At dinner with the historian tonight he mentioned that Obama had come out and condemned Rev Wright. I frowned, then asked if he happened to know who the Libertarians were running since I’d just that moment cut off my current candidate. In fact, as I drove back to my hotel I was composing the “I’m ditching Obama” entry in my head. It was going to be longer and more thoughtful than the “I’m ditching Ron Paul” entry from ages ago, and I was going to find a dove or something similar as the icon for the entry.
You see, I knew Wright had been running the media circuit but after a moment over the weekend when I caught myself seriously contemplating the merits of rather extreme contributions to the nomination process I decided to take a step back from election coverage. The historian’s news sounded like Obama selling out Wright for political gain which I’m not for an instant willing to tolerate from him, given the reasons I’m on his wagon. So first thing when I get back to my hotel I start looking it up. The first article made me feel better and now I’m watching the press conference and so, so very goddamn happy that I had it completely wrong. Wright went off the deep end and Obama’s publicly admitting a mistake.
The thing that’s getting me about this press conference is how poor Obama’s performance is. His sentences are littered with uhms, he’s stuttering, and he seems so very depressed. No audacity, no buoyant wave of can do optimist, just a slump of pain that he almost breaks through once or twice in order to express annoyance. The statement wasn’t flashy at all. It went in circles and got repetitive. After the three minute mark on the video he wasn’t looking at his page anymore, I think he just kept talking because he didn’t feel like he’d said enough. He can do better, we know he can. He could have eviscerated Wright if he wanted to. We’d find little pieces of an angry retired pastor scattered across Indiana, chewed up, spit out and trampled by a rhetorical onslaught powerful enough to get eighteen year olds interested in politics. Instead, Obama just looked uncomfortable.
The questions he’s getting from reporters are good ones. “Why has your tone changed since yesterday?” is, I think, the second question. No mincing of words, no covering his ass, just an admission of his previous ignorance which, upon correction, motivated him to publicly say something about the whole mess, again, when he knows it’ll keep it in the press and he really needs it to go away. I respect that. His later line about Wright’s statements being disrespectful to Obama personally comes off as whining where they quote it in the articles, and I hate whiners, but it’s okay in context. In context you see that he is taking it very personally. My rainbows and kittens candidate just found out that Santa Clause puts the elves in a sweatshop, and I feel very badly for him.
Another thought, leading up to the 23 minute mark on the video, I really do adore his perception of how the oppressed need to deal with social issues. His idea of how to do it is exactly mine, and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that about any presidential candidate on any topic. Nearly mine, unoffensive to mine, but never “See that, that right there! That’s all me baby!”
So no, I am not jumping off the bandwagon, I’m rather cozy and happy to be here. But I’m worried. I just watched almost a half an hour of Obama looking hurt and wounded. He showed weakness. Presidential candidates are not allowed to show weakness – unless they’re Hillary Clinton and really need to win the next primary. My respect for him just increased, and my gut instinct to bail has already been triggered once so it’ll be slower next time, but my marginally fanatical faith (not that I’m more comfortable with faith, but the alternative was contemplating rather frighteningly awful scenarios) in his ability to win has been completely shattered. Back in the day before he started winning things and I didn’t think he stood a chance I didn’t know what it was like to support somebody who might actually win. I’m suddenly very terrified that I’m about to learn what all the John Kerry supporters had to go through last time around.
Dear DNC, and American People,
Please let my guy win, pretty pretty please. I’ll bake you a cheesecake and refrain from organizing a violent overthrow of society for at least four years* if you do.** My cheescake causes foodgasms and I have “rapid development of proportionally massive politcal underground organization” on my resume.
That’s just, you know, my carrot and stick all at once.
* Offer conditional upon on me still liking him come November
** Protection against violent overthrow of the government not included