If the title of this post is unequivocal and definitive, it is offered in the spirit and style of the American mass media punditocracy. No sooner was the debate on Tuesday over than commentators and bloggers were pontificating not only about Obama taking a beating, as one commentator on MSNBC put it, but also about how the sorts of inane questions ABC’s George Stephanopolous and Charlie Gibson posed during the first 45 minutes of the debate were actually vitally important and highly relevant.
Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News are taking a lot of heat for spending so much time asking about Jeremiah Wright and the “bitter” comments. But the fact is that voters want a president who basically shares their values and life experiences.
In his commentary this afternoon on NPR, Brooks went yet further saying that the reason the Democrats have not been able to win the last few elections is because “people were not convinced that the Democratic candidate lives the kind of life they lead.” He goes on to suggest that high school educated white voters do not want to vote for a Harvard educated lawyer who bowls a 37.
And I have confidence in the American people that when you talk to the American people honestly and directly about what I believe in, what my plans are on health care, on energy, when they see my track record of the work that I’ve done on behalf of people who really need help, I have absolute confidence that they can rally behind my campaign.
At another point, again responding to Stephanopolous, who was pressing Obama about his campaign’s questioning Clinton’s credibility, Obama tried to shift the focus to issues of substance, saying:
I think what’s important is to make sure that we don’t get so obsessed with gaffes that we lose sight of the fact that this is a defining moment in our history. We are going to be tackling some of the biggest issues that any president has dealt with in the last 40 years. Our economy is teetering not just on the edge of recession, but potentially worse. Our foreign policy is in a shambles. We are involved in two wars. People’s incomes have not gone up, and their costs have. And we’re seeing greater income inequality now than any time since the 1920s.
My sense is that people, whatever their level of education, will embrace the maturity of Obama’s politics. They will vote for him not because he is like them, but because he has his eyes on the prize and has the talent to make substantive changes to the way American politics and policy is pursued.