Does Eskimo vote hold key to 2008 election?

by Ogi Overman

I may not have been a mile high after watching Sen. Barack Obama’s extraordinary speech last Thursday, but I swear there was a moment in there when I felt I was getting ready to levitate. I was among the hysterically happy throng at the former Mile High Stadium, if only vicariously. Aware that I had just glimpsed history in the making, it was indeed a moment to savor, to bask in, to try and put in perspective.

Sitting there on the verge of tears, soaking in the exuberance of the moment, tingling with joy as the post-speech

yakkers, one after another, sang his praises — conservative spokesman Pat Buchanan calling it “the greatest convention speech ever” and former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough saying it was one of the most magnificent speeches he’d ever heard — I thought, “Case closed. If Barack can win over these two right-wingers, McCain might as well throw in the towel.” So the next day he did. Or so it seemed. In one of the most curious political moves ever, he chose not a virtual unknown but a literal unknown to be his running mate. If there had been any doubt about his mental stability, this beyond-bizarre ploy just made the case. He’s not just desperate, he’s nuts.

It seemed the GOP was basing its whole campaign — other than the already-launched Swift Boats — on the lone theme that Obama was not ready, not experienced enough, not prepared to lead. Now even that lame argument has been undercut. Now they got nothing. There are any number of ways to look at this, but none of them makes any sense. For starters, does he really think that the disaffected Hillary supporters, the PUMAs (party loyalty, my ass) will cross over just because she’s female? Is he so patronizingly out of it that he does not understand that he has insulted the intelligence of every woman in America? This hockey mom whose experience consists of being the mayor of a town the size of Siler City has absolutely nothing in common with Hillary except gender. Jeez, the woman believes a) creationism should be taught in schools, b) polar bears should be taken off the endangered species list, c) global warming is not man-made, d) drilling in the Alaskan wilderness should proceed immediately, e) abortion should not be permitted, even in cases of rape or incest, f) same-sex marriage should be outlawed and, g) gun ownership is sacrosanct. Plus, she has h) already flip-flopped on the bridge to nowhere, i) been under investigation by the Alaska state legislature, j) admitted she hasn’t kept up with Iraq too much and k) done nothing to prevent endangered red wolves from being shot from helicopters. Crimony,she’s crazier than McCain — at least he’s got an excuse. Maybe hefigures that because she’s so rabid and righteously right that she’llfire up the GOP base of fundamentalist snake-handlers andknuckle-dragging homophobes. But are there enough of those denizens ofthe shallow end of the gene pool out there who can figure out how tomark a ballot to sway an election? Or perhaps he’s trying to reasserthis maverick credentials. Having been correctly and provably branded asa Bush toadie, is this his way of showing us that he’s his own man? Bysacrificing the good of the country for pure, unvarnished politicalexpediency in a last-ditch effort to rescue a failing campaign? If youwant to be a maverick why not just go down to the corner of South Elmand McGee and grab the first panhandler you see, clean him/her up andask, “Wanna be vice president?” Hey, maybe he’s going after thatlong-neglected Eskimo vote. Personally, I think Rove got to him.Several of his subordinates are already working on his campaign, but Ithink Turdblossom himself said it’s fourth and long with one secondleft on the clock. Your last option is the Hail Mary. Everybody golong. But there is another sports analogy that I know to be true. Latelast Thursday it dawned on me that my feelings were exactly like thoseof almost four year ago, Oct. 20, 2004, to be exact. I know the datebecause I still have the next day’s New York Daily News withthe best headline ever written: “Hell Freezes Over.” That was theglorious occasion when the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the ALCS afterbeing down three games to none. The exhilaration of that evening lasteduntil I realized that there was still one more obstacle to be overcomebefore the curse would truly be broken. The win over theYankees would be meaningless unless we polished off the Cardinals inthe World Series. Likewise, Barack’s nomination, historic though it maybe, goes for naught unless we polish off McCain in the generalelection. At this moment, we have won nothing. If we get complacentnow, we’ll end up like the Yankees. Let’s just hope and pray the election outcome parallels the ’04 Series. We swept the Cards 4-zip.

Ogi may be reached at and seen on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth on ABC 45 at 6:30 a.m. Fridays and on WMYV 48 at 10 p.m. Sundays.