Thursday, August 28, 2008

Elvis has entered the building.

NOTE to DNC strategists: If you want to (a) discourage the perception that your presidential candidate is just a political rock star, and thereby (b) suck the wind out of McCain ads lampooning Obama's "celebrity," the way to do it is to stop choreographing Obama's campaign tactics exactly as if he were a rock star. I'm sure I'm not the only person, or even the only Obama partisan, who cringed a little bit at that whole, schmaltzy "surprise guest" routine at the end of Joe Biden's acceptance speech last night. If you didn't see it, Barack waltzed on-stage from behind a curtain like Frank Sinatra doing an unscheduled cameo at one of those old Jerry Lewis telathons.* (More current references: Madonna turning up on Letterman; Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Bros. turning up just about anywhere.) And if these stunts aren't being choreographed by strategistsif, say, last night was indeed Obama's spontaneous bright ideathen, well, he needs to be talked out of it by one of those honest, devil's-advocate-type advisers that he claims to want to surround himself with. NOTE to Howard Dean: I volunteer for the job. Not to dump gratuitously on poor Hillary again, but such tactics are as unbecoming as her silly pantsuits. And even thought this stuff can be sort of thrilling in the momentI gotta say, I never thought I'd see a presidential contender who could out-cool Bill Clintonit's going to come back to bite Obama on the ass as the ball game moves into the late innings. NOTE to Barack: You gotta stop giving the other guy all the ammunition he ever needs to make you look like you're all-sizzle, no-steak.

Even worse, if that's possible, was CNN's coverage of the event. Apparently the networks found out about all this somehow** as Biden was rousing to a finish, so CNN slapped its infamous BREAKING NEWS banner above the crawl. The text read more or less as follows: "Obama in the Pepsi Center! To make surprise appearance at the end of Biden's speech!" No, CNN didn't actually supply any exclamation points, but one sensed their presence.

NOTE to CNN: C'mon, people. You're there to report the news, not to become convenient tools in someone else's publicity stunt. (And I do mean tools. The way we used to use the word in Flatbush.)

* And those were usually choreographed too, of course.
** I'm being sarcastic, of course. The news was methodically and pointedly "leaked."

12 comments:

Matt Dick said...

I watched on MSNBC, but almost all the criticisms you have also apply to them. I don't know if CNN is as bad, but Keith Olbermann could not fawn enough about Biden, Clinton, Kerry and Obama. If he'd been any more obsequious he'd have required knee pads. Is this a grown-ups-only forum? That got a little racier than I'd intended

Steve Salerno said...

I hear ya, Matt. Though I didn't have MSNBC on last night, based on your descriptions, I'd have to say CNN was a tad more restrained in its coverage...but I caught a bit of Olberman and company the other night, and I concur in the imagery you suggest.

I think they would've beaten Monica Lewinsky to the zipper(s)....

RevRon's Rants said...

Choreographed? Sure. Trolling for adulation? Sure. Media complicity? Of course. But can you imagine a candidate who fails to engage in theatrics that are transparent to intelligent viewers? Shades of Zorba the Clerk! Not only would electoral failure be guaranteed, obscurity would be inevitable.

Remember... Obama is playing to a public that elected George W. Bush, albeit narrowly. Twice!

Steve Salerno said...

"...a public that elected George W. Bush...twice!"

A frightening thought, Ron. And you know what's even more frightening? I was among them, at least the first time.

Thanks for the reality check.

Anonymous said...

How was it a surprise when it was on the bottom of my TV screen that Obama was going to make a "surprise" appearance? Doesn't announcing the "surprise" no longer make it a "surprise"?

I watched Fox and MSNBC, because I want to know what it feels like to be bi-polar. Trash talking Hannity with Rove juxtaposition to salivating Olbermann was quite a two TV spectacle of American media. I do not think I can watch Obama tonight. Olbermann will climax on camera and Hannity’s head will explode with misused "Lincoln was a Republican" remarks. Is that ALL Hannity knows about American history?

Anonymous said...

How much you want to bet Obama is going to bring up today is the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech? How much you want to bet it will be the heart of Obama’s speech? It is no coincidence that Obama is accepting his party’s nomination on the anniversary of this speech. Biden briefly mentioned it last night.

Steve Salerno said...

Look, I'll settle merely for his not being shot at tonight, which would make a truly chilling irony out of the MLK coincidence. I wouldn't even mention the possibility, were it not for the other day's arrests outside Denver.

mikecane2008 said...

>>>Apparently the networks found out about all this somehow

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I'm not watching any of it. But tomorrow I'll look up Obama's Speech on YouTube to see.

I'm certain you'll do a post, so I better not stop by here first.

RevRon's Rants said...

To be honest, I'll not only be watching all tonight, I'll be observing the Republican gladfest when it hits the air. It pays to know as much as possible before making a decision... including how well a candidate can move a crowd.

Mike Cane said...

Well, RR, to really see *all*:

Free Speech TV: Ralph Nader In Denver

RevRon's Rants said...

Mike, I've been watching, listening to, and reading Nader for decades. At one time, I thought he was a crusader for the common good, but that image eroded pretty quickly. He's in it for his own fame. Go beyond his scripts, and read what many of his volunteers & staff have to say about him. You might be surprised.

mikecane2008 said...

@RR: Now you are repeating yourself. You already gave me that link, right?