Subtle

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"Subtle"

Watching the primary campaign, it keeps seeming to me as if Barack Obama is making arguments that, while fairly clear to me, must go over the heads of at least half of political junkies, to say nothing of normal people going about their lives. Noam Scheiber, meanwhile, remarks on Obama’s thinking:

At this point, the thinking in the Obama camp seems to rest on two assumptions. The first is that the press will do the work of deciphering his overly-subtle jabs at Clinton. The second is that Edwards, in moving aggressively to take on Clinton, will drive up his own negatives in addition to hers. But, after tonight, at least one of those assumptions may need revising. Edwards looks perfectly capable of firing shots without suffering much blowback. Elizabeth Edwards maybe onto something yet.

That just seems crazy to me. Readers have no doubt noticed that I like Obama and I like what I think his campaign stands for. But it’s ridiculous to expect members of the press — even sympathetic ones — to make his arguments for him. If he wants people to vote for him rather than for Hillary Clinton, he needs to spell out some reasons why. Months ago, the subtly hinting seemed like a clever effort to lay the groundwork for the campaign to come. But now the time has come. Even hard-core observers of the scene are, under the current strategy, essentially put in the position of trying to guess what Team Obama is trying to say.

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