POLITICS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Capacity Of Hype: Obama's Road Ahead

As a professional blogger, I am only too keenly aware of how I, and bloggers like me, are totally ruining everything for everyone and ripping apart the very fabric of our civilization. One day, we shall all stand in judgement before Mike Huckabee's God and the vengeful ghost of Gay Talese, and we will have to answer for our many, many sins. And there's some truth to that! Bloggers often hype all sorts of cultural minutiae beyond the boundaries of what they deserve. Remember when we all told you that Snakes On A Plane was going to be a cinematic event on the level of The Searchers? Yeah...maybe not, as it turns out.

With this perspective in mind, let's look at the road ahead for the Obama campaign. It will probably be suggested that Obama's two main areas of concern are: can he counter Clinton's tactics? Can he counter the perception that his leads in various polls may be illusory? What you're not likely to hear much chatter about, however, is the concern that I believe to be the key one: what if Iowa is the outlier?

See, if you and twenty of your friends get a little happy-hour buzz on, and then pack yourself into a sold-out theater, Snakes On A Plane is going to seem like a pretty fun experience. But watch the DVD at home by yourself, you're going to start wondering where things went wrong in your life.

That's the difference in dynamic you see in Iowa - where voters packed into rooms together and experienced the horse-trading and the social clustering that magnifies energy and enthusiasm - versus South Carolina and New Hampshire - where the voting experience will emphasize solitary reflection, and in which voters will be free from the social pressures of spouses and peers. Right now, South Carolina represents the territory Obama needs to claim in order to demonstrate his campaign is not simply kept aloft by hype. If Obama can't win there, he never get Bill Clinton's "false hopes" brakes off his M-Fing frame.