To give an example of the Subtle Obama Dynamic I talked about yesterday, I wound up yesterday evening covering my first ever Obama mega-rally in Washington Square Park. At some point during his address, he starts talking about experience. First he notes that he actually has a lot of experience of various sorts. So then he says that people who say he doesn't have experience (but he never says who these people are) must mean experience in Washington. But, he notes, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld had great resumés before taking jobs in the Bush administration. "Experience," he says, "is no guarantee of good judgment."
At this point I heard one television reporter remark to a confused camera operator "that's a dig at Hillary." He then moves on to recounting the dispute with Hillary about talking with foreign dictators.
And there's the rub. The camera operator was watching the speech. If Obama wants to make a dig at Hillary, the camera operator ought to realize that without someone else pointing it out to him.
Translated from the Obamaese, he's first noting that Obama actually has more experience than Clinton in elective office and in activism -- Clinton's experience is mostly being Bill Clinton's wife and thus being in the vicinity of powerful people. Second, he's noting that Clinton, who likes to tout her experience, joined the also very experienced Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney in advocating for the invasion of Iraq. He's arguing that this wasn't a one-off, that it suggests Clinton is the kind of person likely to make poor judgments in the future, possibly including decisions relating to Iran. Obama will try diplomacy; Clinton may once again show poor judgment by rushing to war.
That, I think, is what he's trying to say. But he's not really saying it and I'm not quite sure why.
Photo by IowaPolitics.com used under a Creative Commons license
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.