The Obama Rules
[...] After his blowout win in North Carolina last week, Obama turned to framing the rules of the general election ahead, warning in his victory speech of "efforts to distract us." The chief distracter happens to be the man standing between Obama and the White House, John McCain, who will "use the very same playbook that his side has used time after time in election after election."
Forget "bitter"; Obama must believe that most Americans suffer from an attention-deficit disorder so crippling that they can't concentrate on their own interests or values.
Obama has an acute self-interest in so diagnosing the American electorate. His campaign knows he's vulnerable to the charge of being an elitist liberal. Unable to argue the facts, it wants to argue the law -- defining his weaknesses as off-limits.
The campaign can succeed in imposing these rules on the race only if the news media cooperate.
Here are the Obama rules in detail: He can't be called a "liberal" ("the same names and labels they pin on everyone," as Obama puts it); his toughness on the war on terror can't be questioned ("attempts to play on our fears"); his extreme positions on social issues can't be exposed ("the same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives" and "turn us against each other"); and his Chicago background too is off-limits ("pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy"). Besides that, it should be a freewheeling and spirited campaign.
Democrats always want cultural issues not to matter because they are on the least-popular side of many of them, and want patriotic symbols like the Pledge of Allegiance and flag pins to be irrelevant when they can't manage to nominate presidential candidates who wholeheartedly embrace them (which shouldn't be that difficult). As for "fear" and "division," they are vaporous pejoratives that can be applied to any warning of negative consequences of a given policy or any political position that doesn't command 100 percent assent. In his North Carolina speech, Obama said the Iraq War "has not made us safer," and that McCain's ideas are "out of touch" with "American values." How fearfully divisive. [...]
Lowry goes on to say that we could take these rules by Obama in good faith, if Obama also applied them to the way the talks about John McCain. But does Obama follow his own rules? Or do they only apply to John McCain and Republicans? Read the whole thing and find out.