Politico just published an article about the election being all about Obama. This is reflective of a larger sentiment that has been talked about in recent weeks, the fact that Obama is dominating the headlines and no one really cares about McCain–for most people, the choice is “Obama or not Obama.” This would seem to bode well for the Obama campaign, which has not ceased to be in the media spotlight since he won the Iowa caucus in January. After all, any publicity is good publicity, right?
But methinks there is an undercurrent in America that is threatening to take down the great Obama machine. We know, of course, of the threatening rumors regarding Obama’s patriotism, his religion, his “eliteness” and his politics–these rumors alone, however, are likely to affect people who are already voting against Obama.
We know, too, of the rise of Obama satire. The reluctance of Jon Stewart and other comedians to ridicule the candidate has all but vanished. Regularly, Stewart refers to Obama as “the Great One” and Gerard Baker’s article on Obama’s overseas trip was brilliant. I quote:
In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.
As word spread throughout the land about the Child’s wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.
And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child’s journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.
Quite charming, to be sure. A passage from the Book of Obama might very well one day grace the White House mantle.
But does all the media attention around Obama really help him, or does it just provide McCain with an opportunity to play the relentless underdog, and his supporters to try that much harder to get him elected? Or, what is more likely, does the Obama halo make people who support him question their own devotion? In the constant mockery of Obama’s arrogance and presumption, does not a line of truth shine through? Is it possible, maybe, the some people might resent it?
Think about the swaths of Hillary supporters, many of whom have not yet made up their mind whether to support the democratic candidate. Isn’t it possible that they might feel a little sting? After all, by acting like the Chosen One, Obama seems to be brushing aside their chosen one, which might not be such a good idea. Obama should be carrying the democratic banner, not carrying the “Vero Possumus” banner.
But, most importantly, it is McCain who gains from Obamamania. People who have not yet made up their minds see the Obama juggernaut and think, “He has plenty of support, he doesn’t need mine. I don’t need to vote,” or, “How pompous he is! I’m going to show him that he can’t win the election until he’s won it!” Obama’s “Chosen One” attitude is sure to fire up some “I’ll show you” sentiment in the electorate.
Plus, wasn’t it the same attitude that lost Obama the New Hampshire primary? Remember when he acted like he had the nomination before he had it? He was ten points ahead in the New Hampshire polls, and then bam. Hillary supporters (and some Obama supporters) had had enough. He was so sure to win, Obama supporters stayed home. He was so cocky to win, Hillary supporters came out to the polls.
The underdog always gains when the top dog is coasting. Obama’s poll numbers have remained the same, but McCain’s have been growing steadily. Instead of doubling his support from Hillary’s drop out, his support has stagnated. Meanwhile, McCain has shrunk Obama’s lead within 4 percentage points–and, if you choose to follow predictions based on the Bradley Effect–that means he’s actually ahead.
Now, we know that a national lead doesn’t amount to anything in the electoral college. Obama has managed to hold on to the states that matter, including Pennsylvania, California, Ohio (he’s 7 points up there) and Virginia remains a battleground. Add Colorado and it’s looking difficult for him to lose.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t. And if the Clinton campaign is any lesson, let us remember that inevitability in this election has meant jack squat.