Paging Senator Obama! Is there a “Senator Obama” in the house?

I understand that campaigning is hard work and all, but I’m thinking that Barack Obama needs to hustle back stateside and start getting his face on the evening news. I’m not alone, apparently, as the New York Times reports:

McCain Displays Credentials as Obama Relaxes

HONOLULU — For the last several days, Senator Barack Obama has seemed to fade from the scene while on his secluded vacation here, as his opponent, Senator John McCain, has seized nearly every opportunity to display his foreign policy credentials on the dominant issue of the week: the conflict between Russia and Georgia.

Only once, at the beginning of the week, did Mr. Obama discuss the fighting in public, when he emerged from his beachfront rental home to condemn Russia’s escalation, in a way that seemed timed for the evening television news. He took no questions whose answers might demonstrate command of the issue.

Can any of his long-time supporters please explain to me why he is doing this? I mean I feel like all of us good liberal democrats are trying our hardest to rally behind him and convince anyone who’s on the fence (like my mother) that Obama’s way better than John McCain.

But Obama needs to at least show up for the party here. Otherwise, I recommend practicing saying “President McCain” without gagging, because it’s a real possibility.

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26 comments

  1. Give the guy a break. It has to be tiring going up against the republican attack machine every day. And the only thing McCain has shown is that right-wing foreign policies have been a miserable failure.

  2. Ben, welcome! I’m not saying Obama doesn’t deserve a vacation. My worry is that if the only candidate the American people see talking about the Russia-Georgia conflict is John McCain, that will plant in their minds the idea that McCain is somehow “better.”

    Maybe you have more faith in the American t.v.-viewing public than I do. Which is certainly possible, ’cause I general, I don’t give us much credit for critical thinking skills.

  3. Obama reminds me more and more of Bush. Maybe he should be dubbed Obamabush or O’Bush? I wonder if he is elected if he’ll exceed the number of vacations that Bush took while President? He also pushed off speaking in Louisiana, not the first time he’s snubbed the State that Bush allowed to go under water…while Rome burns, Obama eats ice cream and lays on the beaches of Hawaii.

    He had his chance at answering that 3:00 am call when Russian invaded Georgia. While vacationing, he took a moment to respond. The response was so lame, that he had to make another one that was written for him. That one wasn’t all that hot either. In the meantime, McCain was out making speeches and going into great detail on the history of Russia and Georgia and how this needed to be handled.

    Obama=Bush??? It’s looking that way.

  4. This comment will no doubt make me sound angrier than I am, but I have to say this, and I mean it with all respect and love for y’all.

    But.

    You have GOT be kidding me here.

    Got some questions for you:

    How many divisions or carrier battle groups or Marine brigades does SENATOR Obama command? What diplomatic position with the State Department does he hold? When did I miss the memo that said he was in any way involved in making current foreign policy, other than having a vote on treaties?

    What was his “response” supposed to be, exactly? He was asked to make a comment, and he did. He has stated his position on what should happen, and about what the Bushies should do. That’s ALL he CAN do.

    McCain, by the way, has a guy on his staff who is a very well-paid LOBBYIST for Georgia. He’s getting PAID by them and by McCain’s campaign. I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

    McCain’s response was to threaten the Russians. Did we really want Obama to do that? And what exactly SHOULD he say we should do about this?

    So Obama needs to dump his family and rush back to DC to do what, exactly? Dress up in his suit and pontificate about something he can do nothing about, other than stake out a position, which he’s already done?

    Bush ’41 started ramping up the first Gulf War in August of 1990 and then went off to play on his boat. Were we mad about that? The man who had the power to actually send troops into battle romping in the ocean while they left home to possibly die in combat? THAT should’ve made people mad.

    Our country has been involved in two wars since 2001. How many days has our current Commander In Chief taken in vacation time during that period? THAT’S something to be angry about.

    Barack Obama is about to go into a toxic, mud-slinging, knock-down, bare-knuckle, Karl-Rove-on-steroids brawl with a guy who is possibly the worst (and most dangerous) candidate for the presidency we’ll see in our lifetimes, other than Bush or Reagan, a guy whose answer to every problem that develops overseas is to bomb people. A guy whose speeches on “the history” of this issue are lifted almost word-for-word from Wikipedia, a guy who thinks Pakistan shares a border with Iraq, and who can’t tell his Sunnis from his Shias.

