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.
I do not anticipate that Obama's diabolical infestation will receive the extensive media coverage that was accorded to Carter, Ford and Nixon. The journalists esteem him. They believe he is different from the common politician they encounter. He says he is, and they believe it. He is for "change," for "community," for all Americans to "come together." That does not sound very different from anyone else who has sought the Democratic presidential nomination, but the mainstream journalists forget things. They also ignore indelicacies, for instance, the Obama supporters now under indictment, at least one of whom has some disturbing Middle Eastern financial sources. The journalists also have paid little attention to the fact that in 2005, the newly elected senator from Illinois bought a $1.65 million dollar house for $300,000 less than the asking price.
Actually, I dissent from my journalistic colleagues' belief that Obama is different. He has been a political hustler all his life, much as the Clintons have and many other Democratic miracle workers, too. When he graduated from Columbia University, he came to Chicago and at 23 became a community organizer in a poor Chicago neighborhood, whose residents viewed him as a slick outsider, which he was. Here, again, we see him as not unlike the left-wing Clintons of the late 1960s or Jean-Francois Kerry or Al Gore. Soon Obama returned east for a Harvard Law School degree, after which he immediately entered Chicago politics. He has been in politics all his adult life. How does that make him different from other top Democrats?
Well, allow me to return to that Scranton waffle. Certainly the Clintons, and probably most of the other erstwhile Democratic presidential contenders, would have the good sense not to mention it while waffling before the press. But then none of these contemporary Democrats has Obama's problem with the paranormal. Perhaps this is a matter for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's professional services.