Emmett Tyrrell

WASHINGTON -- As I noted several weeks back, some very bizarre happenings began to haunt the Obama campaign in April. The candidate -- taking his breakfast in a Scranton, Pa., eatery -- was asked by a reporter for his reaction to a meeting former President Jimmy Carter had just concluded with a thug from Hamas. Clearly annoyed, Sen. Barack Obama refused to answer the question. In a word, he waffled. Worse, he actually was eating a waffle -- a Belgian waffle. It was not even an American waffle. That is not the only bizarre element in this story. Despite all his vaunted political acumen, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination actually blurted out to the nonplussed reporter: "Why can't I just eat my waffle? Just let me eat my waffle."

I also cited another bizarre story reported at about the same time. In San Francisco, which should be safe territory for Obama, one of his supporters released the candidate's confidential remarks made to a closed meeting of donors. The remarks were posted on a friendly Web site for all to admire. Of a sudden, they created a nationwide furor that has troubled his campaign ever since. It was in those remarks that Obama confided his conviction that religion is the opiate of the gun nuts, who, he claimed, have been unemployed and living in jerkwater for "25 years." At the time, other odd phenomena were cropping up around the theretofore suave and invincible junior senator from Illinois. Some went unreported. Others merely were dismissed as gaffes.

I perceived a more serious problem mounting for the candidate. There was a fundamental weirdness in these episodes that reminded me of a condition President Jimmy Carter found himself in not long into his presidency. He was suffering some sort of diabolical infestation. Supernatural pranksters had made their way from heaven or hell to trip him up. What was happening to Jimmy when he claimed to be attacked by a huge amphibious bunny or during numerous jogging mishaps was not normal. Now the paranormal has settled upon the Obama campaign.

Along with the bad luck of eating a waffle while waffling and of having his elitist prejudices exposed to public scrutiny, there is an accumulating junk pile of gaffes that seem to be beyond Obama's control. On Memorial Day, he declaimed in one of those august orations of his that suggest an aide is burning incense offstage: "I had an uncle who was one of the, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps." Truth be told, the Russian army, not the U.S. Army, liberated Auschwitz; and Obama has had no such uncle. It was a gaffe. The glib and affable candidate is becoming gaffable.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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