There is one pattern that somewhat disturbs me in the Democrats/Obama Campaign communication: the fact that, instead of calling GOP demagogy for what it is and explaining to voters why it is demagogy, they indirectly validate that demagogy by avoiding a tough fight on some subjects.
A very speaking example is the “elitism” meme that the GOP uses and overuses again and again. When Republicans say Obama is an elitist, what he and his surrogates answer is that he’s the child of a single mother that, at a time lived on food-stamps as she completed her education, that episode of his biography being supposed to invalidate the elitism-accusation.
To me, that seems a poor response. The simple fact that Obama has had a top notch Harvard Law School education definitely qualifies him as a member of a certain elite, and there’s nothing he can do against that. Yet, why should that be a negative in his profile? EVERYBODY would be proud to have kids that succeeded in their studies the way Barack did! So instead of shying away from that ill-minded accusation of elitism, Obama should use it as an advantage, in a clever way of course, not in an arrogant fashion.
The Democrats need to state the obvious to voters: POTUS is a function where you deal with the highest, head-aching complexity, especially in the world we’re living in today. Therefore, it is paramount that candidates who make a bid for that high office be people who are intellectually trained to have a fair grasp of that complexity.
John McCain and, to a larger extent, Sarah Palin use a rhetoric of oversimplification on issues, notably national-security (By the way, I think it is due to both demagogy and cluelessness! McCain has made a lot of gaffes talking about national security, unfortunately, neither the press nor the Democrats have cared to scrutinize them properly).
Informed people obviously know how bogus their logic is, but it is not the case of misinformed average voters. The responsible way to deal with that for Obama and the Democrats is to develop a pedagogic yet non-condescending message to Americans, explaining them how scared they should be about the McCain/Palin world views.
The debate is not on elitism, it’s on competence.