Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend Political Wrap-Up: Obama Scores, Bloomberg Waits in the Shadows?

Not only was it a big weekend in Detroit Sports but there was quite a big of politics to talk about this weekend, and on the heels of asking Is Hillary Clinton Tough Enough To Be President? let's take a look at what happened this weekend in Presidential Politics.

** Barack Obama Appears on Saturday Night Live ** Saturday Night Live, despite perhaps losing some of its relevance over the years, is still a big platform for Presidential hopefuls, and Barack Obama made his mark Saturday Night, appearing in the show's opening sketch to dig Hillary Clinton. It was a funny sketch, and Obama had good timing, and came off well. The video is embedded below.

I've always thought that "stiff" politicians, like Bob Dole and Al Gore, have always came off very well when they appeared on SNL, and I always contended had they appeared on SNL while they were running for President (instead of after) they may have been better off. On the heels of a successful debate on Tuesday, Obama continued gaining momentum with his SNL appearance.

** Barack Obama Continues Pressuring Hillary Clinton A national poll may have found that Hillary Clinton remained unscathed despite her debate performance Barack Obama kept the pressure on in a speech in South Carolina.

“She’s also a skilled politician,” Obama said, “and she’s run what Washington would call a ‘textbook’ campaign. But the problem is the textbook itself. It’s a textbook that’s all about winning elections, but says nothing about how to bring the country together to solve problems. As we saw in the debate last week, it encourages vague, calculated answers to suit the politics of the moment instead of clear, consistent principles about how you would lead America. It teaches you that you can promise progress for everyday people while striking a bargain with the very special interests who crowd them out.”

I like the textbook analogy a lot. And he's right, Clinton has run, until last Tuesday, a flawless campaign which very much could be considered "textbook." But, the analogy also fits very neatly into the narrative Obama is trying to write. Will it work in Iowa, where Obama needs to win to give himself a chance to topple the Clinton political machine? Maybe. But even if it doesn't, it's nice to see Obama sharpen the distinctions between himself and Clinton, and now nobody can say he's going down without a fight. Obama also had an effective counter-argument to the Clinton camp's argument that he is engaging in negative campaigning when interviewed by the Washington Post.
Clinton's campaign has accused Obama of trading the politics of hope for a series of negative attacks. Obama responded by saying, "I think it would be hard to argue that we are engaging in negative campaigning when we're making a basic argument about why I'd be the best candidate, and show the differences that we have not just on policy but on our approach to leadership."

** New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: Will He Run? ** If the media loves something more than a potential fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it's speculating about whether New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will make a third-party run for the White House in 2008. He continues to say he isn't interested, but he also is the subject of much speculation, and there are plenty of people who would love to see a Bloomberg campaign. Fiscally conservative but socially liberal on many issues, Bloomberg could bring together a lot of the population who is tired of the partisan bickering in Washington. And this week, he's subject of a cover story in Newsweek about his life and his potential candidacy. For anybody following the 2008 campaign, the article is a must-read, as despite Bloomberg's denials, if he runs, it will change everything. And not just because he can finance his campaign entirely by himself, without taking a dime from anybody (much less taking a dime from special interests) allowing him to do anything he wanted as President without worrying about angering his donors. Because he wouldn't have any. That's amazing to think about.

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