The Democratic primary contest has degenerated from a perceived battle between the party's highest ranked superheavyweights to a fight for survival between two badly damaged club fighters.
In its early phases the campaign featured only "Hillary, the Entitled." Her inevitability had been decreed by party powers still operating under the deluded assumption that the Clinton years inspired mostly positive images, especially those of economic prosperity.
Sure, there was Bill's baggage, but the country had rejected the Republicans' attitude toward it when it punished them in the 1998 congressional elections, right? The mainstream media instantly dubbed it a "referendum on impeachment," though an equally reasonable interpretation was that the GOP losses were in line with historical midterm election trends.
But there is no denying that Bill Clinton is the only Democrat to have held the presidency since Jimmy Carter -- that's 28 years. He is the only guy that consistently stuck it to the Republicans with success, despite being politically crippled. There had to be magic with this guy -- with the Clintons.
The Clintons had become the only symbol of victory for Democrats. Even Al Gore couldn't make it to the White House when he'd won -- according to Democratic propaganda -- the 2000 election. Nor could John Kerry dispose of this Dubyah "dunce" in 2004, even with the aid of equally entrenched Democratic myths that Bush lied about Iraqi WMD, had made himself king and had destroyed our civil liberties.
Notwithstanding the hard left's unrelenting angst over Hillary's unforgivable support of the Iraq War Resolution, Democrats had no one else to believe in but the Clintons. So Hillary became the presumptive nominee -- and was well on her way to the actual nomination until reality began to eclipse wishful thinking and rationalized perceptions.
Reality hit when Hillary exposed herself as an arrogant, duplicitous fraud by brazenly tying herself in knots in a presidential debate over the illegal immigrants driver's license issue. To his credit, Barack Obama seized the moment, which began a period when Obama dramatically transformed himself from a young neophyte to an agile, formidable competitor, mature way beyond his years.
Almost overnight the Clinton magic went up in smoke and was replaced by what seemed a much more powerful force: the wizardry of Barack. The MSM couldn't have been happier to discover a new object for their affection, a new vehicle for their aspirations. Hillary, after all, was never really magical -- as her persistent negatives and unlikability demonstrated.
But this Obama guy -- he could be the real deal -- and besides, he is a bona fide liberal, not just another opportunistic, power-hungry pol. Or so they thought, until the other shoe dropped.
The Rev. Wright shoe didn't just drop, it kicked Obama in the gut. Granted, the MSM is already starting to say the Wright story has no legs because Hillary hasn't appeared to surge much since it surfaced. But gauging the damage to Obama based only on whether Hillary has gained ground is misleading. We won't know the extent of the injury until the general election occurs.
Also, we're experiencing a very fluid political climate. While Pastor Wright was kicking Obama, Hillary was shooting herself in the foot -- again, this time with gratuitous lies about Bosnian sniper fire.
But Wright or no Wright, sniper tale or no sniper tale, Obama's magic had to wear off eventually because Obama, like the rest of us, is human. Apart from Wright, he had simmering embers of vulnerability -- his unrealistic promises to unify and heal America -- waiting to be sparked into full-blown electoral disabilities.
No one as politically extreme and with such a pathetic record of matching his bipartisan rhetoric with bipartisan action can credibly make the case that he's a healer. The Wright revelations just accelerated the public's awareness that Obama is not who he says he is.
Not only that, but the whole idea that America's greatest need is an end to bipartisan competition and a cease-fire in the healthy, robust war of ideas is on par with the fantasy that a human messiah is waiting in the wings to solve all our problems. Most of these problems are policy and culture oriented and require policy and cultural solutions, not hocus-pocus.
So what at one point was a contest between two larger-than-life figures has reduced itself to a competition between two typically flawed mortals.
By the time the general election campaign is in full swing, we'll see efforts by the MSM and Democrats to resurrect the Obama magic -- and Obama will be quite anxious to don his magic wand again.
John McCain had better wake up from his own illusions that he can fight this election with kid gloves and no money, otherwise Obama, via political prestidigitation, will beam himself right into the White House.
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