Friday, March 7, 2008

Obama's Football Problem

Is it just me, or is the Democratic primary contest starting to resemble a Peanuts comic strip? As I think about the election I find myself reminded of Charlie Brown's perpetually futile attempts to kick the football held tantalizingly within grasp by Lucy Van Pelt.

Barack Obama has the unenviable role of Charlie Brown in the process as he runs headlong at the football over and over again (New Hampshire, California, Texas) and has it snatched away at the last moment. While Obama tends to land a little more gracefully than Charlie Brown the fundamental disappointment remains. The football is always just out of reach.

The question then becomes, who is playing the Lucy role?

It's tempting to say Hillary. After all, she's the obvious opponent and the biggest impediment to winning. Her recent trend of going negative before the election also fits the image.

But what about the media? They set the football out there within tantalizing grasp in the first place. Media-driven polls show Obama has a chance, which in this metaphor is liking holding the football.

Is it some sort of Bradley effect? Do voters decide at the last minute that they can't vote for a black candidate after all, regardless of what they told pollsters? I find this less convincing
because it's not like voting for a women is that much more conventional of a choice.

Maybe it's that Obama just doesn't have the support in these big states. He comes in with a burst of thrilling oratory and gains support. But when faced with the actual voting lever, they decide he's too new.

To be honest, I don't know the answer and neither does anyone else, regardless of who opines to the contrary. Just keep that in mind if the football continues getting snatched away.

No comments: