Custom Search

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama Campaign Rewrites Convention Speaker Speeches

Democratic pundits across the web are questioning the strategy and themes of the Democratic Convention and wondering why there are not more attacks against Republicans. The answer is that the Obama campaign is rewriting the speeches to fit his theme.
The criticisms coming from Democratic supporters range from attacks against Republicans not being strong enough or happening often enough, not being effective enough and not being on the same page and working in conjunction with each other, to critiquing the "McCain is the same as Bush" statements, which has been a theme throughout the general election campaign, that has not helped the polling numbers.

The prevailing thought seems to be that direct attacks against McCain would be more effective, might help give Obama the "bounce" in the polls that are traditional during either party's convention week, but which have not been seen in recent polling as of yet heading into the third night of the Democratic National Convention.

The feeling of frustration is evidenced by pundits such as Chris Bower at Open Left, who expresses frustration and wonders if Obama will see any bounce this year.

I am feeling really frustrated today. I am sensing that something is wrong with this convention, and that there will be no bounce. I don't know exactly what we need to do to get a bounce, but I do know that we haven't done it yet.

From 1960 to 2004, the history of convention bounces, shown at Center For Politics org. , shows that for Democrats the range varies from a minus 1, seen in 1964, to plus 28, seen in 1992, with only two conventions, 1972 and 2004, seeing no bounce at all.

In the same timeframe, the bounce for Republicans during their convention has ranged from plus 2, in 2004 to plus 12 in 1960.

The constant question coming from Democratic supporters of why is there no bounce yet, and why are the Democrats not attacking Republicans more, as the conservatives will undoubtedly attack the Democrats during the Republican convention next week, has been answered and again, it is not making those supporters very happy.

The Hill reports that it is Barack Obama and his campaign that is controlling the entire theme of the speeches made, to the point of rewriting the entire product completely in some cases.

As the Democratic presumptive nominee, that is Obama's right, to decide what the general overall theme is and to keep the speakers from straying from that theme.

Speakers slated to to give speeches must have their speeches approved by the Obama campaign and in many cases they receive the speeches back "drastically" changed to better fit the theme that Obama wants addressed at the convention, which is "rags-to-riches".

According to some Democratic sources, certain speeches have been completely scrapped and rewritten in their entirety.

Obama has long expressed his desire to run a positive campaign, but that approach has attracted criticism from some Democrats, who say the Illinois senator must hit Republicans harder.

Still, the practice of making wholesale changes to speeches has some Democrats miffed. “This is politics through and through,” said a Democratic source who has seen firsthand the degree to which the Obama camp has changed some of the speeches of members of Congress. “Everyone gets vetted.”

The article points out that not all the speeches have been massively changed and Obama is allowing certain individuals to attack Republicans and the Bush administration and Bill Clinton's speech will not be changed at all, but Democratic strategist James Carville believes the Obama campaign is pulling it's punches and is being too soft on John McCain specifically.

Carville also guarantees, in his statement on CNN, that the Republicans will not be pulling punches against Obama at their convention and will go directly after Barack Obama.

Obama spokesman, Bill Burton, states, “This year, we’re focused on making sure that the American people see how we’re showcasing Democrats, independents and, yes, even some Republicans. People who watch will get a crystal-clear sense of who Barack Obama is and the fundamental choice between Barack Obama, who wants to fundamentally change business as usual in Washington, and … John McCain, who offers just more of the same.”

The LA Times points out that on Monday, which was day one of the convention, Bush's name was mentioned a "mere 14 times" over seven hours with Tuesday showing an improvement from Monday with Rahm Emanuel's speech mentioning Bush 13 times alone.

With the most recent polls showing a "razor thin" race, as the Briefing Room titles their piece, let a conservative observer, me, give Obama and the Democrats some advice.

The theme of "McCain is the same as Bush" has not brought you any distinct advantage in the last year of hammering it at every opportunity. McCain's voting record and history as well as public statements criticizing Bush policies are all things the public is aware of and know him for.

He is known as a Maverick for a reason, which is why it took a long time and hard work for some conservatives to start uniting behind McCain.

If Obama continues to only allow a handful of the dozens of speakers to directly attack John McCain instead of having a few speakers get off a few shots about Bush, and start hammering criticisms against McCain directly,while they have the national stage and wall-to-wall coverage, then Barack Obama will not see the so far elusive bounce everyone keeps waiting for, but the Republicans will when they take the national stage next week and use it to rip Obama apart.

Obama said back in June, of the McCain campaign, as Wall Street Journal reports, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."

Well, conventions are gang fights, the Republicans have the guns out, ammunition loaded, vests on and they are prepared to fire and Obama has taken the Democrat's guns away from them and handed them knives to fight back with.

In a rare moment of agreement with Bowers from Open Left, I am sensing the same thing as he is... "something is wrong with this convention."

Obama is yet again showing his inexperience and his lack of judgment and liberals are starting to understand he simply doesn't know what he is doing. He became popular fast because he spoke well, but speaking well and being able to deliver are two distinctly different things, as Bill Clinton so kindly reminded people yesterday.

Not only do Republicans have a good chance at winning the election in November, it is starting to look like the Democrats and Obama are willing to help them do so.

Fine by me!

[Update] Don't take it from me, take it from a liberal pundit, Erza Klein, who is at the convention and witnessing what is happening firsthand.

We're halfway through this convention. Not all the way through, nor even near it. And I'm inside the convention, not watching it on television and consequently not sure how most Americans are actually experiencing it. But if I were doing the grading now, I'd fail the thing.