Countdown to the Obama Rapture

Jack Shafer in Slate:

Screenhunter_04_oct_28_1008With the election just a week away and Barack Obama pulling away from John McCain, tiny tendrils of trepidation are starting to drift over the liberal members of the commentariat and the political press corps.

If McCain wins, ample boilerplate exists from which to form their disposable Wednesday, Nov. 5, stories about his victory: “He took risks and they paid off … courage of his convictions … left for dead one time too many … the pundits eat crow … how could the pollsters have gotten it so wrong—again! … Will his White House harbor Straight Talk or double talk?”

But if Obama wins, these scribes know that they’ll be facing the toughest assignment of their careers. They’ve all oversubscribed to the notion that Obama’s candidacy is momentous, without parallel, and earth-shattering, so they can’t file garden-variety pieces about the “winds of change” blowing through Washington. They’re convinced that not only the whole world will be reading but that historians will be drawing on their words. Will what I write be worthy of this moment in time? they’re asking themselves. It’s a perfect prescription for performance anxiety.

More here.