And today, the word of the day in the corporate press is... presumptuous. Used in a sentence: Senator Obama is being presumptuous during his trip -- acting all presidential and dignified. How dare he be presidential while running for, you know, president. Presumptuous. During the live CNN web feed of the Berlin address, an anchor used it to describe the event. Joe Klein used it in a blog post today. Of course Joe attributed it to racist voters rather than very serious reporters -- racist because it's presumably a synonym for 'uppity' and we can't accuse the press of such awfulness. And Candy Crowley used it in her post-address analysis on CNN. That's a lot of coincidences. "Presumptuous" must really be a popular word. Odd that it's being used so often by people who want Senator Obama to win.
AP: "In a speech that risked being seen as presumptuous..."
TIME Magazine: "capable to become the Commander in Chief of a superpower -- without seeming presumptuous..."
The National Journal: "He is well aware voters here at home might see that as presumptuous..."
Washington Post: "Whether by the end of this week he will be seen as presumptuous or overly cocky..."
Chicago Tribune: "That means walking the fine line between looking presidential and appearing arrogant and presumptuous..."
Boston Globe: "plus the growing sense in some quarters that the presumptive Democratic nominee is getting a little presumptuous..."
Can you feel the wanting-Obama-to-win love radiating off your computer screen? No?
The reality is that positive coverage of any Democrat is limited and temporary for fear of networks and newspapers either being accused of liberal bias or being tossed out of the very serious barbeque loop. Regardless of whether the Democrat, in this case Senator Obama, is having a good day, it's somehow unethical to report on such good news for too long without deliberately concocting an antidote to appease the far-right.
Keep in mijnd that the GOP does not do this stuff for a knock out. They operate on the death of a thousand cuts. Little criticisms, relentlessly played, dribbled out over time designed to create a running theme. This one is obvious: elitist, aloof, and --- presumptuous. That last carries quite an amazing amount of freight --- presumptuous, uppity, doesn't know his place. It applies neatly to any Democrat who deigns to lead Broderville but the historical, subliminal American memory that attaches to such a word when the person in question is black is particularly powerful. (I smell the mark of Rove on that --- he's really good at stuff like this.)
Republicans are, smartly, seizing upon this report from Der Spiegel (which has become a must-read this week):SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that Obama has cancelled a planned short visit to the Rammstein and Landstuhl US military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The visits were planned for Friday. "Barack Obama will not be coming to us," a spokesperson for the US military hospital in Landstuhl announced. "I don't know why." Shortly before the same spokeswoman had announced a planned visit by Obama.
The optics here are not good: Obama has time to get in a workout and give a speech to a crowd mostly comprised of Europeans, but can't be bothered to visit American troops wounded in action recovering at a military hospital.
Obama's explanation strikes at much of the criticism he's gotten from McCain and the GOP.