Barack Obama has been on my radar screen since his primary win when running for Senate in 2004. My spouse, while also a supporter, is increasing befuddled by the intensity with which I follow the campaign. For a multitude of reasons I cannot help but believe we've got the right candidate for the right time.
But today I find myself questioning Obama's judgment for the first time.
You see, Senator Obama is planning on making a campaign stop in Bloomington, IN on Friday as part of his Indiana bus tour that starts tomorrow. Obama hopes to replicate the success of his Pennsylvania bus tour in Indiana. When you look at his scheduleit is clear that a large part of this week could be considered an Indiana college tour. Bloomington, as many of you may know, is home to Indiana University (by the way, we've got a new basketball coach, who bumped Bill Clinton's visit below the fold of the local paper). Additionally, I should add that I graduated IU several years ago and currently work as affiliated staff. Canvassing the community I can report that there is a good deal of enthusiasm for Obama here.
But there is a problem with this visit.
This weekend is the 58th running of the Little 500. You might be familiar with this bicycle race from the movie Breaking Away. It's a little dated (1979 release), but an excellent motion picture. View a clip of the film here.
For the uninitiated, the Little 500 weekend is billed (correction IMHO) as The World's Greatest College Weekend. Don't take my word for it. This ESPN.com article affirms it.
The misnomer here is that the party around the Little 5 revolves only around the weekend. Today is Tuesday evening. By Friday, Obama's scheduled appearance, students will be long since toasted. As the Little 5 Wiki notes,
Other student celebrations during the weekend of the race have helped earn it the title of "The World's Greatest College Weekend," and it is the busiest weekend of the year for the Bloomington Police Department. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong said that the race was "the coolest event I ever attended."
From personal experience I can tell you that actual memories of Little 5 week end by about Wednesday.
So what is Obama doing coming on Friday? Sure the enthusiasm will be there, but I don't know that it will do any good in the long run. I can assure you that few people from the university is going to remember the event.
Do we really want a president that cannot plan for such an obvious roadblock to candidacy?
Me? I can't wait 'til Friday. I hope I can make it.