After his string of primary and caucus victories in February, Barack proceeded to lose Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, then West Virginia by 41, Kentucky by 35, Puerto Rico two to one and South Dakota by 10. That last one Barack was supposed to win.
The longer the campaign went on, the more reluctant Democrats seemed to be to embrace his nomination.
What is Barack's problem?
Middle America knows little about him, and much of what they know they do not like. When West Virginians were asked what they knew about Barack, a plurality said the Rev. Wright was his pastor. In Pennsylvania, a goodly slice of Democrats knew Barack had said they were "bitter" about being left behind and were clinging to their bigotries, Bibles and guns.
By June, resistance to Barack's nomination in the party that he now leads was extraordinary, stemming from a belief that he is too naive to be commander in chief in wartime and too far left, and does not like or understand Middle America or its values.
"He is not one of us."
And if Barack cannot erase this hardening perception in the American mind, he will not be president.
Democrats may talk of making the economy the issue this fall, but Republicans are going to make Barack the issue. Story line: We cannot entrust our beloved America, in a time of war, to this radical and exotic figure who has so many crazy and extremist associates.
Barack's problem is thus Reagan's problem.
As the country wished to be rid of Jimmy Carter in 1980, so the nation today wishes to be rid of Bush and his Republicans. But America is apprehensive over a roll of the dice, in Bill Clinton's metaphor.
How did Reagan ease the anxiety? In the debate with Carter, he came off as conservative, yes, but also traditional, mainstream, witty and the more likable man. The real Reagan came through.
With his persona, Barack may be able to do the same -- in the debates. The problem is that he had two dozen debates with Hillary and, by the end of the primary season, five months after it began, he was still losing ground.
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