Fashions change. Style is forever.
Pet rocks, MC Hammer, leg warmers, beanie babies, pokemon, bell bottoms, circle skirts, fedoras, pageboys, narrow pants, baggy pants, shift dresses, jazz suits, hoola hoops, spats – all were the fashion in their day. All these fads and fashions eventually gave way to newer fashions. Movie stars, music stars, politicians, all eventually give way to the new – only a few of the “new” achieve “classic” status.
Americans love the “new”. Young Americans especially love the “new”. The problem with being the “new” however, is that you get “old” very quickly these days.
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Barack Obama was “new” to the American national political scene in 2004. By early 2007 Obama was the “new” presidential candidate. In 2004 John Edwards was the “new” in the national political scene too. By 2007 John Edwards is the old.
There is a growing anger from both Barack Obama and John Edwards as they contemplate the parade passing them by. In late August we took note of these faded roses from days gone by. The Chicago Sun-Times too noticed Obama beginning to ‘get tough’ as the going got rough.
And it worked well, initially. He was considered a fresh voice, a candidate of the young, someone in the mold of John F. Kennedy. And then the crowds started to dissipate. Obama didn’t do as well as his aides had anticipated in the presidential debates and forums. He paused a second or two too long at times. He seemed awkward. He made a few gaffes. A poised Hillary Clinton was often declared the winner.
At the same time, the Washington Post noticed the political calculation that drives Obama’s flowery talk.
As these two faded stars of yesteryear now inventory their failed fortunes together, they are doing what all former stars do: fight to keep the limelight away from the “new” stars. This fight for the spotlight is the latest drama in this political Sunset Boulevard.
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Recently, Obama supporters raged at the on-line clamor for Vice President Al Gore to run for President. John Edwards supporters were none too pleased either. Every mention of Al Gore’s name was viewed as a rebuke to the candidacies of these two men. Al Gore, derided by Naderites in 2000 as “Al Bore” had transcended fashion and become a “classic”. Many followers of fashion declared they would bolt the losing campaigns of Edwards and Obama to join the latest fad. Al Gore, deservedly so, was back in fashion. But the Gore campaign was not to be.
Enter Stephen Colbert.
Stephen Colbert declared on his funny and very popular show – very popular particularly among young Americans – that he would run for President on the Democratic and Ripublican lines in South Carolina. Colbert, instantly became “the new”. 1.2 million mostly young supporters instantly signed up to support Colbert on the Facebook website. Those 1.2 million Colbert supporters Obama could not help but look at with a lean and hungry look. Obama’s own Facebook efforts aimed at attracting one million supporters had long since choked at one-third that amount.
Colbert instantly became the “new”. Colbert’s popularity surpassed that of Obama’s with the sole demographic Obama was gambling his entire campaign on. What’s more, Colbert threatened Obama in South Carolina – the state that Obama knew he must have.
So Obama did what he has done before – Obama made sure Colbert would not get on the ballot.
Obama, of course, denied he had anything to do with the Colbert Chicago style drive-by shooting. Denial or “blame the staff” is Obama’s typical recourse when caught doing something dirty. In Obama’s Dirty Mud Politics we quoted several examples of Obama’s dirty deeds, as published in Big Media outlets.
The Chicago Tribune traced Obama’s lack of respect for ballot access:
“But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics. His overwhelming legal onslaught signaled his impatience to gain office, even if that meant elbowing aside an elder stateswoman like Palmer.”
“A close examination of Obama’s first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.”
“One of the candidates he eliminated, long-shot contender Gha-is Askia, now says that Obama’s petition challenges belied his image as a champion of the little guy and crusader for voter rights.”
“Why say you’re for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates?” Askia said. “He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?”
Two prominent supporters of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in South Carolina called state Democratic Party officials and urged them to keep funnyman Stephen Colbert’s name off the primary ballot, according to party officials and Obama supporters.
Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign has denied any connection to the phone calls. [snip]
At least one member of the executive council, who requested anonymity, told CNN he felt “pressured” by former State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum to oppose placing Colbert on the ballot.
Tenenbaum, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, is a high-profile supporter of Obama. Her endorsement of Obama in April was touted by the campaign, and she has appeared at several Obama campaign events, including the opening of a campaign headquarters this summer. “She said it wouldn’t be fair to the other candidates. That he [Colbert] wouldn’t be sincere. That he was only running in one state,” said the executive council official.
The official added: “The Obama people, they just didn’t want him at all.” [snip]
Another Obama endorser who regularly appears at campaign events, state Rep. Bakari Sellers, also made phone calls to members of the party’s executive council about Colbert, according to Sellers. [snip]
But the calls raise questions about the Obama supporters’ motives, given their close ties to the campaign and the fact that Colbert and Obama both draw support from a similar demographic.
“A lot of Obama’s support is among younger, college-educated folks, and a lot of Colbert’s watchers are younger, college-educated folks,” said Scott Huffmon, a political scientist at Winthrop University.
“I understand that Obama might potentially lose some voters,” said Huffmon, who also noted that having Colbert on the ballot would likely bring in new primary voters rather than take them from other candidates. “But in a race where every vote counts it’s a valid concern.”
Young, and not so young, idealistic supporters of Obama were warned by us back in early May of 2007 as to Obama’s lack of respect for those who get in his way. [See, Obama’s Astroturf and When Sizzle Meets Fizzle.]
With the dispatch of Colbert’s candidacy a new threat to Obama arises: Ron Paul.
Ron Paul, a Ripublican who opposes the Iraq war, is the latest “new”. Ron Paul is the latest in political fashion.
Recall, the hapless Obama campaign team has an audacious Reagan inspired hope for staving off defeat. Their operational theory is to survive the Iowa caucuses, hopefully with a win. Then the hope is to appeal to independents in New Hampshire – not Democrats which overwhelmingly support Hillary – in order to survive for a final battle in South Carolina, gay-bashing and all.
On Monday, a group of Paul supporters helped raised more than $4.07 million in one day — approaching what the campaign raised in the entire last quarter — through a Web site called ThisNovember5th.com, a reference to the day the British commemorate the thwarted bombing. [snip]
The Paul campaign has raised more than $6.84 million in the first five weeks of this quarter, more than the $5 million it raised from July 1 to Oct. 1. Many of the contributions appeared to come through the independent Fawkes effort, but how much was unclear.
On Monday alone, the campaign signed up more than 21,000 new donors, said Jesse Benton, a campaign spokesman.
The actual total for Ron Paul raised on that one day is $4.34 million dollars.
Ron Paul better watch his back. As Ron Paul increasingly emerges as the fad of the month, Ron Paul threatens Obama. Ron Paul appeals to New Hampshire’s independent voters. These independent voters will flock to vote for Ron Paul, not has-been Obama. Obama no doubt will work across the aisle with his Ripublican buddies to assist in the dispatch of Ron Paul from contention in New Hampshire.
In election year 2000, Bill Bradley was abandoned by New Hampshire’s independent voters who instead supported Ripublican John McCain. Obama, no longer the Lebron James “with game”, will relive old basketball player Bill Bradley’s fate – unless Ron Paul is neutralized.
John Edwards is on a suicide run for Obama. Obama is in a race already lost.
Obama and Edwards will regret the campaigns they have chosen to run. They will have plenty of time, in years to come, as they turn the pages of their autobiographical scrap books.
Hillary will be Living History, again, in the White House. Style, never goes out of fashion.