THE BLOG
07/15/2008 12:14 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Imagining if Obama Had a McCain Week

Let's just imagine a moment.

Let's just imagine that one day during the campaign, Barack Obama suddenly changed the actual facts about a central moment in his life, altering them to simply fit the city he was campaigning in.

And let's just imagine that another time, Barack Obama was asked to explain one of his Senate votes on a major women's issue, but sat in silence until finally saying he didn't remember it. And then laughed that it was "delicate."

Let's just imagine, too, that Barack Obama's top economic advisor had said that there wasn't really a recession, that it was just a "mental recession," just "psychological," that Americans were "whiners."

Let's just imagine that Barack Obama had made a joke about killing all Iranians with cigarettes.

And let's imagine that all of these things happened to Barack Obama -- all of them -- during the last week alone.

Just imagine.

No, really. Take a moment, I'll wait. Imagine it.

For starters, it's easy to imagine how the press and Republican operatives would respond to his economic advisor. Easy, because we saw how they responded to his "spiritual" advisor. We'd see the video footage of that economic advisor over and over. And over. And over and over and over and over. And then over. And we'd see them shaking their finger, how the advisor had been a close friend for 20 years. They'd explain he has direct influence, power, input, and is writing the Obama economic platform. And that he's in line to become Secretary of the Treasury. A man who believes $5 gas prices, lost homes and lost jobs are merely "psychological" -- and that that those hurt are "whining." They would compare this to calling some voters bitter, and blast him for being elitist. We know they would do this, because we've seen them do it already. And then we'd see the video footage over and over and over some more.

And this time, they'd be right to do so.

If Barack Obama had sat in silence and said he didn't remember his vote on a major women's issue, we know what the response would be from the press and Republican analysts. That this shows Barack Obama isn't ready to be president. How empty he is. How it demonstrates his problem with women's issues and shows the gulf he has with supporters of Hilary Clinton. And they would put up charts explaining the women who don't trust him.

And this time, they'd be right to do so.

If Barack Obama joked about killing Iranians, we know how the press and Republican spokesmen would respond. They'd roar how naïve he was about foreign affairs. How reckless and ill-equipped he was to deal with U.S. security. And they would seek out a clip of him singing "bomb-bomb-bomb Iran." And they'd rail that this all showed how irresponsible Barack Obama was towards terrorism. That when you're running for President, it is no joking matter, and anyone who doesn't recognize that every word from a candidate's mouth sends a signal to the world, and such a person has no business being leader of the nation.

And this time, they'd be right to do so.

If Barack Obama had changed facts about a story that propelled him through his public life, we know what the response from the press and Republican pundits would be to that. That Barack Obama is a blank cipher, that we don't know who Barack Obama really is, that Barack Obama is just empty speeches and no substance. Relentlessly, they'd point out that Barack Obama would say anything to get elected, that every word out of his mouth was pandering, telling audiences whatever they wanted to hear, in a desperate effort to get elected.

And this time, they'd be right to do so.

In fact, if Barack Obama last week had also called Social Security an "absolute disgrace," we know the cry out he was out of touch with Americans and with the most-important social program to the fabric of the nation, uncaring about the health and warfare of our elderly and most need.

And they would be right.

They'd be right about all of this. Right, not because of each individual issue, but because of all of them together. Because together they paint not just a corner, but the entire landscape. Because together, they are the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that make up the full picture.

Everyone can make a mistake, everyone can misspeak. But when you do it repeatedly, it's known in the law as "pattern-and-practice." And it's the proof that gets you convicted.

And all of these things happened last week alone.

And we know this is how the press and Republican representatives would respond to all of it, if it was Barack Obama -- we know -- because it's how they've already responded to lesser matters throughout the entire campaign.

And if it all happened in just one week?

One week??

The resultant explosion would make Journey to the Center of the Earth not a title, but a campaign reality.

And though they all did happen, to John McCain, none of this takes into consideration all the McCain gaffs, pandering, and outright "I never said I wasn't an expert on economics" lies that have occurred over the course of the campaign. It ignores too that days later Mr. McCain (once again) defended Czechoslovakia, a country that doesn't exist.

John McCain got some criticism last week. He deserved to. But just imagine if it had been Barack Obama.

Just imagine.