The thing is, I agree with Rove. Here is my take on how Obama has gone wrong recently.
Bob Rae wrote a blog post about Obama's Iowa victory speech, saying he "was inspired by the passion and decency" and including a video of the speech. I have a lot of respect for Bob's opinions so I made myself watch the speech twice, but I have a very different opinion of it. I found it overly emotional; I find the preachy style to be manipulative and creepy and had trouble forcing myself to listen to it. I found his ideas hypocritical; for example, he said he's going to "end the strategy that's been all about division" and "end the politics where we tear each other down", but he's not doing that at all, both in that he's running a negative campaign against Hillary and that one of his main points of attack is on the Clintonian use of triangulation as a political tactic, even though it's a pretty effective way to bridge differences (and not as cynical as it's sometimes made out to be). Obama has been praised for his delivery, but as Rove points out, Obama was the only candidate of either party who used a teleprompter, and I found his swivelling his head from side to side to read the words to be clumsy and distracting.
Obama has been consistently iffy in the debates. His strength is reading speeches and looking handsome, not speaking to the issues.
Nobody's talking about it much, but the odd comment creeps into the news that Obama is not a very nice guy. He apparently has a bad temper and gets very grouchy. This side of him was revealed to the world in the debate last week when he said, very ungraciously, "You're likable enough, Hillary."
Finally, I don't like this emphasis on "change". "Change" is too vague. "Change" could be all sorts of crap I don't agree with. "Change" is all about emotion and not about how to take on the incredible challenges of a post-Bush world, which will include a huge deficit that will tie the hands of the next president.
While Obama has been increasingly disappointing me, Hillary has been getting better and better. She said in New Hampshire that she'd found her voice, and I think she has. She has a difficult challenge in that regard: in our sexist world, almost any approach she takes is going to be attacked. To guard against being attacked for being weak, she went strong: then she was attacked for being too "masculine"; and so on. I think the delivery and tone of her recent addresses have been miles above what she was doing previously; the message remains essentially the same, and has always appealed to me in its specificity and pragmatism.
It's a tough road for Hillary and the pundits are still predicting an Obama win, but I'm happy as long as she's a contender. Last fall Time magazine wrote, "Is America ready for a woman president?" They would never have said such a thing about a black president. The hurdles for women are far greater than they are for priviledged members of minorities, and the possibility of a woman in power is much more threatening. But a woman can dream.