Trying to play Mister Apolitical is taking it’s toll. The WaPo:

Today’s news that Jim Johnson, one of three people charged with vetting potential vice presidential candidates for Barack Obama, is stepping down from his role illustrates the perils ahead for the presumptive Democratic nominee as he seeks to preserve his “above politics” image even while pursuing the most powerful job in the world.

After several days of negative news stories detailing Johnson’s time as CEO of Fannie Mae and a tepid response by Obama yesterday, the campaign moved swiftly to excise the problem in a statement released moments ago.

“Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept,” said Obama. “We have a very good selection process underway, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process.”

Such a clean break demonstrates the danger that being associated with figures like Johnson — long-time party operatives with a history of potentially controversial business ties — poses to Obama.

Well, no. That’s not the danger, here.  The danger is setting unrealistic goals. These are, of course, the same dangers I warned of in the case of John McCain.  THe difference is, since he’s not been running nearly as active a campaign, and a much smaller one…(Obama currently has around 7 times the staff McCain does, according to spending records, and is spending ten times more in television advertising than is McCain) … McCain has been less exposed on these matters. Of course time is the great leveler, here.

One more point about the story that deserves comment:

People are hungry for that sort of change — as evidenced not only by Obama’s stunning victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries but also by the huge number of people (65 percent or more) who tell pollsters they believe the country is headed off in the wrong direction.

What this does not indicate, however, is the breakdown of those people… and which way they’d like to see the country move. Is the change they desire more conservatism, or more liberalism?  After 16 years of centrist presidents, that situation could in fact flow in either direction.

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