As I’ve said many times, Barack Obama is an extremely able man and a formidable opponent. Still, it can’t be denied that in part, the Obama phenomenon of the past several months has been a fad. And that has to worry Democratic strategists.
There is buzz this morning about whether crossover Republicans, incited by Rush Limbaugh and others, made a difference in Texas. Maybe so, but I suspect a much bigger factor was that Obama’s balloon was punctured a bit in the last days of the campaign. What was most striking to me, in this regard, was when Saturday Night Live virtually endorsed Hillary last weekend, in a very funny sketch that parodied reporters fawning over Obama, followed by a live appearance, also quite funny, by Hillary herself. Obama has enjoyed tactical advantages by limiting his speeches mainly to generalities and cliches, and certainly he has benefited from a friendly press corps. But the problem with this approach is that it may not take much to turn the candidate into a figure of fun.
Once Obama starts being treated as a normal politician, as happened for the first time with the press corps just a few days ago, it’s hard to say what will become of the Obama craze. At some point, will young women start to feel silly about fainting at Obama rallies? One would hope so. If I were a Democratic superdelegate, I would be glad of the opportunity to sit back for a few weeks and see how Obama reacts to adversity, and how much air has been let out of his balloon.
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