Obama the Anyman

in just what exactly?  from artbymags flickr photostream

in just what exactly? from artbymags' flickr photostream

Just stumbled upon this New York Times blog post about Obama as John Milton’s Jesus – the key observation is that Obama’s rhetorical success this campaign came from his ability to present a unified message front to the public, without really saying anything.  And by that, I don’t mean ’empty words,’ but rather saying nothing – I remember reading after the third debate that McCain’s campaign sent out 8 different memos to the press the evening after the debate, while Obama sent none.  He just left McCain to talk himself in and out of news cycles.

Obama’s stoic blankness is the cornerstone of his campaign, because it allows people to read into him whatever they want.  The campaign in fact embraced this, and made the whole election about what other people want out of Obama, pitching the whole affair as a ‘movement’ for people to make the change they need.

The terrific uplifting vagueness of it all has the benefit of activating unheard of numbers of people into politics, the problem is what to do with them when they come down from the high.  I previously suggested avoiding the Obama subject, and I still believe that keeping him out of the picture might be useful, but I’d like to suggest another strategy, of ‘identity correction.’  Rather than calling out Obama for being ‘false change,’ I think folks should extend the sense of ownership people feel for him, and point out the nasty stuff he does (it will come) and call it Hope.

Still in Iraq 2 years from now?  Well, that’s what Obama folks were hoping for right?  (better if addressed in the 2nd person)  Obama has always been more center than left, even if he doesn’t volunteer the information.  When he does, stick it back on the people that supported him as one of them.

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