Here’s something that’s bothered me about Barack Obama from Day One: the way he has been selling himself as a product, an amalgam of desirable characteristics, rather than a person who could be the President of the United States.
Note the reasons Chris Bowers gives for considering Obama suitable to lead the New Plutocrats.
Obama has all the markers of a creative class background, from his community organizing, to his Unitarianism, to being an academic, to living in Hyde Park to shopping at Whole Foods and drinking PBR.
It’s a laundry list of ingredients, as if Senator Obama were a pair of designer sunglasses or a particularly luxurious car. Notice that nowhere are his views or his qualifications discussed – and what exactly he would do as President does not seem to be important.
Now, consider the way Obama first built excitement for his campaign by getting Oprah Winfrey to come on the trail with him. Now, what is Oprah good at? Getting people to love her, and selling products. Does she know anything about politics? No, she does not – she freely admits that she is apolitical.
2+2=4, my friends. Or, in this case, Obama Bloggers + Oprah = VIP!
No, not “Very Important Person”. I mean the product called VIP!, referred to in the Doris Day/Rock Hudson flick, Lover Come Back.
The plot of the movie is quite interesting. You see, Doris Day and Rock Hudson are two advertising executives with very different styles. Doris Day is a smart, hard-working woman who relies on quality to get clients, whereas Rock Hudson is a lazy but charismatic man who uses his charm and slightly underhanded methods (like plying clients with booze and hookers) to sell his services.
Soon, Day and Hudson find themselves vying for the same accounts. Day discovers that Hudson is less than ethical in his business practices, and starts making trouble with the Advertising Board. In order to stop her, make the girl involved lie to the authorities and placate his boss, Tony Randall, Hudson makes up a product called VIP!. He hires the girl to be the face of VIP!, and shoots several commercials in which VIP! is given credit for everything good about her. He never plans to air the commercials, of course, but somehow they get put on the TeeVee, and everyone starts getting very excited about VIP!
The campaign has worked too well. Eventually, VIP! has to be invented, and when it finally is, it turns out to be candy that gets you very, very drunk. Useless, but delicious and fun – and quite a threat to the liquor industry, it turns out! They pay off Hudson to get VIP! away from stores, and people go back to the old ways of getting plowed.
In conclusion, Barack Obama IS VIP! We thought he was new and thrilling, but once we got to know him, we realized that he was nothing we hadn’t seen before. And in fact, what we thought was old and boring – the true blue Democratic values of the party of FDR and Bill Clinton – is just as necessary as it always was.
Don’t fall for VIP! It’s a product you just don’t need.