WASHINGTON -- Anyone who has followed politics studiously over the years is aware that there are gifted politicians who, for whatever reason, eventually find their campaigns haunted. I do not mean haunted by accidental events or by a clod or two at campaign headquarters. I mean haunted . I mean visited by the weird, by supernatural pranksters, by what our Islamic friends call jinn.
Clearly, after months of suave upward mobility, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is now in this unfortunate condition. The bizarre is his companion. The paranormal is a constant possibility. Though the members of the press are too stuffy to mention it, recent setbacks to his campaign are not normal.
The gifted young senator appears in San Francisco amongst his fellow moral and intellectual colossi. For an instant, he lets down his guard. In this closed meeting, he blurts out what he really thinks, and somehow his remarks are taped. A "friendly" Web site posts his remarks, and all hell breaks loose. Of a sudden, every politically alert American knows that in San Francisco (of all places!), Obama explained that religion is the opiate of the gun nuts, who have been out of work and living angrily in jerkwater for "25 years."
How did that tape ever get out, and why would Obama's friends at that Web site not recognize its potential for ruin? Or consider a more recent and even more bizarre interlude. Obama is having breakfast in Scranton, Pa. A reporter asks for his reaction to former president Jimmy Carter's meeting with the thugs of Hamas, and Obama waffles. Perhaps, that is not so surprising, for he has waffled frequently along the campaign trail. But now comes the paranormal part. The wretch waffled while actually eating a waffle -- reportedly a Belgian waffle, not even an American waffle. Weirder still, Obama acknowledged his waffle, exclaiming to the reporter: "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" and "Just let me eat my waffle."
After the Pennsylvania primary, I suspect Obama's odd occurrences will multiply. There will be freakish moments, as there have been with other ill-starred leaders, reminiscent of Jimmy Carter being attacked by an amphibious rabbit in 1979 or Richard Nixon photographed while strolling along a sandy beach wearing wingtip shoes before impeachment was even contemplated. The media's focus of Obama's campaign will change from their recent absorption with his fabulously charismatic inanity to speculation on his next calamitous occasion. When might he next bump his head on a waffle or while exiting an airplane? Remember when President Gerald Ford captured headlines by bumping his head? For Ford, it was the best press he had gotten in months.
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