Early this morning I was chatting with Bill Bennett on his radio show. I suggested that what President Obama needed to do was lock up the political hacks such as David Axelrod and Bill Burton and Roberts Gibbs and get some sage advice from mature Democrats. I offered that such figures might suggest to Obama that he is frittering away his brand, diminishing his stature and looking smaller by the minute.
But then Bill and I tried to come up with who those mature adults might be. It is not like he is going to listen to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who is still odd man out among Democrats. In the White House the likes of Valerie Jarrett reign supreme. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta? Well his calls to fix the sequestration cuts are being ignored, so I doubt he carries much weight. Bill Clinton? Well, it’s not certain in his heart of hearts which ticket he’d like to win. What about Clintonites such as Lanny Davis, Larry Summers and Robert Rubin (no relation)? I doubt that Obama would pay attention even if they cared to try to counsel him.
In truth there are few “wise men” in the Democratic Party with the gravitas and the nerve to tell Obama to clean up his act. You do wonder, however, whether Democrats are proud of the race their side is running. In the quiet of the night do they ever wrinkle their noses at the stench or shake their heads in disgust? If so, they won’t publicly reveal their qualms.
So for now Romney is claiming the high ground:
The mainstream media find it hard to ignore how low the Democratic ticket has sunk. Vice President Biden’s “chains” remark was featured on all the nightly news shows. Reporters such as ABC’s Jake Tapper reported with amazement that Obama himself was referring at multiple campaign stops to the dog-on-the-car story. But, given how mainstream media operate, much of the story line has been “The race is back in the gutter” or “Look how the tone is debased once again.” The equivalency is false, of course. Obama-Biden digging ever deeper into their bag of invectives is not the same as Romney-Ryan pointing out how low the Democrats have gone. Obama’s super PAC accusing Romney of murdering a little old lady isn’t in the same universe, let alone ballpark, with Romney hitting Obama’s economic record. But the best the media can do at this point is “a pox on both their houses.”
The voters, however, can see for themselves what each side is saying. They will get a heavy dose of both sides at the conventions.(From what has been reported, we should expect non-stop Romney attacks at the Democratic National Convention.) Consultants will tell you that “negative ads” work, but do negative, angry candidates? We will find out.