I love being proved right. I enjoy it all the more because it happens so infrequently.
Let me go back to Labor Day Weekend. I previously bloggedin part about a lengthly discussion I had with a Pro-Obama neighbor. What I did not mention was at one point in our chat she said “This means the GOP gives up the experience argument!”
I suggested that while there was probably some juice left in that argument what was more likely is that both sides would either drop the experience matter completely OR not only continue to hit it, but to hit it twice as hard.
Thank goodness for Marc Fisher of the WaPo for proving me right! Of course, he also goes on to prove the media tilt for Obama, but more about that later.
In yesterday’s WaPo Mr. Fischer recounts his trip to the McCain-Palin rally at Van Dyck Park yesterday. He talks about the many women he encountered and spoke with who felt empowered, validated, and/or energized by the Palin selection.
For hours, I walked through the crowd talking to people, mostly women. Again and again, I heard variations on this idea: “She’s more like us than Obama, McCain or any of the others,” as Rupp put it. “She knows what we go through.”
Then he takes his first shot:
Think of whomever you consider the greatest presidents, and odds are, they were about as far as you can get from being like the rest of us. They tend to have come from wealth, power, fame, the pinnacle of our education system or all of the above. FDR could speak to the pain Americans felt in the Depression, and no one especially cared that he had never personally felt such strain. Reagan could inspire Americans to believe that the nation had a higher purpose, and his celebrity and Hollywood roots only made him that much more admired.
Mr. Fischer has a habit of dealing of fumbling simple analysis. He forgets that by all accounts that FDR experienced a profound transformation after he contracted polio. Read any biography of FDR objectively, and tell me the FDR of 1920 could have reached the American people as the post Campobello FDR did. The fear and struggle with a debilitating medical condition changed him into the man who could reach out to people with problems as serious as his own.
Reagan connected not because of Hollywood but despite it. Reagan was in Hollywood but not of Hollywood. He was never at the front of the studio socialite line, and it likely hurt his career. His efforts to keep communist organizers out of the Screen Actors Guild made him numerous enemies. He built his abilities not just in front of a camera but in years of national GE factory tours and Death Valley Days promotions. I dare say Mr. Fisher would be hard pressed to find someone say they admired Reagan more because he had been an actor.
Ah, but I digress. Later, Mr. Fisher writes:
Most people I spoke to readily conceded that Palin lacks experience with or knowledge of many important national and foreign issues. But, as Allison McGarvey, a teacher who lives in Stafford County, said, Palin is “a courageous woman, and what she doesn’t know, she can learn quickly. Let’s face it, no president knows all the issues. Anyway, I don’t see how a candidate can pick one stand and just stick to it. The world situation changes every day. It’s their moral and ethical background that’s important.”
Fisher shot #2:
In this hyperdemocratized society, the national conviction that anyone can succeed is morphing into a belief that experience and knowledge may almost be disqualifying credentials.
Then another quote:
Like many at the rally, Victoria Robinson-Worst sees Palin’s lack of experience as an asset. “I know people who have experience who are totally incompetent,” said Robinson-Worst, who lives in Loudoun County, designs wedding flowers and raises two children. “And I know people who have no experience who step in and get it right. I mean, women can do amazing things.”
Followed by Mr. Fisher’s parting shot:
This is where culture wars, identity politics and self-suffocating academic theories of deconstructionism have led us: Authority is suspect. Experience is corrupting. Ignorance is strength?
Well, let’s take it from the top…on an issue I had not previously mentioned, I think Mr. Fisher takes a dangerous road when he suggests that somehow Governor Palin is not a worthy symbol candidate, a person whom voters identify with at a very primal level for reasons of experience or some aspect of identity. Were Mr. Fisher not already in the bag for Obama, I think in cooler moments he would reflect and realize it is neither right nor wise for anyone not of a group to think they should say who other folks should use as a symbol candidate.
Second, go through his comments above, and it takes very little to see how these comments about character, life experience, lack of experience in pertinent positions, etc. could be spoken by Obama supporters. One can also see how Mr. Fisher’s comments attacking these people backing Palin could be uttered almost as they are about folks backing Obama.
The fact is that Senator Obama really has very little experience given the job he seeks, and the GOP will correctly harp on it. Governor Palin has little experience for the VP job, and the Democrats will correctly harp on that. Mr. Fisher’s column suggests I was right about both sides continuing to assault the experience redoubt.
What is going to make the difference is that while the GOP will likely just take their shots at Obama’s record, the media seems intent on not only choosing to attack Palin on all fronts, but now will apparently begin speculating on the foolishness of people who support the GOP ticket because Governor Palin was tabbed by John McCain.
Tone deafness runs rampant in this campaign, and in the media it is perhaps the worst of all. They badly misjudged the reaction to their bull rush attack on Palin. Now they try these “reflection” pieces, with folks like Mr. Fisher suggesting implicitly that those who chose based on symbols and identity and such chose wrongly.
Be careful, Mr. Fisher…that is a double-edged blade you are swinging.