Thursday, September 4, 2008
Obama Late To The Party
Profiles in courage it was not. Smart politics it was. Two weeks ago when it would have been politically risky for Barack Obama to call for Kwame Kilpatrick to resign, the democratic candidate for president thought about it and apparently concluded there were too many mine fields that could blow up in his face. In fact when the story ran that the Obama campaign was weighing such a move, a local spokesperson said the story was wrong. Obama did call for Kwame Kilpatrick to "step" aside, but this time there was virtually no political risk as the declaration came within hours of Kilpatrick doing just that. So why thrust the democratic nominee into this mess either way? First it underscores the concern in the Obama camp that the Mayor's "problems" could indirectly impact the outcome of the November vote. Two weeks ago, the mess had not reached critical mass and calling for a resignation then could have hacked off some Detroit voters who still supported Kilpatrick. Now with only 27% of Detroiters on the mayor's side, Obama can safely jump on the resignation bandwagon with little fear of damaging his support in Motown. Plus, Obama wants to reassure suburban voters in the donut around Detroit that he never condoned nor was he connected to what the mayor did. Recall that republicans were probably going to run TV commercials showing the mayor and Obama together, hoping the guilt by association would rub off on Obama. So in a straightforward political move, Obama now calls for the mayor to resign, the mayor resigns, and Obama has erased a potential problem. At least until the republicans criticize him for waiting so long to do it.