Posted by: andrew1906 | June 24, 2008

Wanted: Obama surrogates with some grit

Since the early days of the primary, when I watched Obama and Clinton surrogates battling for the moral high ground on the cable news shows, I’ve been fascinated with our seeming inability to find and utilize quality surrogates that can articulately and persuasively communicate campaign messages.

It first hit me while watching Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, make a case for why Florida should be counted. It struck me as a ridiculous argument, but what struck me even more was relative weakness of the dissent from our surrogate, who I believe was Tom Daschle, in the face of such a preposterous argument. In fact, I remember thinking that had I not been paying close attention, Rendell – through the sheer vociferousness of his discourse, would have convinced me of his position.

Week after week, I sat thrugh Gov. Rendell, Howard Wolfson, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio), James Carville, Kiki Mclean pummel those brave yet unprepared souls sent into battle on MSNBC and CNN. I thought that perhaps the Clinton brand, it’s inevitability unchallenged before January 3, that had claimed the allegiance of the party warhorses before Obama Nation arrived. I figured, once the primary was over, we’d inherit all of those surrogates and things would get better.

No so. Yesterday I watched Carly Fiorina, the embattled former HP CEO once named the most powerful businesswoman in America, decimate Bill Richardson on Face the Nation. I mean, it was embarrassing – when she was finished, I wanted to vote for John McCain.

Unable to stomach the contrast in preparedness and diction between Fiorina and Richardson, I turned the channel, hoping to find some respite in the normally feisty Joe Biden battling Linsey Graham on Meet the Press. To my chargin, I turned the Tivo on just in time to witness Sen. Graham making a fool out of Sen. Biden. Sen. Graham was confident, self assured, articulate, and wore none of the – well, shame – befitting a man representing a party that has presided over the worst years in American foreign and domestic policy since Nixon. Joe Biden seem unequipped, his arguments lacking clarity and poignancy, and seemed on the defensive about – campaign finance? Are you kidding?  I was waiting for the roundhouse punch – where Joe Biden tells the guy across the table that the candidate who secured a loan using a promise of public financing and then illegally backed out of that financing is in one, big, glass house! It never came! There was stutterring, looking down, and Sen. Grahams wildest assertions – that Obama would do anything to get elected – were met with what looked like pouting, with Sen. Biden sticking out his lower lip and saying “that’s not true, Lindsey.” Instead of pointingout that Sen. McCain’s brazen reversal of his core positions – Roe v Wade, offshore drilling, tax cuts, immigration – represent much more of an indication of ones desire overtaking one’s conscience than a Senator who decides he wants to opt out of public financing, he shrank away from the debate! At one point, Joe Biden actually conceded the premise of Grahamn’s attack – that Obama “flip flopped.” I mean – what kind of surrogate is this?

First of all, why is the campaign sending mental lightweights out there with people like Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham? Are you telling me that throughout the millions of people that have supported, funded, and canvased for the Obama campaign, we can’t find one articulate soul who looks good on TV and can throw a punch? Not one? Can we start an online YouTube contest or something??? Damnit I’ll get on TV and correct some of these cats!

We have to get it together. Elections are decided on the fringes, and these surrogates matter insofar as they carry our message to the masses. If we can’t recruit some of the old Clintonites, for God’s sake, let’s make new surrogates! But for now, let’s put Daschle, Kerry, Richardson, Biden, Dyson, and the rest of these guys in a drawer!


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