Not a Campaign, But a Revival

BOSTONBarack Obama spent his last days before Super Tuesday running for God of America. His cult is growing; his calling as America’s spiritual leader is cemented. Seriously, who would have ever thought that the next Christ would have gone to Harvard Law?

On Monday night in this sad seaside town where the 7-Eleven cash registers still displayed the laughable phrase “GO PATTS CHAMPS 08,” what looked like the cast of The Departed laid out the case for Obama as our salvation. The young crowd had stretched endlessly around the Boston seaport, all the way up and over a bridge to downtown.

But the bizarre way the campaign made grotty and carpeted Commonwealth Hall into a warren of holding pens of police barricades (possibly a consequence of what one convention center worker described as wildly last-minute planning) left much of the room bare of fans.

Still, they were enthusiastic fans, no matter that their favorite sporting team had been so incredibly faced the day before. “We carry with us the burden of the rest of humankind’s future,” said Congressman Bill Delahunt. Heavy, dude! “I look up here, and I see myself 50 years ago, when I was out in an audience like this for Jack Kennedy, and what a moment in time that was,” he said.

Was that like this? Maybe it was! It certainly seemed that everyone saying these things totally believed them.

“This is a visionary, unifying leader,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

There was trim John Kerry, showing no signs of battery by his so much more awesome wife; hard to believe he was almost president. (A man in the audience remembered the election night that he and fellow students camped out in the freezing cold, and Kerry never even came out to greet them. Whatever, they met some hot BU girls that night.)

“He can give us what America needs the most, which is not a transition, but is a transformation of American politics,” Kerry said.

“This is a chance for America to see that we give birth to our own story once again, through Barack Obama,” he added. Whoa. Narrative.

(Also, the University of Massachusetts a cappella group Dynamics sang. This meant that the whitest people on earth whooped their way through the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” In the crowd, a man was highlighting a copy of Games of Strategy.)

Ted Kennedy, with his amazing hypnotic monotone, shouted himself hoarse; this was incredible. “If you care about Massachusetts, if you care about our nation, you’re going to go out and vote for Barack Obama.” His voice disappeared like it was eating itself.

An Asian-language T.V. reporter stood on a chair, shouting and gesturing in ecstatic delight for her camera; then it refocused behind her to the deity-like emergence of Obama himself.

When the people screamed out “I love you,” he said “I love you” back. All around the weird room, the people were straining at their barricades.

A USA Today story went online during all this.

Hillary Clinton, America’s newspaper said, was doing tiny retail events in high schools, while Barack Obama was “speaking to overflow crowds in packed sports arenas.”

This wasn’t true at all; Obama’s first event on Monday, at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., had a seriously underwhelming crowd, dwarfed further by the size of the stadium. Midday, Clinton was pulling in a bigger audience—in cruddy Worcester, Mass.

Not a Campaign, But a Revival