My, it's funny how things change. Just scant months ago, the crowds Obama was drawing on the stump were being dismissed as something for which the candidate could not claim credit. Remember that crowd in Oregon? That was the work of the mighty indie rock band the Decemberists! Now, suddenly, Obama is being credited with having, in the words of the McCain campaign, "great global recognition with a global fan base." Which is obviously a total disaster, because Real American Leaders visit der Fudge Hauses and knock over cans of applesauce to the delight of tens of people, like comical railyard tramps.
Anyway, Andrea Mitchell had the opportunity to ask Rick Davis about this new "Obama as celebrity" tack that the McCain camp has devised and my, did she do battle. Again and again, she pressed Davis to defend the ad, pointing out that a comparison to a political figure would be more apt than Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Davis basically responded by prattling, "Can you not deny that Obama is a celebrity?! I can't believe that anyone would think otherwise." And then he said, "You've never seen John McCain take a presidential campaign overseas," banking, I guess, on no one remembering McCain's trips to Colombia and Canada (his trips to Iraq and Europe were taxpayer-funded, although he still held a campaign fundraiser in London). And then it became an argument over McCain's plan to increase offshore drilling, for the psychological benefit of this Nation of Whiners of ours.
Mitchell wasn't having any of it, and deployed McCain intimate John Weaver's arch-criticism of McCain's tactics. And then Davis impugned Obama further on his decision to not visit the troops in Europe, on the grounds that the troops would have enjoyed the visit. So...Obama's "celebrity," in that case, is valuable?
Naturally, none of this made sense, and as Davis went on and on and on about Obama's criticism of McCain (again, how things have changed - way back when it was Obama getting derided for being naive about the tough environment of presidential politics), and Mitchell had to repeatedly correct him, and the whole thing is definitely worth a watch, but the bottom line is this: the McCain campaign spent their money on a silly ad and have now spent two days talking about what a celebrity Obama is and how popular he is, all the while kidding themselves into thinking that they've actually been talking about "the issues that Americans care about."
"I'm happy to talk about the substantive issues the next time I'm on your program," said Davis. Because there's no time like the later!
[WATCH -- starts about 2 minutes in.]