When I was a high school sophomore, I briefly (and under great duress) played for the Hanover Park junior varsity basketball team. It's the sort of thing you get sucked into when you are cursed with the genetics of tallness, and when you have an avid sports enthusiast for a dad. (I was horrible at the game -- I don't think I even lasted the season.)
Coach Wear (yes, that really was his name) used to get furious at our team because we had a propensity for generating very, uh, exciting contests -- "exciting" in the sense that the scores were always very close. "You've sure given the audience their money's worth," he would routinely grumble, whether we won or lost.
I'm getting to the point with this primary season where I understand that complaint probably better than ever. I'm fully addicted to the news, but I just want the damned thing to be over. Decisively.
I must admit that part of my support of Obama has to do with my daughter (who is half black), and my sense of responsibility for the world she is growing up in (corny, eh?). I know full well the pitfalls of investing in a candidate because of things like race or gender -- but somehow it feels much more significant to me that Thandie could actually enter grammar school during an Obama administration. (Thanks to DJA, I know I'm not the only one.)
It's very rare indeed that the kid ever watches commercial television, but yesterday I made a point of having the primaries on while we were working on a new floor puzzle. Just because something historic is happening.
It's bunk, I know.
But I have really been expecting the Bag to say something about what I'd call the "Clinton grimace" -- this wide-eyed, jokeresque expression that seems to accompany each of her wins:
[EDIT: here's another, better example:]
I don't know what it means, really, I just noticed it. Perhaps it's not unlike the Dean scream. Or perhaps it's an unconvincing attempt at genuine joy (whoops, am I being presumptuous?). In either case, when the grimace bursts through, it makes the default Hillary appear that much more manufactured, that much more of a professional "mask."
In contrast, Obama seems more consistently integrated, more sure of himself, and, well, less of a liar:
It's remarkable to me that Obama tends to maintain this serious (but approachable) demeanor even in the throes of a victory speech. He seems even-tempered and cool (in the best sense of the word). And I suspect this has something to do with a kind of humility (which I don't have to tell you is ultra-rare in politics).
The first time I wrote about Obama -- in response to his first stirrings toward a possible candidacy -- I remarked at his appearance on Sacha Cohen's Da Ali G Show, and the fact that, unlike most of the other successful, high-profile people Cohen tricked into an interview, Obama didn't for a moment seem to be put out or offended by Mr. G's inane questions about politics. Many of Cohen's other subjects, unable to even fathom that they were being pranked, would typically erupt in anger partway through a discussion, or else would get up and leave the interview entirely (which of course was part of the point). But Obama was a model of equanimity -- it was as if, despite Ali G's clearly questionable intelligence, Obama didn't need to build up his own self-esteem by belittling the ersatz interviewer, but instead genuinely wanted to help him understand whatever issue was under discussion.
Of course, I could be totally mis-remembering this (it was a while ago). Wish I could find the damned clip on YouTube.
As before, Publius has it about right:
Another significant aspect of tonight’s "draw" is that it undermines the “inexperience” argument against Obama, or part of it anyway. When people say Obama is inexperienced, they are referring either to (1) the pre-election; or (2) the post-election. With respect to the former, the fear is that he can’t hold up against the GOP machine (or that the risk is too high).
Fighting Clinton – with her universal name recognition – to a draw in a national primary directly refutes Critique #1. (Admittedly, it doesn’t really address #2, the post-election governing). In particular, people need to understand how he pulled tonight's stalemate off. The outcome wasn't the result of a single week of fawning media coverage. That helped, to be sure, but Obama has been meticulously building organizations in all of these states simultaneously for many months. He’s also brought in a ton of money to fund them – more than anyone (ever) at this point.
The bottom line is that if you can build this sort of organization with this much money this far in advance with such efficiency and foresight, then you can do the same thing in a national election. Super Tuesday is about as close to a trial November run as you can get, and Obama’s campaign has been extremely impressive on all fronts.
And then there's this piece of wisdom from Seth Godin:
ATM machines never screw up, voting machines do. A lot.
And here's MSNBC's wrapup, which I cite partly because of this question:
At some point, the question will have to be asked: When or how can he put her away?
Uh... "put her away"? It should be clear that I'm not pulling for Clinton in this campaign, but that phraseology sorta creeped me out.
Finally, here's a "movie" of Lawrence Lessig's argument for Obama (link c/o Jill).
Lessig is an intellectual hero of mine, but I must admit I can't stand his fondness for PowerPoint (or his PowerPoint style -- which is nothing like David Byrne's). Still, this piece is informative and sound.