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February 18, 2008

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It's a little peculiar, but I think more of the peculiarity comes from how W was treated in 2000, than the currently rather mild criticisms of Obama as someone without substance.

W's paltry record as governor of Texas was known but dismissed as unimportant by both journalists and GOP cheerleaders. Remember, he would be "the CEO president" who would have a wide circle of skilled advisers to make up for his lack of experience. And both the press and the Party allowed him to be used, Rorschach-like, for people to project their own hopes and desires.

This _is_ rather like the way Obama has sometimes been promoted -- but only as the first layer of his marketing campaign. But I think it's fair to say that this first layer has been used as a wide net for prospective voters.

However, unlike W, further content is pretty easily found on Obama: two clicks, one phone call, etc. You'd have to dig around old Molly Ivins columns and such to find examples of how W would likely govern, and frankly, they weren't written for potential GOP voters. (And they should have been. On the other hand, Reagan's Eleventh Commandment.)

Now, people who do analyses of the superficial -- not necessary superficial analyses, but the way images and rumors are used, which is quite a bit of modern 'journalism' -- see this surface commonality.

Many of them consequently make the false extrapolation, because they're not policy people, but image people. This is a structural problem with our commentator class, and not an easily solved one either.

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