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Obamythology (March 3, 2008)

The mainstream media's version of conventional wisdom, as embodied in a news report by Peter Canellos in the Boston Globe yesterday, portrays the Obamenon as a wave sweeping the nation, an unstoppable juggernaut of hope and change. The headline and subhead of Canellos report (which I found linked in RealClearPolitics.com):

Obama rides wave into Texas

Clinton viewed as underdog in state

But if you look at the evidence, the reality is quite different (if you read deep into Canellos' report, you can find the evidence of strong support for Hillary among Latinos in Texas based anecdotally on loyalty to her husband's administration). Obama has a good chance to win Texas, but Hillary has a better chance to beat him in Texas then he has to beat her in Ohio, based on the most recent polls.

If you follow the graphs of poll averages on RealClearPolitics.com, Obama's wave in Texas crested about February 26, and has begun to recede. Clinton has not recovered from the slide she suffered as he rose, but she has slowed it down, and possibly in time to remain competitive. The net effect in Texas is to make it a dead heat with more undecided voters than were being detected a couple of weeks ago.

In Ohio (although not a subject of Canellos' report), Obama hit a virtual plateau about February 22, and Hillary slid a bit and may have rebounded in time to hold her lead, but it is slimmer by far than it was two weeks ago.

I am beginning to believe that the Barackstar is much like the object of the pun, a rock star who brings out huge crowds among those who idolize him, but doesn't make much of an impact on folks who take life more seriously. Perhaps there are more people than the breathless reporting has counted, who see through the veneer of "hope" and "change" which clothes a very conventional liberal agenda (which deserves its own more thorough analysis, as soon as I can find the time and energy).

In short, Obama may bring out some voters who would otherwise never have voted, and that can give him a boost in the polls and in the voting. But it can't convince knowledgeable, seasoned voters that he knows what he is doing, when there is mounting evidence that he does not. He may ride the "wave" just long enough to defeat Hillary, but I am beginning to feel that he will not be able to sustain it much beyond that, spend as he will, since I don't think he'll be able to sell his agenda even within his own party (another upcoming piece I have in mind to write).

Barackstar, yes. Obamident?

I don't think so.

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