Journalism used to be called the first draft of history. Now, with our screens filled by a mob of cable TV pundits, it’s more like the first draft of hysteria.
Take the coverage in the lead up to and in the initial days of the Democratic National Convention. It was filled with hand-wringing about how giving Bill and Hillary Clinton prime time speaking slots and placing her name in nomination for the roll call vote would mean big trouble for Obama. Disunity would shake the Pepsi Center into a lather.
In the end, all three moments are among the most memorable of a convention that has probably given Obama a decent boost, unless he really screws up tonight at Invesco Field, of course. The Clintons’ speeches, taken together, make a strong case for Obama’s candidacy. And those roll call worries seemed pretty silly during what amounted to a boisterous Obama coronation.
So why didn’t the Clinton’s wreak havoc?
Because the Clintons always do what’s best for the Clintons, and what’s best for them now is to play nice. They beat up Obama for months and handed Republicans a ready-made fall playbook on how to paint Barry as a newbie elitist freak. If she wants to ever run for the White House again, and receive any African American votes, they’ve got to take one for the team. Otherwise, if Obama loses, they’ll be public enemy No.1 in the finger-pointing fest that always follows Democratic defeats.
How anyone thought they’d let smoldering anger overpower their ceaseless ambition is a mystery.
So now the cable doom troops have turned their attention to next week’s GOP Convention. You’re already hearing how Hurricane Gustav’s ominous path will make for a split-screen convention with natural havoc one side and the party of Katrina fame on the other. MSNBC will probably make a combined logo, maybe with an elephant perched atop a flooded home.
That’s good news for folks along the Gulf. Based on pundits’ track record this week, you may get drizzle.