POLITICAL COMMENTARY: President Barack Obama, 2008
The Bradley Effect is - or was - a phenomenon where voters without balls tell pollsters without nuts they have the balls to vote for the black man and then go nuts and vote for the white man. Named after California Mayor Tom Bradley (from 1973-1993), who always led in the polls when he ran for Governor of California, only to lose when it came to the vote. It's a superstition - that didn't stop pollsters, voters and pundits citing it ad nauseam when Obama showed massive leads during the campaign. But there's a new Effect in the Land of the Free...
he polls lied again. They UNDERESTIMATED how hard Obama was going to spank McCain's pasty, pimpled, albino bottom.
More powerful than a locomotive, Bradley Effect negated, this largest turnout of voters in four decades was Obama Effect. Over 133.3 million people in the "fierce urgency of now." Needing 270 Electoral College votes to claim the presidency, Barack Obama ended with 365 to McCain's 173.
Obama won by over 8 million votes. Not bad for a "skinny kid with a funny name."
"As ye reap, so shall ye sow." In his book, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, Barack describes his mother's calming demeanor; how she disdained bullies and harsh words, how she raised him never to make gutter attacks against opponents. Obama never once stooped to the depths that either Hillary Clinton or McCain-Palin plumbed for their daily filth news cycles. It won him a presidency.
To the office, he brings a presidential manner, an erudite command of the stage, a mature composure, grace and poise that none of his rivals or predecessors exhibited nor could exhibit.
To the aura, he brings a charisma that rock stars dream of. From the Democratic Convention held at the Invesco Field football stadium in Colorado, (85,000 fans - like Queen at Wembley), across Europe (hundreds of thousands - like Garth Brooks in Central Park), to Election night victory (125,000 - like KISS in Rio), Obama... ROCKS. While his Repub rivals exhibit another kind of audacity - bald-faced lying about their piddling attendances. While McCain-Palin boast of 5,000 attendees at a given rally, we see via the magical television box (as McCain calls it) about 347 hi-strung rednecks at that rally (making McCain-Palin look like Ashlee Simpson caught miming on Saturday Night Live). The lies went beyond laughable, into pathetic, and then dangerous.
And the Republican gripes echo the banalities we always hear from unpopular people about popular people: Discounting the idiotic remarks about "celebrity" and "elitist," the paradoxical statements exhibit as much substance as Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin on foreign policy: "He's only popular because of all his fans in the audience." Well, D'UH! Next they'll say he only won the election because he had so many fans...
But why is Obama such an inspiration? How can a POLITICIAN (urk!) garner such fan love? I know for me it's a case of intelligence and historical-sounding oratory. We've all seen those grainy-film leaders of past eras and their defining moments, "Ask not what your country can do for you..." "We shall fight on the beaches..." "We have nothing to fear but fear itself..." "I have a dream!" Yet in MY lifetime, they just don't speak 'em like that anymore.
But then, January 2008, I witnessed Obama's New Hampshire concession speech.Concession speech, mind you. Not only did it sound like a victory speech, it sounded like an Inauguration speech; it did not disparage, it was not provincial or piddling, it did not smear or hammer fear ("And we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election."). I saw - we ALL saw - a president calling his people to unite; a leader of the free world inciting the wild spirit of a nation. And it brought tears to my eyes. (Hell, it still brings tears to my eyes.) Not because I'm especially patriotic. I'm not. Not because I was an Obama supporter. I was not. (I was - and still am - a Ron Paul man. Failing Paul and his Truth surviving the ticket of the lying Republican party, I felt that Joe Biden would make a great president - it's all right here from Aug 07.) But Obama won me with that intelligent, lucid, poetic, spankdown oration.
"It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can. It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes we can..."
It was a defining moment in MY lifetime. Christ! I had to smack myself that I was actually witnessing history here. (The smack needle broke in my arm - but that's another story...) And make no mistake, I'm not just saying this in retrospect; I knew at that moment, I said the words aloud in my head - and called my political-junkie friend to verify - that this was indeed a point in history that would be catalogued by the collective consciousness of a country.
This generation at last had our own grainy-film hero: Barack Obama.
He sold it. He sold himself. He sold his vision and power.
Maybe he was acting. And he IS a part of the elite Star Chamber of pols, there's no doubt about that - or he would never have won. But is he as bad as the rest of the goons?
Obama's past is not as opaque as the water-carriers would have us believe - he is a small-town lawyer made good. He ascended to that Star Chamber - he was not born into it. And the character and intelligence he has displayed through this campaign should - we hope - steer him through less muddy waters than his predecessors. Judging Obama's character exhibits OUR character. Just as all those who judged the devious, dishonest character of McCain as admirable revealed THEIR character. (Look at those last few months of McCain-Palin rallies and tell me the Klansfolk didn't leave their sheets in the car.)
America is sick of being sick. But the Republicans - helmed by death-piggy Karl Rove - totally misjudged the nation's tenor, which is why they lost. They still believed America would fall for the strategy of "strengthening the base" with Klan rhetoric, fear mongering and smearing; hoping to extend that base outwards, they suddenly met with the firewall of the Obama Effect.
YES WE CAN meets OH NO YOU D'INT.
McCain aides called Palin and her lady-boy husband "Wasilla hippies." ("As ye reap, so shall ye sow": she's been called rogue, diva, wack job, an embarrassment. But Palin called Obama far worse in her hate-driven stump speeches; now the name-calling has rebounded tenfold. From her own camp.)
But despite - or maybe in conjunction with - their ambition and drive for perfection, the people who really embody hipness (as in "hippie"), world-love and one-being - are the Obamas. As reporter Chris Matthews effuses over his man-crush, there is no one cooler than Barack. Cool-headed, that is. Unruffled. Self-possessed, unerringly confident and calm. (Daniel Craig aka James Bond opines that Barack would make a great 007. While McCain would make a sexier Judi Dench.)
And don't forget the love, man! After Barack's election victory speech, wife Michelle hugs him onstage, plants a peck on his lips and we read her lips, “I love you.” This is what all presidencies should look like. Barack running down the steps of a plane to grab up his daughters, Sasha and Malia; numerous shots of he and Michelle in slow dances, embraces, kisses, terrorist fist-bumps... These are not jaded political automatons suppressing their humanity, oozing metal smoke and sleaze engine grease, like the Republicans. These are real people.
Reminds me of a comment Poffy made in his review of THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT: "Witnessing the chemistry between Shepherd and Wade, we can't help but speculate that if the real-life Presidency could experience one-tenth of this heady hallucinogen with a woman one-hundredth as vivacious and witty as Annette Bening, there would be a million times less political turmoil in the world. As it is phrased outside Presidential circles: 'Dude, you need to get laid more often.'"
That's called the Bubba Effect.
Cool/Not Cool This video says everything about the difference in leadership and character and virility of the two men at the top of the country. (From The Late Show with David Letterman.) Think about how Barack takes every stage - bounding up the stairs, as opposed to McCain's hobble.