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Jewish World Review
August 6, 2008
/ 5 Menachem-Av 5768
Is Obama just too special to be elected president?
Since the day Obama claimed the Democratic nomination, pundits and political pros have been waiting for him to take a significant lead in the polls. Here we are in August, and not only has Obama failed to get the Democrat's traditional summertime bump, he's tied with John McCain in the latest Gallup and Rasmussen polls.
In a lousy year for Republicans, against a GOP nominee who combines the youthful effervescence of Wilford Brimley with the soaring oratory of a life insurance seminar, Obama is actually losing ground.
Obama, sadly, blames race. It's all about evil Republicans, he claims, trying to scare voters by telling them "I don't look like those guys on the dollar bills" and "Did I mention he's black?"
The mainstream media blame the "vicious" and "negative" attack ads of the McCain campaign. The McCain campaign thinks i t's all about oil, gas prices and Obama's position on offshore drilling - whatever that may be at the moment.
But it was during a conversation with my radio listeners about Obama's birthday trip to Boston yesterday that I got a glimpse into the Chosen One's real problem.
We were looking for the perfect gift for "The man who is everything" and I was suggesting the traditional items for someone of Obama's stature - gold, frankincense and myrrh. I was taken aback by the number of listeners who said the Democratic standard-bearer should get nothing because of a People magazine article about the Obama family's policy of not giving Christmas or birthday presents to their own two daughters.
I didn't bring that fact up. My listeners did, and it bothered them.
Now there's nothing necessarily wrong with parents not giving their kids birthday or holiday gifts, but it is, well, unusual. Do you know any parents like this? I don't.
Then there was that speech in Berlin that was supposed to give Obama a big bounce. But his numbers went down instead.
Did Obama give a bad speech? No. But there was something just plain weird about watching a guy who wanted votes from Americans rallying 200,000 Germans in Berlin. It's not wrong. It's not unpatriotic. But no other presidential candidate in history has ever done anything like it.
And as sill y as it may sound, the Wall Street Journal just ran a story on supersized voters uncomfortable with the fact that Obama is so skinny. "He needs to put some meat on his bones," one voter said. Then again, this is the Obama who asked Iowa farmers, "Have you seen what they charge for arugula lately?"
Even his own daughter, revealing to "Access Hollywood" that her dad doesn't like ice cream, added: "Everybody should like ice cream."
Thanks to the strange trajectory of my life, from the tobacco fields of South Carolina to a radio studio in Boston, I've met people from all kinds of strange and colorful backgrounds. And I can honestly say I don't know anybody like Barack Obama.
His political career began at the home of an anti-American terrorist. His pastor for 20 years was the delusional, hate-spewing Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He barely won his own party's nomination, but his campaign designed its own presidential seal and has "President" printed across the back of his seat on his campaign jet.
And when he told congressional Democrats "I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions," it might be true - but what kind of person would say that about himself? Would you?
Every day, it seems, Barack Obama does or says something that reminds "typical American people" (pardon the paraphrase) that he is different from us in ways that have nothing to do with what he looks like.
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JWR contributor Michael Graham is a talk show host at 96.9 FM TALK in Boston and author of the highly acclaimed "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War." To comment, please click here.
© 2008, Michael Graham