Monday, August 18, 2008

Balking Horse

The performance of Barack Obama of late has become bizarrely lame. Early on in the primaries there was talk of him being a far-left stalking horse for Hillary so as to make her look moderate by comparison. But new-left Democrats such as backed Bill and openly dreamed of a 3rd Bill Clinton term found themselves outflanked by the radical left-wing. The nutters' candidate locked in enough votes to clinch the Dem ticket months before the June date when Obama actually accumulated the requisite delegates.

Politics is about gaining power; even losers maneuver after losses and even before impending losses to hold onto advantages so that their minority is still a force that must be reckoned with.

Hillary has not ended her campaign. The Dem convention has not ended. The fat-legged lady has not swan-songed.

That Barack Obama is one balky politician is more evident every day. Many in the GOP can hardly wait to broadcast with the help of talk radio to tell us all of the next false-step or tone-deaf comment even before the noise from the last incident has died down.

In baseball, where when the pitcher makes a motion that is against the rules, the pitcher is charged with a balk. The penalty is that opposition base runners advance a base.

Given how many delegates Hillary has accumulated and not relinquished yet, she is clearly still on the third base of the Democratic party. She awaits some inevitable errant move by Obama — some faux pas that will penalize Obama some number of delegates or other obscure party rule — that will advance Hillary to home plate. It may already have been committed and she is simply biding her time.

Such a late advance by her would put her at a distinct advantage against McCain. In part because so many voters are so put off by the unprecedentedly long campaign that they've tired of the two current faces. But more importantly, it will be because of some yet unrecognized comments that McCain politically uttered to advance himself against Obama but would hurt him against Hillary.

That is what the term stalking horse has always implied politically — some one to be the focal point, the target, to take the hits. But never the real one the party intends to put up. In that way the real candidate can take advantage of the opposition's revealed strategy and especially the political mistakes. The real candidate is then fresher and not as fatigued nor battle scarred as his opposition when election day arrives.

However, is it likely that all that Obama has done up to now was just so he could be a stalking horse for Hillary? Is he blowing it deliberately?

No! That is too bizarre a possibility. People who are this close to garnering power are not inclined to throw it away intentionally. That may be especially true of someone who has good reason to suspect he had been encouraged to run precisely to be a stalking horse. Such a man would find the position he'd achieved in June — one that was against the odds in December — to be particularly sweet.

No, I'm recognizing that he's in danger of fumbling it all away simply because he's a much smoother reader of prepared scripts than he is a man of wider strengths. If he blows his nomination, he will effectively have been a stalking horse of a different variety.

Should Obama screw himself by stumbling, fumbling, bumbling once too much in the short time between now and the end of the convention, he will achieve an American first.

He will be America's first balking horse.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting point- and one I've been thinking about for a while.


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