Today's Blogs

Obama Talks Tough

Barack Obama is on the offensive, and bloggers have noticed. They also chide FEMA for its fake presser and celebrate Boston’s second World Series victory in four years.

Obama talks tough: Lagging in the polls, Barack Obama signaled in an interview with the New York Times he will begin lobbing more direct attacks at Hillary Clinton. Aides hope this move will assuage the concerns of supporters who worry Obama has not been aggressive enough.

Democrat Taylor Marsh finds Obama’s shift to be too little, too late. “In a d’oh! moment, team Obama has decided kumbaya campaigning isn’t paying off and taking them where they need to be. … That he has to announce he’s going to now go after Clinton shows the ineffectual nature of his entire campaign. Political winners don’t promise or proclaim a new strategy because their last one failed.”

At You Decide 2008, Nate applauds Obama for finally recognizing his campaign strategy is faltering. “Obama might be able to pull an upset in Iowa if he actually starts smacking Hillary around. He’s at a serious disadvantage so the kid-glove campaigning isn’t going to help anymore. If he’s serious about winning the nomination, then it’s do-or-die time. Otherwise he will remain an asterisk in the presidential election history books as the first candidate to be openly endorsed by Oprah,” he writes. Liberal Steve Benen’s Carpetbagger Report celebrates that Obama has seen the light. “Obama has tried really hard for a year to be a ‘different kind of presidential candidate,’ pursuing a ‘different kind of politics.’ … He deliberately steered clear of red meat on the stump, because it didn’t fit into his vision of a new approach to politics. But there comes a point at which one realizes that the old way became the old way through experimentation, trial and error, and ultimately, success.”

Instead of rehashing old policy points more aggressively, Obama needs a unique new issue on which to hang his campaign, writes Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly’s Political Animal: “Continuing to hammer on the same issues he’s been talking about for the past six months, even if he does it more aggressively, isn’t likely to gain him more than a few points in the polls, and there’s just not enough time left for that to do him any good. Instead, he needs something that comes out of left field and blindsides Hillary.”

At Open Left, Chris Bowers, viewing Clinton as a force of nature, does not think Obama’s change of strategy can shake that. “Clinton’s path to the nomination is not something that a single campaign can stop right now, no matter how many interviews they request, new directions they vow to take, and stump speech attacks they might dish out. For Clinton to not win the nomination will require a major anti-Clinton narrative that places doubt in the minds of many Democrats, and which is verified in either some sort of scandal, gaffe, or defeat in Iowa.”

Dubbing Hillary a “triangulating shell of a politician” on Iraq, conservative Andrew Sullivan sings Obama’s praises on the three issues—the Constitution, the war, and the environment—that he cares most about. “Obama is vastly superior to Clinton, whose history of executive secrecy and privilege, whose constant triangulation on the war and whose polarization of the country would make difficult and real change impossible. Obama needs to be far more aggressive - but not hostile to Clinton. She just isn’t right for this critical moment in American history, too inherently divisive to bring this country back together in an extremely perilous time.”

Read more about Obama’s new offensive posture.

Fake news, but not on Comedy Central: FEMA brass apologized Friday for staging a faux press conference at the agency’s Washington headquarters, in which FEMA employees acted as journalists and the actual media—given only 15 minutes notice—listened in.

Wondering “when the grown-ups will return” to FEMA, conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters calls for the heads of those who participated. “[E]very one of them should get canned for it. … People who listened to that press conference did so not from some arcane, wonkish interest in policy, but because lives are on the line in Southern California. Over 1600 houses have burnt to the ground. People have died, and many more have risked their lives to save the rest. This is life and death, and FEMA offered us a stage play.”

At Media Relations: Misses & Hits, PR professional Roger critiques FEMA’s blunder. “Forget the ‘reprimands,’ ‘new procedures,’ and the like. Effective and ethical media relations is achieved through facts and transparency, not spin and manipulation. This stunt is a firing offense, for every FEMA staffer who participated in this charade.”

Guestblogging at Ezra Klein, Neil decries the “Potemkin” presser, finding it to be emblematic of this administration: “Instead of having competent people do their jobs and solve problems, they hire incompetent hacks whose only skills are spinning their failures.”  At To the People, libertarian Rob is amused, if darkly. “It’s like a variety show masked as a federal agency. Brilliant idea!”

Read more about FEMA’s fake news conference. 

Red Sox win: The Red Sox swept  the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night, garnering their second World Series in four seasons.

Deadspin editor Will Leitch applauds the team’s 4-0 performance: “We salute the Red Sox, who, clearly, were the best team in baseball from Spring Training until now. We might recommend avoiding their fans for a few days or so, but on the whole: You can’t say they didn’t earn it.”

The blogger at the aptly named Triumphant Red Sox Blog parses the differences between this victory and the team’s last. “It’s so different from 2004. No underdog status, no great unburdening, no tears for those who lived their whole lives never seeing a championship. All we have now is … a tremendous accomplishment.”

At Red Sox blog Surviving Grady, Red declares that a little credit should be given to the team’s manager. “And howzabout a little love for Terry Francona. I’ve happily lobbed hot coals at the guy’s nuts for four seasons now, but I appreciate everything he’s done to steer the ship and stick to the game plan.”

Read more about the Red Sox victory.