    And Obama can’t go on vacation before that campaign starts?

    Please.

    Rant over. Deep breathing commences now…

  5. Quaker Dave, I am worried about the perception of the American people. Everything you say is true — absolutely. But I fear that the perception is that McCain=response to crisis, while Obama=vacation.

    I am just as disgusted about that notion as you are. But when Obama holds such a slim lead in the national polls, everything is important. And when the one issue where John McCain leads Obama in the polls is on foreign policy, Obama’s campaign simply cannot allow Johnny to have so much air time to himself.

  6. The Wall Street Journal is a conservative disappointing paper. What else did you except from it? 🙂 So that reference is not worth much to smart people.
    I agree 100% with Ben and Quaker.
    Obama is more thorough on ALL other matters and this is what should matter the most to the US people. He’s right, America should shut up on that particular matter and learn from others because it has lost its credibility on that very matter.

    I hope you didn’t expect this conflict to last years! There are other such conflicts like between Turkish and Kurd separatists. I do not hear McCain talking much about it… So let’s stop the drama or let’s ask the President to address ALL conflicts. How fun…

    Sue, you worry tooooo much about the perception of US people. If they really have that wrong a perception, maybe they deserve McCain as a President. After all, isn’t there a saying like “a country has the President it deserves”?

  7. Sue, I hear you. Last time around, we had a doofus who went windsurfing when he was having his integrity and military record attacked by bigots and racists, and the bad guys won, in part, because he did not fight back. That was different.

    He also did not win because he’s a weak candidate.

    What I’m about to say sounds elitist and not-so-Quakerly, but it has to be said.

    1. Most Americans can’t find their own Georgia on a map, let alone the country by this name.

    2. The war there lasted about a week, it seems (we can hope), and most voters have a shorter attention span than your average seven-year-old.

    3. More Americans are concerned about Michael Phelps and those tiny little gymnasts from China this week than they are about “some war” on the other side of the world. Heck, most of them aren’t interested in their own wars right now.

    4. Gas prices are going down, so people are going to go back to being their old happy selves again soon, especially now that football season is coming, along with “American Idol.”

    5. I would venture to guess that most voters aren’t paying much attention to the election right now, which is why the polls have gotten back to being close, as they always do in late summer. Until the conventions are done, nobody really cares, other than the rabid anti-Obama fanatics and the rabid pro-Clinton anti-Obama fanatics.

    And folks like us. 😉

  8. And Fred’s right. The Journal preaches in an echo chamber.

    Obama could’ve gone there and stopped the war himself by standing in front of the tanks, converting all the Russian soldiers into pacifists, and sending them all home with a wave of his hands, and they would still hate him.

  9. Well, for one night, I’ll try not to worry too much about the opinions of the American people. Tonight I’ll have a beer (or two), watch Michael Phelps swim, and start on my Fantasy Football draft picks.

    Ben, Dave, and Fred, you are all telling me this is nothing to worry about.

    Okay but … I’m just sayin’ ….

  10. I’m saying that in the BIG SCHEME OF THINGS, this mattera not.

    Wait till September.

    Go Phelps.

    And my football – in England – starts THIS Saturday!

  11. Just a small answer to a portion of Quaker Dave’s rant…

    The problem with Obama running off on a vacation now is that, as Sue said, he gives the appearance that he is a bit of a slacker who needs to vacation every month or so in order to “face” a difficult campaign ahead. What in the world is he going to do if he is actually the President? Is he going to run to Hawaii and camp out in a beach house everytime the going gets rough? He did the same thing during the primary, ran off to some island vacation before the primary was even over. Remember when he was campaigning early on and he was eating breakfast when a reporter came up to him to ask a question? “I’m eating my waffle, here!” Obama went into that diner so he could have the photo-op sitting with “the little people”, but he wanted just pics, no questions. That is why he is being seen as an elitist. How about what he said the the woman reporter in Michigan when she asked him a tough question, “I’ll get to your question later, sweetie.” Again…elitist, too good to be bothered with a woman asking a tough question.

    Those who say that Americans don’t know enough about Russia or Georgia and therefore shouldn’t make remarks about this…wrong. Many Americans may not be perfect with their history or geography, but they do know that they care about national security or the possibility of seeing Russia taking over or becoming a world threat. McCain comes across as someone who cares about their concerns, unlike Obama who seems to care about one thing…his own comfort.

