IT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS by the tenor of my recent posts and the recent Obama victories that
I AM NO LONGER TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.
I AM NO LONGER AS DESPERATELY WORRIED AS I WAS that my preferred candidate for President (hint: Obama)--who represents what I consider to be the smart, inclusive, decent, and inspiring Democratic politics of the future--might be KIDNEY PUNCHED TO DEATH by the grim Rovian politics of the past.
AND I AM NO LONGER AS PROFOUNDLY DEPRESSED AS I WAS that Hillary Clinton, whom I've always liked and defended, was the one doing the Rovian kidney punching.
SO YOU NICE PEOPLE MAY GET SOME RELIEF from the relentlessly sincere posts about politics and my worries
AND SOON WE CAN ALL GET BACK TO THE MOLE-MEN.
That said, I will offer just 2 MORE BLASTS OF PURE, EMBARRASSING, NAIVE SINCERITY...
SINCERITY BLAST ONE!:
If you are perceived as being the darling candidate of the young, educated, liberal activists, you don't really change that impression by having your triumph in MADISON, WISCONSIN.
TO THIS POINT: Obama's little joke about his whispered conversation with a Republican who had come to the Obama fold was funny. But I winced when it became clear he was only using the exchange as a joke.
IF WE ARE ALL INDEED EACH OTHER'S KEEPER, he needed to call back to that Republican handshake in his speech, and remind his young, educated, liberal activists that the Republicans are humans as well. We need to welcome and talk to them, and not just in an embarrassed whisper. We need to stop demonizing one another by party, by region, by class, by race. And the logical next step after that rally was to urge every one of those young, educated, liberal activists to go out into their state and meet their neighbors--not just to spread the word; but also to just shake hands.
It's not just good politics for the primary. It's not just how we'll form a new, strong, young, inclusive Democratic party. It's what the Obama candidacy, at its best, is all about.
SINCERITY BLAST TWO!
I like the fact that Obama is ahead of Clinton by about .338787 of a delegate, or whatever it is. It is appropriate for him to take up the mantle of the front runner at this point.
(AND WERE YOU AWARE of the meaning of the word "mantle" in this context? It means a kind of ceremonial cloak or cape)
HOWEVER: It seems to me wrong to promote Obama's nomination as INEVITABLE, as Obama's campaign seems to be doing.
Many have come off the crazy ups and downs of this race and called it absolutely unpredictable. All roller coasters feel that way when you're on them. But when you actually look at it from the outside, you see the peaks and valleys, and twists and turns are clearly structured and very predictable.
EVERY TIME CLINTON OR OBAMA is coronated as "inevitable"--by themselves or others--they lose. Look at what happened between Iowa and New Hampshire.
EVERY TIME CLINTON OR OBAMA is portrayed as the insurgent--by themselves or others--they win. Look what happened bewteen New Hampshire and South Carolina.
HISTORICALLY, no matter what you've read, AMERICANS HATE AN UNDERDOG--they love a winner. HENCE: BUSH.
BUT IN THIS RACE ESPECIALLY, voters HATE HATE HATE the presumption that someone else will be making this decision for them--be it the press, the superdelegates, the pundits, or the candidates themselves--before they've made up their own minds.
Obama is absolutely correct to capitalize on his winning momentum and A GENIUS to start taking his arguments directly to McCain, where he should finally show off the substantive policy chops the voters want and need to see.
But the primary races still to come will be hard. They could easily shift the balance back to Clinton, especially if she is able to cast Obama, perversely, as the establishment candidate, the pre-coronated king.
If Obama is to limit the inevitable sympathy vote that will accrue to her in the states to come, he needs to resist wearing a crown. He needs to remind Americans that his candidacy, if only by virtue of its inclusiveness, is ALWAYS at a disadvantage next to the harsh political gaming of Rove and his proteges.
The real triumph will come when he wins in spite of it.
OK, that is all I am going to say about all this. Since I have become NOTHING BUT A SHILL, I'll encourage you now to donate.
BUT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, I THINK YOU WILL AGREE: it is time for Obama to start wearing some kind of actual cloak or cape on the campaign trail.
BECAUSE I THINK THAT WOULD LOOK AMAZING.
(Maybe Ape-Lad can envision it for us some day.)
That is all.