America may be over their Pop Star and ready for a President
This was Obama’s moment. It would not only be foolish but petty to deprive him of that fact.
Stripping out the showmanship and one-upmanship on both parts, Mitt Romney most often struck me as something of what one might call a bread and butter, or meat and potatoes guy – his words and cadence more inline with the kind of discussion one might have at the dinner table, than a debate. Jobs, the price of gasoline, tax deductions in terms of 3, or 4,000 dollars here, combined with the raising of this, or that price over there, that ‘crush’ the middle class, was a word I believe he used more than once. It was a simple, straight-forward working man, or woman’s vernacular.
They were simple, straight-forward words that connect, regardless of how the wonkier among us might want to point out the solidness, or impossibility of any Math.
And then there was Obama, straining to cast social and women’s issues in economic terms to get more bang for the buck someone had paid a communications guy to craft, test and re-craft them for him. At times he attempted to be grand, … sweeping, as he was in 2008. But it’s his own record, pretty much a first for an Obama not known for staying in one place too long, that drags on him now.
He doesn’t have 8 years of Bush to attack with his own lofty rhetoric and grand promises subject to little, if any challenge back then, as he hadn’t yet saddled up as a president in 08. He did try to make Romney Bush as one point if you recall. To what end, for what purpose, I thought? Certainly, I knew. But it didn’t strike me as something that worked very well. Romney defined himself so positively and so well in the first debate, Obama’s attacks now seemed in-congruent - they just don’t compute as well as they did when they were being thrown at the more unknown candidate Romney was before the first debate
What it also demonstrated to me was how very small Obama and his politics are this go round, for such an allegedly grand, and once iconic figure. He was trying to use a trick, to put Romney in a box labeled Bush, so he could freeze him and divide him from potential voters. There’s nothing noble in that and one can’t see Obama as what he was in 2008, when he’s now so obvious in his calculations based on that type of old school Chicago politics. He looks a bit lost and frustrated by it, if you ask me.
In some ways there are now two Obama’s… running against himself. It’s his record, the day-to-day reality of his presidency he needs to speak to,but he refuses to do that. He’s no longer free to be the footloose and baggage-free iconic figure he was cutting through the political landscape four years ago. It’s a somewhat weighed down Obama voters are getting to see now. Meanwhile, he won’t even acknowledge, let alone straight-forwardly address and attempt to pick up that weight. It’s as though he wants to be just what he was four years ago but he’s not. Time, unemployment, gas prices and the like have seen to that.
Finally, he did everything he could to remain ‘well-liked’ over these past few years. He largely succeeded. However, I don’t believe he did nearly as much to prove himself to be competent and in charge. As I said during a radio interview I was asked to do today, Mitt Romney is speaking like a man at your dinner table. Obama appears to be speaking as if he’s sitting on Jay Leno’s couch.
If I’m correct and America perceives Obama as a man who is ‘popular,’ which is a basic part of the definition of a Pop Star, after all – this election may well already be over in the minds of voters, some not wanting to say it, with some not yet having stopped long enough to figure it out. It felt good watching him come up, bursting onto the scene with some flair and more than enough pomp and circumstance.
But it’s rare for a Pop Star to hold onto the top rung of the popularity ladder. In that sense, people eventually and often quickly become fond of watching someone else. In the end, this election could be decided by a combination of two things – call it the pop star and the not.
A pop star is one of the last things anyone would would call Mitt Romney. If anything, he comes off as an executive, a man who likes to take charge of things, to get things done. Thus, if , America has become, not indifferent, but less enthused and amused by the pop star that’s been in the White House these last four years and is now again ready for a president – Mitt Romney may very well already have this thing sewn up.
One can hope, anyway – after all, Barry told us so in 2008.