The best we’ve got?

Barack Obama

So Barack Obama is the presumptive Democratic candidate for president. The media’s adoration and the historic nature of his achievement notwithstanding, it’s another chapter in one of the most bizarre presidential campaigns in history.

Our story thus far: A rookie senator who’s spent most of his time in office campaigning and a man reviled by his own party less than a year ago have somehow become the two remaining contenders for the most important political office in the world.

Yeah, right. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is more believable.

We don’t live in an era of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Nobody becomes a major party candidate for the highest office in the United States unless he or she has the support of powerful backers. See my earlier post on Barack Obama’s sudden, unexpected rise to public prominence. Yes, Sen. Obama is a powerful speaker, but consider the likelihood of an unknown 28-year-old lawyer selling a memoir — a memoir! — to a major publisher as his first book. That memoir gets a favorable review in the New York Times and launches a stellar political career.

Doesn’t happen without help.

In my mind, Obama’s ability to assemble a national political machine in less than 18 months — if we believe that he only decided to run for president toward the end of 2006 — is just as improbable as his publishing contract.

However, his improbable victory is only slightly more unlikely than Sen. John McCain’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes of his political career. Remember last summer, when even the Republicans in his home state of Arizona were spitting nails about McCain’s support of amnesty for illegals? How does one explain the 72-year-old senator’s ability to win the primary fight against the better financed, more eloquent, and far more telegenic Mitt Romney?

Something’s been happening off-camera that’s pushed these two unlikely candidates to the door of the White House. But no one in the major media seems to have considered that this campaign season is anything but what it appears.

I don’t believe that. Come on; if I’ve thought of it, surely one of the smart journalists covering the campaign has wondered, too. So where are the investigative pieces on the deals that have been struck to sell these two men to the American public?

I’m not really a paranoid kind of guy. I generally take things at face value. But the improbability of these two men being where they are today, and the failure of the media to question their defiance of the odds, has me just about convinced that this game is rigged.

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