Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Maureen Dowd noting Obama's growing pains today

Maureen Dowd today, "Obama, Legally Blonde?" continuing on her quest to resurrect the candidacy of Joe Biden, I take it...:) A bit of slagging on a grumpy Obama learning life as a newbie Presidential candidate and not making nice with the media, apparently.

Excerpt:
He is backed up by a strong, smart wife and a professional campaign team, but he doesn’t have a do-whatever-it-takes family firm with contract killers and debt collectors, like Bush Inc. and Clinton Inc.

He was eloquent, if not as inspiring as his advance billing had prepared audiences to expect. He made his first Swift-boat-able slip when he had to apologize for talking about soldiers’ lives “wasted” in Iraq. He sounded self-consciously pristine at times, as if he was too refined for the muck of politics. That’s not how you beat anybody but Alan Keyes.

After talking to high school journalists, he took a sniffy shot at the loutish reporters who were merely whispering where’s the beef: “Take some notes, guys, that’s how it’s done.”

No fewer than three times last week, Mr. Obama got indignant about the beach-babe attention given to a shot of him in the Hawaiian surf.

Using the dreaded third person that some candidates slip into, he told the press that one of their favorite narratives boiled down to “Obama has pretty good style, he can deliver a pretty good speech, but he seems to prioritize rhetoric over substance.” After an ode to his own specificity, he tut-tutted, “You’ve been reporting on how I look in a swimsuit.”

He poses for the cover of Men’s Vogue and then gets huffy when people don’t treat him as Hannah Arendt.

For some of us, it’s hard to fathom being upset at getting accused of looking great in a bathing suit. But his friends say it played into this Harvard grad’s fear of being seen as “a dumb blond.” He has been known to privately mock “pretty boys” (read John Edwards, the Breck Girl of 2004).

He doesn’t lack confidence, but he’s so hung up on being seen as thoughtful that he sometimes comes across as too emotionally detached and cerebral with crowds yearning for an electric, visceral connection. J.F.K. mixed cool with fire.

For a man who couldn’t wait to inject himself into the national arena, and who has spent so much time writing books about himself, the senator is oddly put off by press inquisitiveness.
Is that such a sin? Given the strange priorities of the media in this era (see: Anna Nicole Smith coverage), he's shrewd to be wary of the "People" effect. I suppose there's worse that could be going on. All in all, sounds like normal nationwide growing pains to me...