Signs point to Ron Paul revival

The Baltimore Sun

Outside the Cockeysville school where I voted yesterday, there were more campaign signs for Ron Paul than anyone else, so many you'd think the Free State had suddenly awakened from a long sleep with this collective thought: The only one who can get us out of this mess is Ron Paul.

There were no signs for the heavy-hitters in the presidential primary: Clinton, Obama, McCain, or even the pastor-populist Mike Huckabee.

But Ron Paul, the tweedy little guy that the rest of the Republican candidates treated like an eccentric uncle during the debates - There, there, Ron, you're getting excited again - was huge here.

Who knew?

I was still marveling at that when a man handed me a card with a list of delegates for the GOP national convention and said: "Vote for these delegates."

This, too, never ceases to amaze me.

Here you are, walking into a polling place, seconds from casting your vote, and people are handing you campaign literature and shouting names of candidates, as if this is going to do any good.

Who's going to be influenced by a pamphlet thrust at you at the last second?

Who takes one of those and thinks: "Well, I was going to vote for Obama. But it says here Senator Clinton will provide experienced leadership. So I guess I'll vote for her instead."

The presidential campaign has been going on now for what, 15 years?

If people don't know the issues by now, or whom they're going to vote for, then instead of handing them a pamphlet, you should smack them upside the head.

This is not like sitting down at a diner, thinking you'll order a slice of apple pie, and then you get a glimpse of the nice, fluffy lemon-meringue pie in the glass case and change your mind at the last minute.

How can there be any undecided voters left? I keep hearing there are, but what can these people be waiting for?

Each candidate is on the news night after night making the exact same stump speech they've made for months, offering change, change, change and various forms of hope while yakking about the Iraq war, the economy, immigration, education, health care reform, blah, blah, blah.

If you're not up on the issues by now, you're too dumb to vote and should probably stay home.

Still, it was exciting yesterday with the Maryland primaries receiving national attention for the first time in years, especially on the Democratic side, where this dock brawl between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is taking place.

Except if it's really a brawl, Hillary seems to be going at it with a Nerf bat right now.

Yep, it's starting to feel a little one-sided. Obama has the momentum - he won four more states over the weekend as he cruised into the Potomac primaries.

And having the mo' -- as they say on SportsCenter - is all important as we get close to crunch time.

I don't know if Obama's volunteers were annoying voters by handing out literature outside the polling places yesterday. But with this guy's star power, they probably didn't have to.

There may be others with the charisma and rhetorical ability of the junior senator from Illinois, but we haven't seen them in a long, long time.

People keep calling him a rock star, but that doesn't quite get at his presence, because even the rock stars seem awe-struck in his company.

Look what he does to Oprah. And who's a bigger rock star than Oprah?

Here's the most powerful woman in entertainment today, a woman who had Tom Cruise jumping up and down on her couch, a woman who can look at a studio audience and say: "I am Oprah and today I bequeath to all of thee ... new cars!"

But even as she campaigns for Obama, even as she throws her full Oprah-ness into getting him elected as the next president of the United States, she seems absolutely dazzled when she's around him.

If you can dazzle Oprah, you can probably dazzle the president of Russia or the prime minister of Thailand or any other world leaders you'd have to deal with as Leader of the Free World.

And if Oprah starts giving away new cars on Obama's behalf, I'd say he probably has the election all but wrapped up.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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