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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is Hillary gone?

There was a brilliant tactical move tonight on the part of Obama's campaign, wherein they scheduled him to start speaking before Hillary Clinton had finished, thus prompting the networks to cut her off mid-speech and move to him. His speech was long. I attempted to work my finely-honed skills of objectivity and distance tonight when I watched him. I've been slightly susceptible to the allegations of empty rhetoric and charges of cult of personality. Maybe it's a genetic thing, this free-floating anxiety about mass-thought and charismatic leaders. From what I can tell, more bad than good has come from large swaths of society falling in line behind charismatic leaders, and I generally like to reserve my group-experiences of revelation to concerts where the worst thing that can happen is your ears will ring the next day (or I guess you could get trampled).
But, you know, I don't foresee Obama urging his throngs of followers to wipe out a sector of society anytime soon and he really does have a magical quality that I'm loathe to dismiss. My friend Audrey has a great piece in the Portland Trib about taking her son to see Obama and two of my friends have donated actual money to him, marking the first time they've ever donated money to a political candidate. (I'm from the old school journalism school where journalists never donate money to political candidates; but even if I wasn't, I have trouble believing I would ever do such a thing. I prefer to just give my money to the people who hang out outside of Allsups).
It's going to be an interesting year.