Barack Obama is slumping. Poll numbers are down. Enthusiasm is down. Democrats, once again, are freaking. So, we asked a few folks, from different walks of life, to offer their opinion on what Obama should do to improve his standing. Here's what former Bill Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers had to say:
The first thing you have to do is stop running against Sarah Palin and start running against John McCain. She's sort of bullet-proof, so the best thing to do in my opinion is to use her enormous popularity to contrast with John McCain. I mean, I think of them as Sonny and Cher. You know, what was Sonny without Cher? He was nothing, right? And once she left him, she went on to stardom and he disappeared. He was a successful entrepreneur, he's not an idiot, but he has no star-power. She's the talent, she's the excitement, she's the draw.
What Sarah Palin has done, and this is something I like about her, is that she's a women who has succeeded very much on her own terms. She talks about motherhood as a training ground for leadership; she manages and balances her family and her work in her own way. It's very hard to see where her family ends and her work begins. I think a lot of women see their lives that way. Not everyone's going to go out and shoot a moose and put their hair up in a bun and put on their sexy open-toe shoes and go to dinner. ... But does everybody have to be lock-step on every issue? Or can somebody who's outside--in Sarah Palin's case, very much outside--the traditional feminist agenda still move the ball forward for women? I think the answer is yes. When I hear Pat Buchanan on TV, decrying sexism in the media, you know? This is not all bad. ... I don't know where abortion rights are going to end up in all this, and honestly that concerns me, but I think we need to find a different language to talk about it. I think that there are more women who identify with Sarah Palin than Gloria Steinem right now. Even if they don't agree with 100 percent of her agenda, her life looks more like their lives.
Some people--it wasn't the Obama campaign, but they're suffering the consequences--came out against her so hard on such a broad range of topics, including her family, that I think the public reacted viscerally. So now everything negative that's said about her--whether it's true, as in charges about the bridge to nowhere, or not true, as in rumors about her baby--people discount it. And so, on some level, we could argue all day whether it matters or not what her qualifications are, the public has decided that that's not how they're judging this. They know she doesn't know anything about foreign policy and they don't really care.
The main thing about Sarah Palin is what she says about John McCain. He couldn't have possibly won this campaign by talking about his ideas--you know, his plans for the future, his record in Washington. That was about as attractive as day-old bread. If she's the future of the party, he's the past. ... You have to get back to Sarah Palin, what a phenom, isn't she a remarkable person, what a great story to tell, and doesn't she make John McCain the most boringest, most yesterday guy in the world? And let's remember, he is, because his policies really stink. I mean, let's use her to point out his weaknesses instead of shielding him from his weaknesses. Let's remind people why she's there, because he can't get three people into a hotel ballroom without her. No one's hearing a word he says. No one wants to hear about his policies. You've got to be a little careful because I don't remember the last time when a national campaign was decided purely on the basis of policy. But who's going to be running the show? Who's the real agent of change here? Who's the person who's talking about tomorrow?
My dad is 74 my mom is 69, they use their computer every day and so do all their friends. It's not a demographic issue; it's a state-of-mind issue. My mom's on there emailing Congress, emailing John McCain. She's like, "You stop it!" It's not that most people his age don't use computers; it's that he's not in touch with the world as it works now. If you can't send an email, if you don't even know how to Google, I mean how do you know anything? I think that's not an argument about age, it's an argument about state-of-mind. John McCain is a guy whose ideas are stuck firmly in the past.
--As told to Max Fisher