Even if we can't be sure that the Obama campaign is sinking, there is little question that it is listing badly. The European tour turned out to be a minor debacle for the senator instead of the definitive coronation as a global leader of great significance it was supposed to be, while the untimely fireworks in Georgia have served to remind even the most starry-eyed political romantic that no amount of rhetorical HopeChange is likely to impress the coldly calculating geopolitical strategists in Moscow, Beijing and Brussels.
Above all, Obama himself has proved to be possessed of a weak and unlikable public persona. His cool is the stylized cool of the poser; it is the diffident posturing that impresses teenage girls, journalists and no one else. He has a skin problem that does not lie in its color, but rather in its lack of thickness; not since Bob Dole has there been a candidate who has been more sensitive or more inclined to view legitimate and substantive criticism as unfair personal attacks. And the Saddleback forum unmasked him as a superficial thinker who tends to be caught up in the trivialities.
While the selection of Sen. Joe Biden as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate is far from the worst choice Obama could have possibly made – that would have been Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick – both the selection of Biden and the way in which it was announced demonstrate the increasingly inept strategic management of the Obama campaign. The middle-of-the-night text message was risible enough, even more so is the idea that Sen. Biden's big and undisciplined mouth is somehow going to improve the public's view of a candidate already given to hot air, factual errors and ludicrous exaggerations.
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One can't blame Hillary Clinton for being tempted to derail the Democratic convention this week. It has to be difficult for her to watch Obama's ongoing implosion, knowing that it was only her own campaign's stunning incompetence and failure to understand the way in which the primary votes were being counted that cost her what was supposed to be an inevitable nomination. And it seems the groundwork for an insurrection has been laid, with Clinton's name being placed in nomination, the arrangement for a role call of the state delegations, her scheduled speech on the 88th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, and a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania calling into question Sen. Obama's constitutional right to run for and hold the office of president.
However, it must be remembered that direct confrontation is not the preferred tactic of Team Clinton. Its successes have mostly come through playing off the weaknesses of others, utilizing an approach of divide-and-conquer, and positioning itself in such a way as to realize maximum benefit from its rivals' mistakes. Therefore, the steps that Hillary has taken are probably not intended to launch a direct challenge to Obama, but rather to position herself as the obvious and only possible replacement for Obama when his campaign collapses or when he is defeated by John McCain in November.
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As John Edwards has demonstrated, national politicians are so narcissistic that it is not at all unthinkable that one would pursue the presidency despite possessing a secret that would immediately torpedo his campaign should it come out prior to the election. But if it turns out that the rumors are correct and that Obama is not eligible for the presidency due to his having been born in Kenya or a territorial Hawaii, it would not serve Hillary's interest to be the one held responsible for blowing Obama out of the water. And the Republican Party's unexpected decision to nominate an elderly John McCain makes 2012 look like a much more reasonable option for the Lizard Queen, for if the political winds are blowing strongly in the Democrats favor now, they will be approaching hurricane force after four years of a maverick McCain administration and all the chaos that would entail.
While my political crystal ball has proven to be somewhat problematic, I still think that Hillary Clinton is more likely to be sworn in as president than Barack Obama, whether that swearing-in takes place in 2009 or 2013. But given the factors that have recently entered into the equation, I see no pressing need for Hillary and her legion of blackskirts to rise in open revolt tomorrow night. The Lizard Queen will likely continue to lurk in the shadows, waiting for an easier opportunity to present itself.