When this proposal was first broached Obama reacted positively, but when it became clear that his vaunted speaking skills were far less impressive without a teleprompter and adoring crowds, Obama quickly abandoned the idea. Instead, he proposed four debates only one of which was a townhall format and that on the fourth of July! Is Obama afraid voters might “smear” him by asking a question unfiltered by the campaign or its acolytes in the media?
I will not deny that there are people out there spreading rumors and half truths about Obama. But the same can be said of McCain. Leftist bloggers have gone so far as to question McCain’s service and his need for medical benefits as a result of his time in a Vietnam POW camp. Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, Obama’s senior military advisor, referred this week to how McCain was “a skinny kid,” “fresh out of jail,” on his return from Hanoi, but that he had “done very well at the dinner table in Washington." Nothing but class from the Obama campaign.
Despite his youth and inexperience, however, Obama is a shrewd politician. The media may not have bought his lame explanations surrounding the decision to refuse public financing but he knows there are few story lines the media like more than the secret racism of Republicans. He is hoping the media will pick up his accusations and return to their former role as Obama cheerleaders and the scourge of Republicans.
The truly sad thing is how much rides on whether the media decides to give into this temptation or continues to hold Obama accountable for his past statements and positions.
Given their past history, it is likely that voters will have to learn the truth about Obama despite the media. The good news is that the world of alternative and online media has made this possible.
So turn Obama’s campaign against him and “fight the smear.”