    Also, Quaker Dave, remember that Obama spent all that time on his magical mystery tour in Europe so he could give people an idea of what a great leader he would be and how he could speak with leaders from all around the world and gain their respect. He even made some ridiculous comment about how “he” sent extra troops into Afghanistan and how “he” was the head of a banking committee (which is an outright lie). So, now…all of the sudden, his comments mean nothing? Oh…that’s right…he was eating his ice cream and body surfing. It also doesn’t help that Obama AGAIN went back on his word and refuses to debate McCain at town hall meetings. How many times have we heard Obama say, “I’d like to debate that sometime.” When will that be? After he’s finished his waffles or before he goes on another vacation.

    This is why Obama and McCain are in a dead heat and McCain’s numbers are rising, when in fact, with the way the Republicans ran this country in the ground, it shouldn’t even be close at this date.

  12. Oh…I forgot to add this, Quaker Dave.

    You said: Until the conventions are done, nobody really cares, other than the rabid anti-Obama fanatics and the rabid pro-Clinton anti-Obama fanatics.

    As opposed to the kool aid drinking Obamabots? Really…was it necessary to throw out the insults to those of us who don’t support Obama?

  13. The anti-Clinton shot was cheap, and I apologize. I’m in such a mood today, and my fingers are getting ahead of my brain. And my sense. Sorry.

    I do have a hard time fathoming how anyone who claims to be a Democrat can now be talking about voting for MCCAIN simply and only because Sen. Clinton lost. There are apparently a lot of folks who feel this way, and I can’t believe it. I can understand people being angry, but there is too much at stake in this election to get four more years of Bush. Frankly, I think McCain might actually be worse.

    As to “running off on vacation,” it seems to me that he went away with his family after he’d wrapped up the primaries and after he’d wrapped up the nomination. That makes two one-week breaks to spend time with his kids.

    As to his mis-statements while in Europe, he needs to be held accountable for that. Perosnally, I don’t think these compare in terms of level of knuckle-headedness to those of McCain, but that’s just me.

    And he hasn’t refused to debate McCain. He doesn’t like the “town-hall format.” Know why. Because it’s too easy to plant questions, that’s why. That’d be my guess. That format plays to McCain’s only real strength, so why give him an edge.

    Me, I’d PAY to see a REAL debate sometime, with no moderators or fan questions. Just let the two of them go at it.

  14. Quaker Dave-

    Apology accepted.

    There is no doubt, I won’t vote for Obama. Who I vote for hasn’t been decided yet. I may just write in someone…like DIVA JOOD!

    Personally, I don’t think McCain will be any more dangerous than Obama, the only difference is that I have no doubt that Obama is running for President for one reason only, his own power. It has nothing to do with his love for our country. It has nothing to do with him not wearing a flag pin, either. I predicted that he would stick it to his supporters as soon as he became the nominee or “presumptive” nominee. I also said he would not stand up to fight against FISA, I was right. I said that he would go back on all the promises he made, and he’s been doing a great job of that. I’ve seen this guy in action in Chicago…he’s slime, pure and simple. I just think it’s too bad that so many of his supporters can’t see that and are so willing to forgive every single lie he states with a shrug of the shoulders. My gosh, look at the outrage over Hillary’s remark about Bosnia! And yet, Obama has lied more times than I can count and not nearly a peep out of his supporters. I mean, he’s been caught in some bold-faced lies! And the fact that he has been forgiven by his supporters for that FISA vote? Unbelievable!

    So, on this subject, we have to agree to disagree. I respect your right to vote for Obama, as I hope you would respect the rights of all who won’t vote for him. That’s the American way, kiddo! 😉

  15. Ooops…forgot about the Townhall meetings. Obama did agree to that format before the end of the primaries…as soon as he was the presumptive nominee, he backed out. He obviously doesn’t do well with debates, you could see it when he debated Hillary, the guy was pathetic. That’s why he stopped debating. Sure, he’ll do a few where he can get moderators like Keith Olbermann that will go easy on him, but he won’t debate in a format where he actually has to answer to his policy. Not to mention…what will he do without Hillary to give him the answers? A little ear device possibly? 😉

  16. No, no, the earpiece is Georgie’s thing.

    Hey, I’d LOVE to see Olbermann moderate a debate, but you know they’ve already selected three white males from the major networks to ask the canned questions.

