Spengler describes “How Obama lost the election”
The FM site occasionally posts material from other sites that is original and thought-provoking, with no express or implied opinion. Here is one such. In this article Spengler does remote psychoanalysis. Few things are less credible, although few do it better. Spengler is one of our few original thinkers, and so deserves attention.
This just hints at the rich speculation of Spengler’s essay. I recommend reading it in full.
“How Obama lost the election“, Spengler, Asia Times, 3 September 2008
Obama will spend the rest of his life wondering why he rejected the obvious road to victory, that is, choosing Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential nominee. However reluctantly, Clinton would have had to accept. McCain’s choice of vice presidential candidate made obvious after the fact what the party professionals felt in their fingertips at the stadium extravaganza yesterday: rejecting Clinton in favor of the colorless, unpopular, tangle-tongued Washington perennial Joe Biden was a statement of weakness. McCain’s selection was a statement of strength. America’s voters will forgive many things in a politician, including sexual misconduct, but they will not forgive weakness.
That is why McCain will win in November, and by a landslide, barring some unforeseen event. Obama is the most talented and persuasive politician of his generation, the intellectual superior of all his competitors, but a fatally insecure personality. American voters are not intellectual, but they are shrewd, like animals. They can smell insecurity, and the convention stank of it. Obama’s prospective defeat is entirely of its own making. No one is more surprised than Republican strategists, who were convinced just weeks ago that a weakening economy ensured a Democratic victory.
… McCain doesn’t have a tenth of Obama’s synaptic fire-power, but he is a nasty old sailor who knows when to come about for a broadside. Given Obama’s defensive, even wimpy selection of a running-mate, McCain’s choice was obvious. He picked the available candidate most like himself: a maverick with impeccable reform credentials, a risk-seeking commercial fisherwoman and huntress married to a marathon snowmobile racer who carries a steelworkers union card. The Democratic order of battle was to tie McCain to the Bush administration and attack McCain by attacking Bush. With Palin on the ticket, McCain has re-emerged as the maverick he really is.
… Obama, in short, is long on brains and short on guts. A Shibboleth of American politics holds that different tactics are required to win the party primaries as opposed to the general election, that is, by pandering to fringe groups with disproportionate influence in the primaries. But Obama did not compromise himself with extreme positions. He did not have to, for younger voters who greeted him with near-religious fervor did not require that he take any position other than his promise to change everything. Obama could have allied with the old guard, through an Obama-Clinton ticket, or he could have rejected the old guard by choosing the closest thing the Democrats had to a Sarah Palin. But fear paralyzed him, and he did neither.
… Obama has an almost magical ability to gain the confidence of those around him. Perhaps it was the adaptation of a bright and sensitive young boy who was abandoned by three parents – his Kenyan father Barack Obama Sr, who left his pregnant young bride; his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetero; and by his mother, Ann Dunham, who sent 10-year-old Obama to live with her parents while she pursued her career as an anthropologist.
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Other Posts about the Candidates
1. How the Iraq and Vietnam wars are mirror images of each other (7 February 2008) — Now we have McCain, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, talking of an open-ended commitment to victory in Iraq.
2. A look at the next phase of the Iraq War: 2009-2012 (1 March 2008) — What is next in Iraq? None of the leading candidates have expressed any intention of leaving Iraq – except in the distant and vague future. McCain intends to fight so long as (or until) we suffer few casualties, then stay for a long time (perhaps a hundred years, as McCain said here and here) ). On the other hand, Obama has been quite explicit…
3. Our metastable Empire, built on a foundation of clay(3 March 2008) — We can elect leaders with vast ambitions (foreign for McCain, domestic for Obama), but can no longer afford them.
4. How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?(21 March 2008) — The Presidential campaign rolls on in the seventh year since 9/11, with the only debate about the Long War being in which nations America should fight. We see this even the speeches of the most “liberal” candidate, Senator Barack Obama.
5. American history changes direction as the baton passes between our political parties (18 May 2008) – Importance of the November 2008 political landslide.
6. President Obama, an Muslim apostate? (2 June 2008) — Nope.
7. Is Obama running for the office of Chief Shaman? (6 June 2008) — Weirdness from our next President.
8. Does America need a charismatic President?(15 july 2008)
9. More about charisma, by Don Vandergriff…(#2 in the “getting ready for Obama” series) (16 July 2008) — About charisma: know it before you buy it!
10. Obama might be the shaman that America needs(17 July 2008) — At what point does criticism of Obama’s charisma and rhetoric become criticism of leadership itself — and blind faith in technocratic solutions so loved by policy nerds? Michael Knox Beran crosses that line in “Obama, Shaman“, City Journal, Summer 2008.
11. Obama describes the first step to America’s renewal, 8 August 2008 — Obama’s statement about America may be the simple truth; this may be why so many find it disturbing.
12. A powerful perspective on the candidates for President of the US, 28 August 2008 — John Derbyshire expresses what I have said about the candidates dreams of saving the world.
13. McCain believes we are stupid. Is he correct?, 30 August 2008
14. Alaska is near Russia, and Gov Palin’s other foreign policy experience, 1 September 2008
15. It’s is not just McCain who believes we’re dumb – it’s a crowd, 3 September 2008
For interesting articles about the candidates from other sources, see About the candidates for President of the United States.