Roger’s Rules

Obama: inevitable until it didn't happen

Blogging isn’t prophecy. It isn’t even a decent English word. Still, the triumphant (or, if you belong to the other team, as I do, the anguished) certainty of the prognostications that Obama has the election sewn up in suede on a silver platter makes me wish it were. Prophecy, I mean. How often in the last couple of weeks have you read something like this:

One week into the general election, the polls show a dead heat. But many presidential scholars doubt that John McCain stands much of a chance, if any.

Well, isn’t that just too bad for “many presidential scholars”? You know those little advertisements that come with mutual funds and other financial instruments: “Past results are no guarantee of future performance,” etc.? Why should Citibank have to waste ink printing that everywhere in sight when “experts” indulge in that very same legerdemain 5 times daily before breakfast?

Now, I am perfectly prepared to admit that Barack Obama might win. Bad things do happen to good countries. But the euphoric (or, as I say, melancholy) certitude that seems to have gripped both sides of the political spectrum seems to me little more than a sudden upsurge of insanity. Sometimes when you are listening to the radio while driving down the road (though not, of course, in one of those gas-guzzling SUVs Obama told us we shouldn’t be driving) all of a sudden you’ll drive through a bad spot and the sound from the radio will get A LOT LOUDER as the tuner oscillates madly between two or more stations.

That, I believe, is an appropriate image for what is going on in the reporting about Obama. Keep track. Come early November (and maybe earlier), I predict you’ll be hearing a very different song. And then, if I am right, there will be the endless post-mortems: lots and lots of handwringing to explain why the inevitable didn’t happen (I can reveal now that the chief cause will be the inveterate “racism” of all those millions who didn’t vote for Obama).