As Obama rides the mighty wave of enthusiasm into the Democratic nomination, I wonder why his supporters aren’t more concerned about his ongoing display of what can only be described as a fatal level of naivete and poor judgment born of inexperience which could well doom his campaign.
The latest example is his reaction to Bush’s comments before the Israeli Knesset. Bush made a general comment, accusing ‘some people’ of naively leaning towards appeasement with terrorist regimes. Bush didn’t mention the Democrats and didn’t even make an oblique reference to Obama, though the media immediately jumped on the speech and turned it into an accusation against Obama. He could just as easily have been talking about the useless leaders of the European Union.
Obama could have wisely ignored the comment, or brushed it off with a comment about Bush’s foolish warmongering, but instead he proved that he was as naive as Bush accused him of being by reacting in a defensive way which made it clear which he assumed that the comments were about him, and that he believed that there were legitimate grounds for accusing him of being an appeaser. Even if Bush may have very well meant to target the Democrats or Obama with his comments, he didn’t explicitly do so. Obama did that for him.
As a politician, when someone lays out a sign-board which says fool and traitor, you don’t want to pick it up and put it on, and that’s what Obama essentially did. He fell into the simplest trap imaginable and basically colluded with Bush to make himself look unqualified to lead the country.
It doesn’t help that his response was a blatant lie, of course. Claiming that he did not endorse unconditional negotiation with terrorist regimes when the video of him making that statement is available on YouTube isn’t going to fly with anyone. In his responding speech Obama categorically denies having ever said what we all saw him say in a public debate and then goes on to volunteer to apply Bush’s accusation of being an appeaser to himself and to all Democrats, doing more to hurt his and his party’s reputation than Bush ever did.
His response shows a hypersensitivity on the issue which immediately flags him as guilty in the minds of those following the campaign. He’d have no reason to jump so unnecessarily to the defensive if he didn’t feel that there was a fundamental validity to Bush’s accusation. Even though Bush didn’t accuse Obama of appeasement, Obama is essentially saying that Bush should have been making that accusation. Of course, Obama wasn’t alone in leaping to legitimize Bush’s remarks. Both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden quickly came to Obama’s defense, again assuming that the accusations were directed at their party and thereby acknowledging in the minds of many that their party deserves to be accused of appeasement.
All of this ill-considered reaction came the day after Bush made his speech. In that time someone in the Obama campaign ought to have told him what a bad idea his reaction was. It suggests that not only is the candidate terminally naive and lacking in judgment, but that he’s surrounded himself with political amateurs who let emotion override good sense. That does not bode well for the future of his presidential campaign or his ability to govern the country with maturity and good sense.