Before I start let me both apologize for and elicit applause for the abominable headline. Hey, I'm a blogger - you've seen worse. If I don't sicken and offend you at least once in a while, I might as well be writing for CNN.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Barack Obama is in a fascinating position right now, because it seems that everything is conspiring to get him elected President of the United States. Let's look at historical trending first. With the president's approval rating at constant lows, with the economy doing not so well, the usual drumbeat for "change" is louder than it's been in a long time. Visually, Barack Obama represents change more than the other candidates. (You know what I mean. Don't pretend you don't.) Plus, he neither is promising to extend an unpopular war for the next hundred years, nor is he the wife of someone who held the office for the sleaziest eight years in recent memory.
Next, his opponents. There has been an historical blunder committed by the usually skilled Republicans, and it is gonna cost 'em. For a long time now, they have assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to be the Democratic nominee. I mean a long time, like a couple of months after they pretended George Bush was elected. *rimshot* So for seven years now, they've been demonizing Hillary Clinton. She swindled her Whitewater investors, she killed Vince Foster, she's the antichrist, she has an annoying laugh. They can produce volumes of rumors at the drop of a hat proving that Hillary Clinton flew the planes that hit the World Trade Center towers. Really. Ask a Republican some time.
It's a well-oiled machine, it's been running like a juggernaut for a long time, and it's worked! Unhappily, too soon. It's supposed to be kicking into high gear now that Hillary is the presumptive Democratic nominee, but she isn't. They made her such a monster that America turned to the good-lookin' tabula rasa instead. Hillary! as she's known among the wingnuts for reasons I've never had fully explained, is taking on water fast.
So now, the Republicans are scrambling to find ways to demonize Obama, and they just don't have the research. They've tried insinuating that he's Saddam Hussein, they've tried claiming that people who vote for him are hypnotized (oh, that's an effective way to swing voters - tell them they're stupid) and lately they're demonizing his pastor, because everyone knows you blindly believe everything your pastor tells you. Not everyone does; just the black folk. Uh oh.
The race thing is a real minefield for Republicans, who have to avoid the one easy arrow in the quiver: If you elect Obama, he'll give the country to the darkies! So they're stumbling. And because their attacks have been so week, Obama looks even better than Hillary by comparison.
Meanwhile, Hillary has been spoiling for a fight for eight years herself. She's armed herself to the rhetorical teeth. The only way she knows how to campaign is to fight dirty, which would have been great if she were against McCain, but she's using it against our own guy. Instead, as a result, she looks strident and overambitious and prepared to bring down the party to feed her lust for power. Thus Obama is the only un-scary candidate, and after a constant desert of orange alerts and shoe-bombers, the country badly wants to feel un-scared right now. Obama is our national oasis.
A change in strategy from either Clinton or the entire right-wing machine could put Obama in a worse position, but I don't think anyone is capable of correcting their course at this stage. Obama has been criticized for being vague and for saying little. Can you blame him? Every time someone else opens their mouth, he looks better and better. He is the jujitsu candidate, using the force of his opponent's blows to topple them.
at 10:21 PM