    Yup, we’ll agree to disagree, and I hope part friends.

    Now excuse me: I have some bodyboarding to do…

  17. Quaker Dave- Always friends, kiddo…

    Sue J- I’m drinking wine and watching the Olympics…and blogging. So, it won’t be long before my comments are even more incoherent than the other days.

  18. Dear Mary Ellen….
    I won’t argue much on the rather full of hatred posting you made because:
    1. it’s out of topic even if it was partly in response to QuakerD (topic: is Obama in house to deal with the Russian conflict?)
    2. I can give you AT LEAST 10 times more critical “fuck-ups” from the old and more dangerous McCain.
    Regarding your “fear” of letting Russia “taking over the world” or becoming a world threat (brrr, i got shivers!), please let me paraphrase (because it’s weekend so I’m lazy) a short portion of a highly interesting and well written and thought out blog which was dealing with the “2008 Outlook by George Soros” on August 2:
    “A recession in the United States and the resilience of China, India, and the oil-producing countries will reinforce the decline in the power and the influence of the United States.” The rest of the interesting posting is there if you folks don’t mind investing worthy time reading and learning from it:
    http://theformofmoney.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2008/8/2/3821098.html
    Before making too dramatic the situation which Sue first described, please please please be more aware of what’s really going on in the world. (note: you need more than the blog I am suggesting though). China and India are the real dangers because they are becoming very strong and rich economies, are military powers and they have what I consider a primitive democratic/political/educational system which “produce” people that are in total misunderstanding or disconnection with the West values (I’m dealing with a Chinese supplier, they are awful business people). The switch of power which has already started (unfortunately for the US) will not see the rise of Russia in our lifetime and beyond. They may have military power, fine, so do the US and Europe, which is even geographically closer. You think not about Europe’s influence?? Please rethink again and remember how many satellite countries the former USSR lost ; satellites which joined or are joining the EC, whether Russia likes it or not. Russia is becoming more and more isolated and weak. China is passing Russia. The Russia-Georgia conflict is as isolated as the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. AGAIN, I have never heard much about it from McCain. How about the Darfur or Tibet conflict (both illustrating the rising power of much more dangerous communities: Muslims and Chinese respectively)???
    And yet you’re asking an hopeful President (he’s not even the Pdt yet!) to speak out about it on behalf of a country that’s lost all of its credibility on foreign matters???
    I suggest you read more independent sources of information (not Clinton’s blog or McCain’s blog. Sue had a great post about it a few weeks ago) to help you make up your mind based on a more credible argumentation. So far, nobody’s buying it (I had to forward your post to some of my European buddies to get their impartial reaction since they are not Americans).
    So “Give the guy a break” to simply repeat Ben’s post further above – because I’m lazy this weekend! 🙂 PEACE ALREADY!

  19. I’m with Mary Ellen here (this, though, I probably WILL vote for Obama – McCain’s hawkishness, bellicosity, etc.). Obama is as far removed from his image of a “new plitician/change agent” as any of them. And his FISA vote, a move to the center? I don’t think so. I think it has more to do with the fact that he sees himself as the next president….and what President ever willingly conceded executive power? As much as I hate to say it (and I know that Mary Ellen takes no great joy in it, either), we just might be trading in one tyrant for another. Oh well, at least this one has a brain in his head.

  20. Obama a tyrant? I don’t think so. He operates on consensus.

    As for McCain getting more publicity right now – maybe not a bad thing. Frank Rich had an interesting op-ed piece in today’s NYT about the fact that most Americans don’t really know what McCain is all about – there is this image out there about him but he has gotten very little scrutiny by the media, very little publicity about his gaffes and his confusion, his far-right stands, etc. Maybe if Obama is out of the picture a bit, more of this will become apparent as the media focus more on McCain’s comments. We shall see. I believe also I have read that Obama’s backers are making sure any smears are being answered – many through viral internet methods – and they are not sitting back and letting that happen as it did to Kerry in ’04.

    Sue, I share your concern but I don’t think one week in August is going to change the equation. Not yet anyway. Fingers crossed. Anything can happen before November. And you are right, people do trust McCain more on foreign policy, and if that takes precedence overall in the American mind, Obama will be in trouble. If there is some kind of “October Surprise” that would be very bad.

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