11 June 2008

Thinking Out Loud

Barack Obama finally has an enemy he can fight to the death.

He has had to handle Hillary Clinton and her husband with kid gloves ever since South Carolina, when they brought race to the forefront of his campaign. He has had to ignore the ghosts of Bill Clinton’s past. He has had to remember Hillary was a woman.

But now that John McCain is the target, campaigning for Obama should be lot easier - if they will ever get this thing started. Right now is like the two week hiatus leading up to the Super Bowl, when each league's champions, who have been playing their hearts out week after week, suddenly get too much time off.

When are they going to get on with it?

My best buddy and I talked on the phone Monday night about the state of the American political theater in the aftermath of Barack Obama clinching the Democratic presidential nomination. Now that we were a couple of days beyond Hillary Clinton’s last gasp since she suspended her campaign on Saturday, we could focus on the championship bout ahead between Obama and John Mccain.

The conversation rambled back and forth between Obama’s strengths and McCain’s weaknesses for awhile before the war in Iraq and the price of oil took over.

“Man,” my buddy said, “I don’t know – doesn’t look like gas is going to come back down anytime soon, does it?”

“Didn’t you tell me your retired uncle went back to work in the Pacific Rim for his old oil company?”

“Yeah – he said the money was too good.”

“Dude, the oil industry’s got incentive to drill new wells now that the price is up. I mean, think about it – the price of gas has been about the same for almost twenty years. It had to go up sometime.”

“You’ve always been an idealist!” my buddy exclaimed. “I’m telling you, man, the price is too damn high! It’s got everything going up. Food, building supplies, plane tickets – man, this thing is ruining the economy. You add this war on top of it, nuclear weapons in the Middle East, global warming – you know, I’m not sure if Obama really needs to be getting into office right now.”

As soon as that last sentence left his mouth, my mind went into overdrive. “Well, he couldn’t have picked a better time to run. McCain is the weakest candidate the Republicans have had in years.”

“You think McCain is weak?”

“Well, not – come on, we all know he’s a tough guy, but right now it’s about party politics, and McCain…McCain, he’s not the one the party wanted. Which is why he’s having trouble raising any money.”

“I guess they figure he’s probably not going to win, so why throw good money after bad? They are Republicans.”

“Makes sense.”

My buddy was rolling now, his conspiratorial bent beginning to show. “Bush and Cheney are probably packing their shit, packing and laughing all the way back to Texas.”

“Cheney’s from Wyoming.”

“Wherever the hell he’s from, they’re probably high fiving each other. No, hold up – they’re fist bumping each other! They’re probably saying ‘we’re getting out of here just in time!”

The old saying “birds of a feather flock together” is true – I am in some ways more of a conspiracy theorist than my buddy is. “Dude!” I yell. “THIS is the okie doke! They set Obama up! They put up the weakest guy they can with a straight face, then don’t give him any money.

How could McCain win with no money?

Then everything goes to hell in a hand basket – no jobs, gas $10 a gallon, Iraq is a mess, illegal immigrants coming out of the woodwork, everybody mad at Obama – then the Republicans come back with their REAL candidate in 2012 like the knight in shining armor!”

There was a few seconds of silence on the line. “Man, I think this campaign stuff has gone to your head,” my buddy said. “You need to get out more.”

“Come on, I’m just thinking out loud.”

If I was true conspiracy theorist, paranoid, fearful, suspicious of everything and everyone, I’d have to do some research on this. Although this lull in the drama that has held the nation’s attention for the past five months is a much needed break, it will be times like these when Obama’s campaign is most vulnerable to the idle minds in the public as well as the press who have overrun the devil's workshop.

Are there really two whole months to go until the party conventions?

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