Ratings Sweep

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One of my regular Internet visits is to Politico.com’s Arena, in which a smattering of politicians, academics and personalities opines on a central topic. Today, the site takes on last night’s prime-time “Barackumentary,” as it were, which of course suffered from some clichéd, teary-eyed imagery and swelling strings, but which overall I felt presented a clear-eyed and convincing glimpse of unquestionably the most inspiring governmental figure of my lifetime. Responses vary from praise by observers and partisans alike (“The most effective — and affecting — political spot since Charles Guggenheim's in the 1960s,” offers Ross Baker of Rutgers; “may be the finest political advertisement in modern American political history,” says Clinton strategist Lanny Davis) to concerns about its ramifications on the broken campaign-finance system. (“The most important thing about last night wasn't what Obama said, but that he could say it,” observes Dan Schnur of USC.) But I believe one response — incidentally, the one currently at the top — says more: “After watching The One last night, I weepingly came to the conclusion that our country should change the national pastime from baseball to breastfeeding,” says Reagan biographer Craig Shirley. “Let's all hold hands and sing ‘Michael Row the Boat Ashore,’ and have a national group encounter session where we can share our pain with The One.” I can only wonder if Mr. Shirley realizes that it is precisely that kind of smug, deaf-ear cynicism, the colossal and continued misreading of a tidal change in America's political public opinion, that is winning this election for Barack Obama. 

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