(An interesting term, broad. originally reserved for Hollywood up-and-comers who were deemed beautiful enough for a wide head and shoulders publicity photo, such a photo itself called a "broad". I still prefer to think of the word in those terms, unfortunately most women do not know the word's history and are therefore offended by it. They shouldn't be. But I digress.)
Ms. Noonan's latest column in the Wall Street Journal succinctly sums up the current attitude of the American voter as she explains McCain's narrowing of the polling gap;
Why is it a real race now, with John McCain rising in the polls and Barack Obama falling? There are many answers, but here I think is an essential one: The American people have begun paying attention.Yes. We know McCain. Not just us political junkies, but the old lady who lives down the street knows him. The guy who works at the liquor store has at least heard of him, and liked most of what he's heard. He's been the media darling that Obama now finds is such a sweet place to be.
It's hard for our political class to remember that Mr. Obama has been famous in America only since the winter of '08. America met him barely six months ago! The political class first interviewed him, or read the interview, in 2003 or '04, when he was a rising star. They know him. Everyone else is still absorbing.
This is what they see:
An attractive, intelligent man, interesting, but—he's hard to categorize. Is he Gen. Obama? No, no military background. Brilliant Businessman Obama? No, he never worked in business. Famous Name Obama? No, it's a new name, an unusual one. Longtime Southern Governor Obama? No. He's a community organizer (what's that?), then a lawyer (boo), then a state legislator (so what, so's my cousin), then U.S. senator (less than four years!).
There is no pre-existing category for him.
Add to that the wear and tear of Jeremiah Wright, secret Muslim rumors, media darling and, this week, abortion.
It took a toll, which led to a readjustment. His uniqueness, once his great power, is now his great problem.
And over there is Mr. McCain, and—well, we know him. He's POW/senator/prickly, irritating John McCain.
Ms. Noonan nailed the biggest problem most folks have with Obama's performance at Rick Warren's debate. Obama chose a feel good, yet totally dishonest answer to the most informative question of the evening. A question to which, as she says, anyone who's ever purchased a package of condoms knows the answer.
As to the question when human life begins, the answer to which is above Mr. Obama's pay grade, oh, let's go on a little tear. You know why they call it birth control? Because it's meant to stop a birth from happening nine months later. We know when life begins. Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins.Is a caterpillar any less alive than a butterfly?
If you want to argue whether legal abortion is morally defensible, have at it and go to it, but Mr. Obama's answers here seemed to me strange and disturbing.She wraps it all up, and makes my rather confusing headline relevant after all with this;
I still think a one-term pledge could win it for [McCain], because it would allow America to punt. It would make the 2008 choice seem less fateful. People don't mind the chance to defer a choice when they're not at all sure about the product. It would give bitter Democrats a chance to regroup, and it would give those who like Obama but consider him a little half-baked to vote against him guiltlessly while he becomes fully baked. (Imagine the Q&A when Sen. Obama announces his second presidential run in 2011: "Well, Brian, I think, looking back, there is something to be said for the idea that I will be a better president now than frankly I would have been four years ago. Experience, if you allow it, is still the best of all teachers.") [LINK] emphasis addedBut as I said in the headline, there is one major drawback to that old adage. The final sentence is always left out.
Learning from experience gives you the test first and the lesson afterward. America cannot afford that kind of schooling for our Presidents.