When Obama talks he's money:
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Democrat Barack Obama, the first black candidate with a shot at winning the White House, says John McCain and his Republican allies will try to scare them by saying Obama "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
The AP plays dumb:
Obama didn't make clear what distinctions McCain was likely to raise regarding the presidents on U.S. currency, men who are white and, for the most part, much older than Obama when they were elected. McCain has not raised Obama's race as an issue in the campaign, though he has said that Obama lacks experience.
Well, let's see -the people on US currency are older, whiter, deader, and had a record of accomplishment, so there are a lot of differences here. Whatever - as Glenn points out, Obama's novelty appeal is on the table when The One is the one promoting it - in his Berlin speech Obama dissed Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson and others with this bit of self-idolization:
I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable.
I know Obama's supporters will join me in expressing the hope that I never see Obama on a US bill. Or John McCain, for that matter. Why? I'm ready to tell you my secret.
All that said, there is a germ of truth in Obama's statement. I don't think McCain will be whispering "Hey, have you seen Obama? He's BLACK!" but McCain does have a fundamental problem at the heart of his campaign. When he runs on his record he wins the hearts of moderates and journalists but sets teeth on edge all over the right. Conservatives respect McCain's biography and can probably convince themselves they will prefer his judicial appointments, but after that the conversation segues to McCain-Feingold, McCain's early opposition to Bush's tax cuts, his carbon cap-and-trade scheme, and his push for immigration reform.
Conservative distrust of McCain would have been mitigated if his opponent had been Hillary; McCain-bashers would have stood in the rain for hours to vote against her, warming themselves with arguments as to whether she is the Anti-Christ or the Great Satan herself (I'm in the Anti-Christ camp). Obama does not inspire the same loathing that Hillary has been able to generate over many years.
However, a key rule of politics is this - if you can't energize, demonize. McCain can't energize his base with his own record, so he needs to demonize his opponent. Hard luck for everyone, because this will not show McCain in a good light and I think he could break the rules and win by running a positive campaign. That said, if authenticity counts there is a sliver of light in favor of McCain offering a negative campaign - I think his heart will be in it because he really does not like Obama.
Too bad. McCain ought to reflect that Obama's popularity despite an utter lack of accomplishment reflects badly on the American people, not Obama himself.