Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Lollipop Guild

Even though the action in the presidential election campaign has been centered in Pennsylvania, plenty of talk has centered on Kansas. Not necessarily the state of Kansas, but Kansas as metaphor.

Kansas sits pretty much in the middle of the 48 contiguous states geographically and is more or less equidistant from Pennsylvania and California. Pennsylvania is where Barack Obama has had to attempt to explain the comments he made in California, where he expressed ideas that were part in parcel of the Thomas Frank book "What's the Matter With Kansas."

So in the old metaphor search, I started thinking about "The Wizard of Oz." I don't know how Barack Obama would look wearing a gingham dress, but his campaign has essentially dropped a house on Hillary Clinton. The Clintons have commanded power in the Democratic Party through essentially Machiavellian means for the past 16 or so years. While many prominent players in the party owe much to the Clintons, I think many of them would like to be rid of the Clintons.

Like the Munchkins in the story, people are starting to emerge from the shadows. There was an especially interesting piece in the New York Times about some of these people, including two Minnesota figures, "superdelegate" Nancy Larson and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Both of these women have come out for Obama in recent weeks, as have a number of other political figures of varying pedigree, from Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (a major beneficiary of Clinton fundraising), 2004 Dem nominee John Kerry and former Clintonites such as Gregory Craig and, crucially, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. They have presented Obama with endorsements, enconia and perhaps soon enough, the red slippers of the nomination.

So it's seems likely that Obama will be going down the yellow brick road soon enough. Will he find intelligence, heart and courage along the way? Here's a suggestion that might help him. Rather than taking his understanding of Kansas (both as state and metaphor) from Thomas Frank, he might try Frank Baum instead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Ware the flying monkeys! That last one looked kind of like Stephanopols, though may just have been the hair.