In the Arena

Obama Diplomacy?

  • Share
  • Read Later

John Heilmann has an interesting account of the efforts by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to woo John Edwards…and guess what? Clinton was far more effective than Obama. Here’s the key section:

Speaking to Edwards on the day he exited the race, Obama came across as glib and aloof. His response to Edwards’s imprecations that he make poverty a central part of his agenda was shallow, perfunctory, pat. Clinton, by contrast, engaged Edwards in a lengthy policy discussion. Her affect was solicitous and respectful. When Clinton met Edwards face-to-face in North Carolina ten days later, her approach continued to impress; she even made headway with Elizabeth. Whereas in his Edwards sit-down, Obama dug himself in deeper, getting into a fight with Elizabeth about health care, insisting that his plan is universal (a position she considers a crock), high-handedly criticizing Clinton’s plan (and by extension Edwards’s) for its insurance mandate.

This flies in the face of Obama’s public image: the natural politician, whose emotional intelligence is off the charts, whose first instinct is conciliation. Not good news for Dr. O…and all the more reason why he’s going to have to (re)prove himself in settings other than arena rallies. He needs to re-establish his ability to make a one-on-one human connection, especially with working class voters. He has a Pennsylvania bus tour coming up this week…and perhaps we’ll see more from him then.

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest