confident, in his chances).

Secondly, the campaign's response is on the right track -- keep pointing out how ridiculously negative McCain's campaign is. Maybe it doesn't seem like a "meme" right now, but the campaign is on the right track trying to paint McCain as essentially a bitter old man with no optimism to spare.

This is not an election where negativity will play well. Americans are massively pessimistic right now, and want optimism. This is why Obama is walking the line between needing to attack McCain but doing so without sounding too negative. If Obama successfully paints McCain as insufferably negative, McCain simply won't be a viable option for many people, even if they also aren't crazy about Obama.

by Hoyapaul 2008-07-30 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presumptuous Meme

Obama's message this week is about he economy. If the Obama campaign responded to every McCain ad that they put out, then they will never get their economic message out there.

Aren't some of you guys the same people who said Obama needs to be hitting home his economic message more. Well that is what Obama is trying to do. While McCain is having to respond to the response to his own ads, the campaign can never talk about get it's message out.

If Obama stops to respond to every McCain ad, then doesn't he become McCain. That is how Obama truly beat Clinton early on, because the Obama campaign was good at staying on message. It was once the campaign got off message (neg ads, PA, Rev Wright) that time became dicey.

It becomes a matter of having to respond to the response. You would never be able to get ur message out there.

McCain has practically no ads up saying anything about what he will do for America, it's just about Obama, that's not the way to energize your base. I'm betting that most Cons/Repub would rather stay home than fight the "crowds" of enthusiastic Democrats on election day.

Sometimes I think that we all are on the blogs so much that we react to everything as it happens. Well I can tell you that I work in a Hospital lab, with at least 20-25 people. Of those people, only 2 of us are actually paying attention to the campaigns right now (I'm one of the 2).

These ads work for those pol fanatics right now. I just don't envision some undecided voter who is truly undecided, and not just "looking for an excuse" who will be bombarded with McCain's neg ads will feel enthused to vote. If anything they don't make you "happy" to be a republican or independant

by lamh3176 2008-07-30 04:27PM | 0 recs


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