Patience and calm has once again won the day, proving that Barack Obama has more in common with Muhammad Ali than I previously thought.
Today at noon, his campaign released a 13-minute documentary on a new website, KeatingEconomics.com. This after months of seemingly unabated blather and complaint about the Obama campaign pulling their punches on John McCain's involvement in the Keating 5 scandal. Well, so much for that.
The documentary is, to exhaust the boxing metaphor, a knockout.
Doing what I do in my day job, the first thing I was struck by was hoe good it looked. I watched it twice at the outset - as a filmmaker first, then as a political junkie. The amount of b-roll; the fact that the interview seems to have been shot in HD; the music, the high quality of the titles (the graphics-heavy open alone took weeks, at minimum) - make no mistake, this was a months-long effort. Which means that in all likelihood, Obama's had this bullet in the chamber for a while.
Even though Ezra Klein couldn't get the Obama campaign to fess up, he also marveled at the production value, and makes some great points about the piece:
On the political side, it's worth marveling for a moment that the Obama campaign never got spooked and went nuclear from a position of weakness.
On the substantive side, they've chosen an attack on McCain's character of direct relevance to the current crisis.
THAT has particular relevance in light of the sloppy talking points being blathered by every conservative from Sarah Palin to Elisabeth Hasselbeck in the last 72 hours. (And today, when they decide to get their Ayers offensive in full swing, the Dow dropped over 800 points, then recovering slightly - only to finish below 10,000 for the first time since 2004. Great timing, McCainiacs.)
The sick genius of this documentary is not that it comes at the exact right national moment; it's that it does so without a) compromising Obama's "new politics" and b) looks like a first strike, but is actually a counter-strike.
More from Klein:
Some folks think this a simple hit on McCain's credentials as a reformer. It's more than that: It's also an assault on McCain's newfound role as a regulator. The policy aspects of the Keating scandal had to do with deregulation. Deregulation supported by John McCain. Deregulation that John McCain wrote James Baker and asked him to uphold. And finally, it's an effort to control the news cycle. Early in the campaign, they seemed content to let McCain launch the attacks, and to fight back only in response. No longer.
Here's another view on the scandal, courtesy of Jed Report: