--written on the eve of the Texas primary--
I made it down to Texas to look at the primary. I've been in Austin the past few days. The excitement in the air is electric. I have spoken to Obama's people -- they're having so much fun, they think they're winning. I have spoken to Hillary's people -- they are steadfast, determined and conceding nothing.
It's really all about the Democrats this week and how much Texans love the attention. Famously insecure, the flipside of their bragging nature, Texans need to know that we all love them. They need to know we think they are important. So I speak for many in saying this: "Texas, we love you, you are very important, and we wait breathlessly for your decision."
Ohioans -- they 're important too, of course, but their nature is self-deprecating. They don't need love and attention -- they just want jobs.
Okay, Hillary -- this is bad luck -- moved her state headquarters office into an empty building on Ben White Blvd on the south side of town, but what all the locals know is that Kinky Friedman, the ridiculous candidate for Texas Governor, used that same building in 2006. Really bad Ju-ju for Hillary.
Obama, in contrast, took up space on the second floor of a bank building for his state headquarters. I paid seven dollars to park my car nearby, just so I could drop in to visit. A media relations guy came out from a warren of back offices and blew me off in two minutes. I wasn't important enough to get his attention -- not representing any big media, not representing any newspaper that he had heard of. Unfair of me, but I marked down Obama's people for Failure to Greet.
Meanwhile Hillary is getting slammed by Maureen Dowd and the whole staff of the NY Times -- Dowd's column is her own opinion, but the highly dubious "analysis" stories on the front page, stating that Hillary hasn't got a chance, and making all kinds of unfounded characterizations about her -- it's kind of weird. There's a place for subjective impressions, but it's not news. I figure they got Obama hype despite themselves, but it's not fair to Hillary.
Also, it's not Obama's fault. He gets better all the time and he is too smart to believe all that Obama hype himself. I heard him at a rally in Austin on Thursday morning. First he gave his standrad stump speech -- I've heard it before. But then he fielded questions from the crowd, getting hit with a wide variety of challenges, and he handled them well -- giving substantive answers and responding to that criticism.
Tom Brokaw came to Austin last week to do a segment on the youth vote, which leans heavily toward Obama, especially in Austin. This is true -- the kids are out it in force -- but pardon me for not getting excited when I hear a 24-year-old graduate student gushing, "I'm going to vote! I'm even going to make phone calls!" Am I supposed to be impressed? Big whoop.
"Nobody Knows Anything." Nobody knows who is going to win the primary on Tuesday, and they are so deeply certain that they don't know that they won't even make a guess. We're all just sitting here -- those of us who aren't madly campaigning and doorbelling -- sitting here with our mouths open, saying dumb things like, "Gee, isn't this something?"
The Republicans were feeling lonely, so I stopped by their state headquarters and visited with the executive director of the party. He said they like their man, McCain, and they'll take their chances. Rush Limbaugh's kinky ploy to get Republicans to vote for Hillary in order to stop Obama -- that one died. The New York Times published second-rate innuendo about McCain's love-life --- give us a photo with the babe sitting on McCain's lap, otherwise shut up. The last bit of GOP news is how excited they get thinking about getting Condaleeza Rice to take the VP slot. Of course, she doesn't want the nomination -- but if they get her on the ticket, with her reputation and her magic two-fer qualities -- I can see her challenging Obama, "Hey, Barak, your mamma's ugly and you're dog can't fight!"
But that's all the Republican news.
So we will all know in 48 hours, but right now, "Nobody Knows Anything."
What a country -- I love this election.