From Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today (2/14/08)
We Shall Be Overcome
James Vicevich, a Connecticut radio talk show host, takes note of yet another creepy element of the Obama campaign. Consider these reports from Obama rallies:
- Montecito, Calif., Sept. 8, 2007. "A woman standing in front of the stage appeared to faint as Obama spoke about Iraq," the Associated Press reported. "The candidate paused and asked the crowd to make way for firefighters. One supporter shouted, 'You're a good man,' leaving Obama momentarily at a loss for words. 'Well, I'm not the only one stopping to help her,' he said, sounding almost embarrassed."
- Madison, Wis., Oct. 22, 2007. "This excitement mirrored the aura in the room that grew throughout his speech," reported WISN-TV. "Before the senator arrived, students were tossing around an inflatable cow above the crowd. Three people fainted in the midst of all the enthusiasm."
- Hanover, N.H., Jan. 8, 2008. "Barack Obama's first and only rally on election day came to a sudden and lengthy stop when a young woman in the Dartmouth College gym fainted, and was eventually rolled off on a gurney by emergency medical technicians," the Los Angeles Times reported. "At first Obama half-narrated the episode, saying soothing things like, 'She's OK,' 'She's talking.' But the longer she lay on the floor, the quieter Obama got, standing on the podium, arms folded, looking worried as the medical crew worked." Minneapolis's WCCO-TV has video showing Obama handing a bottle of water to the Dartmouth damsel in distress.
- Hartford, Conn., Feb. 4, 2008. "And when a woman appeared to faint in the standing-only VIP section in front of the podium, Obama paused his speech for over a minute as he directed the crowd to make way for an EMT team and tossed a bottle of water from the stage," reported the Yale Daily News.
- Seattle, Feb. 8, 2008. "Climate change, the Iraq war and Obama tossing a bottle of water to a woman about to faint all received big cheers," MSNBC.com reported. "As Obama told the crowd to part so that the woman in question could leave and called for help, a young girl in the crowd shouted out, 'What a man!' The audience roared with laughter (although the press that has seen this happen before rolled its eyes)."
What exactly are we to make of this? A cynic might wonder if the whole thing isn't staged, given how often it happens and how well-honed and self-serving Obama's standard response seems to be.
But if it's spontaneous, that's in a way even more unsettling. At the New Hampshire rally, Larry David of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fame quipped, "Sinatra had the same effect on people." Sinatra made girls swoon by singing romantic songs. But America isn't electing a crooner in chief.
Obama has a talent for eliciting intense emotion--an ability that can be dangerous in a politician. What more does he have to offer? That's a hard question to answer, and it makes the prospect of an Obama presidency quite worrisome.