I called it the Phenom. Now they're calling it the Swoon. The media Obama Swoon, that is. This morning, there's a front-page New York Times story about the hurdles media outlets will now start placing in Barack Obama's path as he becomes the front-runner and, at this point, likely Democratic presidential nominee.
Early this month, I blogged about the Phenom and its predictable end, referring to the National Journal's rating of Obama as the most liberal member of the Senate and Hillary Clinton's rating as 14th-most liberal.
My take was that that difference in their Journal ratings would make Obama much less electable in a general election and a much better target for Republican attacks. The Times makes note of the Journal rating toward the middle of its story today.
Liberal pundit Michael Kinsley, interviewed on the Washington Post website this week, said:
I am not the best person to explain the media Obama swoon, since I have been a swooner myself. No doubt we'll all turn on him at some point, faithless bastards that we are.
Funny, but not so funny because it's true. That's the problem with falling in love with an untested, unknown candidate. He/she will become known, warts and all. The only question is when. All candidates with records have warts. All candidates lacking warts also lack records or have unexamined records. American voters have a bad habit of falling in love with someone they don't yet know as they let a yearning for change and newness overtake logic. There is much to learn about Obama, as is obvious in the Times article and in exposés and reports by other media outlets like the Nation, Politico, and the Chicago Tribune.
The remaining question of the 2008 Democratic campaign is whether a close examination of Obama's record will take place in time to boost Clinton's fortunes. The answer right now appears to be "no."