February 9, 2010

Punching Up Vs. Punching Down

There's a reason why boxers say you should always punch up to the next higher weight class and never punch down. By taking on fighters in a higher weight class, you enhance your own reputation. When you take on fighters in a lower weight class, you elevate them to your level and inevitably diminish your own reputation in the process.

So it makes perfect sense that Sarah Palin would take on Barack Obama in her keynote speech at the Tea Party Nation confab in Nashville. What makes absolutely ZERO sense is why Obama would respond.

Today, Robert Gibbs showed up for his daily presser with a nonsensical grocery list scribbled on his hand in a juvenile attempt to mock Palin's crib notes from Saturday night. While that might be giggle-worthy to the frat boys currently running the White House so long as they're outside the view of the public, taking it out in the full view of the public shows a public already anxious over their jobs, their homes and the direction their country is taking that you're simply not taking your job seriously.

(And you also open yourself up to even greater ridicule than you directed at Palin. Smart. Real smart.)

Aside from making it obvious just how much attention that Obama is paying to Palin despite his many protestations to the contrary, it actually necessitates that even greater media attention be paid to the next appearance that Palin makes. After all, if the President is going to respond to what she said the night before, then the media needs to be there with her to find out what she said in the first place.

Like it or not, Obama has raised Palin to his equal. While he is forced, at least in some measure, to respond to the events of the day; she can pick her spots to speak or not speak. It's a fight that he simply can't win.

He can't realistically go on the offensive against a private citizen without risking a backlash. He's like a boxer with his hands tied to his sides while his opponent freely delivers jabs and body blows without fear of reprisal. So why would a supposedly brilliant president and well-run White House operation make such a serious strategic mistake?

It's because "The Chicago Boyz" are still playing small ball because it's the only game they know. They still haven't grasped the magnitude of the office yet, and perhaps they never will.

They could easily have dismissed Palin as an also-ran and her message as one already refused by the American people, and to a large degree much of the wind could have and would have gone out of her sails.

But they can't help themselves, and they - along with their media lackeys - hang on her every move. Their very attention magnifies the impact of her every pronouncement, thereby creating a de facto Shadow Presidency for Palin with their thin-skinned and churlish responses.

More than a year after Obama thought he had delivered a TKO to her political career, he's doing his very best to help her put his presidency on the ropes. And they still think that Palin is the dumb one?