If You’re Gonna Be Stupid…

TNR Syndrome is threatening to raise it’s ugly head again, this time it’s Michael Crowley, fretting that Obama’s convention speech might be a problem.

First of all, you know what could be a boon to McCain here? Left leaning outlets saying that this is a problem for Obama. Secondly, the main problem here is representative of a larger problem in the media, that they actually think the “Celeb” ad hurt Obama. It didn’t, and it doesn’t make any sense to think that it did. Americans like celebrities, and they like their Presidents to be celebrities. How many viable Presidential candidates haven’t done Leno or Letterman since Bill Clinton rocked the sax on Arsenio? John McCain has hosted Saturday Night Live and had a cameo in The Wedding Crashers, a movie you might have heard of. Richard Nixon did Laugh In, Dwight Eisenhower was an amazingly famous general, and Ronald Reagan was an actor. So the idea that people are turned off by celebrity in their politicians isn’t just unfounded, it’s downright asinine in light of the way politics have evolved and the way politicians have stoked their public image. What hurt Obama was the media letting McCain’s “race card” charge to go unchallenged. And the idea that he was alleging he’d been called a racist, which was silly. On the whole, you could even make the broader argument that the fact that John McCain has been able to lie constantly and with impunity for weeks now without being called out on it has a lot to do with it too.

The answer isn’t to tamp down a really great card for Obama. The convention speech is going to be tremendously powerful imagery, broadcast on every newscast, in front of 75,000 people. And what, pray tell, is McCain going to complain about? That Obama was giving a speech? He’s going to give an acceptance speech a week later. That all of the networks carried it? Presumably McCain will get the same treatment. The only thing McCain could complain about would be the size discrepancy, but does he really want to draw people’s attention to the fact that he can’t compete with Obama in terms of drawing crowds of Americans? Does that really sound like a winning strategy to anyone? What’s next; we start fretting that Obama can’t get move votes than McCain lest Republicans use it as proof that Obama is just too popular with voters?

In any event, I think another TNR writer has the best answer.