Friday, February 15, 2008

Obama's Allergy to Taking Questions

Has anyone seen an Obama townhall meeting? Can anyone name an Obama event where the audience (even a screened audience) was allowed to ask questions (besides the Youtube debates)? Funny that no one has reported on this...Obama doesn't interact with real people...he doesn't take questions from the audience. What is he afraid of?

From Ezra Kiein in "Obama's allergy to taking questions -- both from the press and from voters -- is actually an undercovered part of this campaign. Where Clinton does townhalls, Obama holds rallies. Where McCain constantly hangs out with reporters, Obama has little to do with them. They like him, to be sure, but if they continue to feel frozen out, that could change.

This is part of what made Frank Rich's column this week so weird. He was attacking Clinton for a somewhat cheesy, rather scripted "townhall" where, at the least, she answered questions. Obama, by contrast, doesn't even offer those. Awhile back, the blogosphere had a term that went something like, IOKIYAR, or "it's okay if you're a Republican." I've been thinking that there should really be "INOKIYHC," or "it's not okay if you're Hillary Clinton."

All that said, the polling really does suggest that Obama has an advantage against McCain in the general, and in my off-the-record conversations with professional conservatives, they seem unanimously afraid of Obama. It's not so much that they're sure he can win (and none deny the possibility that he could lose), but they're definitely not sure how they can beat him, and they fear he has the potential to win big. With Clinton, by contrast, they feel they know how to attack her, and don't worry about anything game-changing."