According to the Washington Post, Sen Obama has done it again. In another closed door meeting, this one with House Democrats, Obama said “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions,” or as loyalists spun it Obama said “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.” Despite, or because of?, the arrogance of either statement, Democrats, their strategists and supporters have labeled the reporting of it “politics as usual” and are trying to paint anyone who talks about it as a tool for Conservative talkers.
The “politics as usual” stamp has become a staple of the Obama campaign in this election cycle. After his first closed door gaffe when he said that rural Americans were “bitter” and they clung to their guns and bibles, Sen Obama and his campaign quickly tried to distance themselves by saying he was misquoted and it was “politics as ususal”. Any mention of Sen Obama’s short record, his votes or any public quotes is labeled “politics as usual”. Using his middle name, talking about his wife’s “proud” comment or anything she says on the campaign trail, mentioning his race or creed even in mundane terms, citing his relationships with Rev Wright, William Ayers and Tony Rezko among others is racist, pointless, a defamation of character and “politics as usual”. Pointing out that Obama called Ludacris a “great talent” while showing the video of Luda’s new song about Hilary’s female dog like attributes, wishing for McCain to be paralyzed and painting the White House black, is just “politics as usual” and not a fair representation of Obama, the man. So the question now has to become, what is not “politics as usual”?
If issues are the only thing on the table, according to Sen Obama, then comments he makes about issues are also on the table. When he called offshore drilling a “scheme”, that comment speaks volumes about his energy policy. When he refuses to acknowledge that the surge has and is working in Iraq and instead says that he would still vote against it with 20/20 hindsight, his policy on Iraq comes into question. And when he calls on the black community to own up to responsibility in society and family life, or when he states incorrectly that more blacks are in prison than in college, his policies on social issues become fair game. Finally, when the Senator takes a trip abroad and publicly meets with heads of state, his actions and words can not be sealed away for use only as the Obama campaign sees fit.
Sen Obama is correct in saying that he has become a symbol. In recent weeks he has become a symbol of how not to be a candidate for President. Obama has had more “Dewey defeats Truman” moments in the last few weeks than perhaps any other candidate in history. Using the “polics as usual” stamp is convienent for Sen Obama’s campaign and he will continue to use it as long as he can in order to avoid discussions on the issues and policies he lacks understanding on, namely all of them.