I never thought I'd have to retract a statement or prediction so fast as the one I made only two weeks ago, the one where I pretty much called Barack Obama's presidential bid dead in the water after the anti-American and racist remarks made by his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, hit the news wires, followed by Obama's denial, followed by Obama's reluctant acknowledgement.
Specifically, I called the events "irrecoverable" with the implied suggestion that we might as well accept Hillary Clinton as the defacto Democratic nominee right now. Mike Smith, in his column, Mike's Rant, said pretty much the same thing. Looks like we both may've been a bit premature, to say the least. Obama's lead is even more impressive now than when his Reverend took the national pulpit by storm. (As of this writing, the upcoming Pennsylvania primary is expected to go to Clinton. While still no slam-dunk for party nomination quite yet, it still keeps her firmly in the running. The whole business about Super Delegates and the Florida/Michigan angle, we'll save for some other time.)
In brief, Obama went into the presidential race with a skin-color-is-not-important approach and in the intervening months proved the complete opposite was unavoidable. While I'll acknowledge this seems similar to the statement that got Geraldine Ferraro bumped off the Clinton campaign a few weeks ago ("Obama would've never have gotten this far if he weren't black"), my view parts ways on how "definite" the race card is. The press couldn't leave it alone, his family and minister have inadvertantly worked against the cause, and now his race is inextricably tied to his campaign. Although in hindsight this seems obvious, I can't help but ponder the irony. It's likely through controversy he gained supporters and sympathizers he might not've had, sure, but I'm still flummoxed at how easily he escaped the Wright episode. And to think Clinton used to be the one who sewed up "the black vote". Ironies compound.
So I ask why. Despite everything, Obama has yet to be specific on a single issue. His message of "change" is fluffy rhetoric designed to inspire constituents (it certainly has done that) but not to answer any questions (he tends to shun invasive reporters). His scary name is blown off except by self-indulgent radio talk show hosts. So what's left? He's got CHARISMA?? OOooohhhh. And he gives great speeches.
Final thought. Lest anyone think I'm making a case that if Obama cinches the Democratic nomination, that he's as good as elected President....nope. We're way too far out yet to make such a call. I am not a big fan of any of the big finalists, by the way. Everyone I've spoken to seems to think that the Democrats' embattled situation paves the way for Republican John McCain to take the White House, if for no other reason than he seems impervious to scandal!
We are facing very serious issues as a country right now. The Iraq War rages on, while neighboring Iran gets dangerously close to nuclear capability. The American economy is in a horrible recession. Illegal immigration is just barely being dealt with. Gas prices continue to climb. Etc., etc., etc.
RON PAUL IN 2008. Any other choice is a wasted vote. Yeah, I know, I digressed right at the end there. But he's still in the race, you know.
MATT'S RAIL UPDATE
The Crazed Fanboy Content Management System has finally added Matt's Rail to the list of columns whose writers are able to upload their work at any time. This week's Rail will be the first one posted using this system.
The CFCMS was a web-interface template designed and written by yours truly over the summer of '07 and implemented into PCR last Fall. So far, the experiment has been a complete success, I'm very happy to say.