Did Toot win it for Obama?

You can file this under “Things that Democrats in America wouldn’t dream of saying out loud.”  Did Obama’s visit to his close-to-death grandmother seal his victory in the upcoming election?  Think of what it says:

  • Firstly, there is an immediate comparison to when John McCain suspended his own campaign.  That was ostensibly to find a solution to the financial crisis, but as it happens, the details of the bailout were agreed on before he ever got to Washington, the American public didn’t like it and McCain got tarred with that frustration.  Even worse, the McCain suspension looked like precisely what it was – a cheap stunt.  In comparison, Obama’s campaign suspension could not possibly be more authentic.  He is going to tend to his sick grandmother.
  • Secondly, it humanises Obama by giving people a genuine insight into the man’s personal life.  Even more, it is something that everybody in the country – Democrat or Republican – can relate to.
  • Thirdly, it emphasises the age difference between Obama and McCain.  Grandparents can get sick and (sadly) die.  John McCain is of grandparent age, while Obama is a vibrant, healthy adult.  No matter how fit McCain is, that hurts him.
  • Fourthly, it either forces the McCain campaign to stop the all-negative ads for a couple of days or, more likely, makes them look low and nasty for keeping them going.  Since all politics is relative, that raises Obama up, which brings us to …
  • Finally, it paints Obama in the colours of what the American electorate loves best: personal strength in the face of adversity.  Fortitude in the face of grief.  It is what people admire in their war-time presidents, grimly bearing witness to the coffins of the “glorious dead” and providing a symbol of a man unbowed by the ugly aspects of human existence.

Yes, okay, it’s probably fair to say that Obama was coasting to victory long before his campaign announced his intention to go to Hawaii.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that it will have helped.  Were it a close race, this may have decided it.  As it stands, it guarantees that McCain can’t claw back any of Obama’s lead during those two days, making the Republican turn-around that much less likely.

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