Yesterday there was an article by Dan Balz of The Washington Post about Barack Obama's trip to New Hampshire. It describes less what's a nascent political campaign, and something more like the Beatles first American tour. I guess there's some good reason to be gratified if you support Obama, like I do. However, I also have my concerns about what's becoming a national mania...
If Howard Dean failed by peaking two months early in the 2004 primary election season, then what does this "Obamamania" portend? This kind of white hot political fervor simply can't last, and if history is a guide it probably won't come down gracefully.
Expectations have continued to build to such a point that if it's eventually discovered he once passed gas in the 8th grade people will drop him like a hot potato
How much of this phenomenon is simply a tabla rasa upon which people can write their own hopes and expectations? I've read both of his books and virtually every speech he's delivered. I know there's considerable substance there, but is that substance in danger of being lost to a huge persona that eclipses absolutely everything else? When will it become impossible for him to win people over by virtue of his positions when all that finally matters is his celebrity?
In the center of all this hysteria is it possible for Obama himself to keep his bearings and retain that down-to-earth candor that's one of his most appealing assets?
How much of this enthusiasm is actually built on Barack Obama, and how much of it has to do with the fact that he's not George W. Bush, and is about as opposite George W. Bush as a person can be and still have a "Y" chromosome? Can you really build a campaign on what you're not?
At this point what I'd like to see is the spot light shift for a while. Wouldn't it be nice if there were some good news out of Iraq, or good news about this administration from almost any quarter? That would shift attention away from Obama for a while and then allow that attention to return later at a more measured pace and without the almost irrational desperation that seems to characterize it today.
Anyway, that's what I'd like to see....
P.S. Speaking of Obama and full disclosure, the editorial cartoon is by my son Gregory Pence who's the cartoonist for (of all papers) The Manchester Union Leader.