Obama's Crucial, Vital, Critical, Important Trip

Washington Matters

Obama's Crucial, Vital, Critical, Important Trip

If I read or hear one more story about how much is at stake for Barrack Obama as he heads overseas, I may just scream. The me-too hype is obnoxious and overdone.

Yes, it's an important journey, given public questions about Obama's foreign policy experience, and if he screws up big time or is hugely successful, it will make a difference -- but that can be said about nearly everything either candidate does.

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Typical of the silliness is George Stephanopoulous's claim today that a gaffe of any sort would kill Obama's candidacy. A gaffe has that potential whenever and wherever it occurs. But one of the hallmarks of modern campaigning and the perpetual news cycle is that things large and small take on what seems to be earth-shattering significance one day and are forgotten the next, so predictions of long-lasting effect are simple melodrama, not news or even analysis.

For example, what has become of John McCain's infamous gaffes on his trips to


Which brings me to another point. A lot of Republicans, including McCain's folks, are suggesting that the press coverage of the trip (with big name anchors tagging along) is more proof that Obama gets a lot more press than McCain. That's true -- he does. That's not necessarily an advantage for Obama.  Consider that any change he makes in any number of positions becomes a big flip-flop controversy, while McCain can switch on any number of issues (funding for No Child Left Behind being the latest) with only bare attention in the news media. Obama is a less known quantity than McCain and he is going to receive more attention for awhile -- and that type of scrutiny would seem to be what McCain and others would want.


So let's calm down, follow the trip and see what actually happens -- and keep it in perspective when it does.