During the 2008 campaign, Fast Company magazine called Obama a brand. Sadly, it turns out that they were right. Like most brand advertising, Obama identified with people and projected the things people wanted for their country, without having the will or ability to deliver. He lifted up a new ideal of government, creating at the same time a great height to fall from. He had a huge job that required Lyndon Johnson or FDR or Truman levels of courage and skill to pull off. But he hasn’t displayed that talent, the ability to push for common ground while being simultaneously willing to smack the opposition.
When Republicans campaign, they’re nasty bastards. They will do ANYTHING to win. If you want to sell a war, talk about mushroom clouds over American cities. If you want to boost the debt to sky high levels, suggest that gays getting married will cause the collapse of the civilization. If you’re opposed by a war hero, make him look like a total pussy. Mitt Romney’s multiple positions on everything tells you everything you need to know. They just put their heads down and charge.
Democrats on the other hand need to look like they’re fair. They want to be seen as standing on the moral high ground and knowing what’s best for all of us. They say they want everyone to get along when in reality they just want everyone to think like them or shut up. They want to be superior, but are inept at using power. They act like a brand new manager who believes the title should give them respect and action from subordinates. As most of us know, those managers get smoked, usually by one of their underlings. The next job you see them at they’re the boss from hell.
All you have to do is look at our entertainment and you know which leadership style will win. First down and one, slam dunk, collision at home plate. Venomous exchanges of over meaningless issues on reality television. The Apprentice, Shark Tank, Jersey Shore. Humiliation, degradation, deception, brutality. IN YOUR FACE! America is a country that loves to see a good beating. So who’s going to dominate in that environment? People who want to talk about issues or people who say the other guy is a mouldering pile of dung?
Rush Limbaugh is a disgusting, unpatriotic liar. Twenty million people take their cue from him daily, many without questioning what he says. Why? Because he has balls. He’s like the uncle with the cigar that slings foul language and outrageous statements, generally punctuated with racial slurs, that you secretly admired as a kid. You knew he was wrong, but unlike everyone else, he said what he thought and didn’t care about it. There is no counter viewpoint that is half as powerful as Rush because liberal Republicans (read the current Democratic party) need to play fair and get along.
It’s amusing when people talk about the left wing media. There are no liberals today. There are liberal Republicans (the Democrats) and insane Republicans (the teabaggers). On this continuum, Obama is far right of Johnson, FDR and about as far left as Nixon. Yet, Democrats are called liberals, even communists, by the right. It’s all because they lost control of their brand and they owe it all it to Bill Clinton.
The Democrats that feared their party would lose it’s identity when Bill Clinton took over were right after all. The Clinton revolution got a lot of things done, good and bad, because it pulled the Democrats and Republicans closer together on many issues, mainly how they could produce temporary prosperity while lining their patrons pockets. It also pushed the radical right into fascism. Government, as envisioned by the founders, is just not entertaining enough. ‘Business friendly’ Bill helped engineer the financial current crisis we’re living through. Bush perfected it. Obama will stumble through, and perhaps be consumed by, it. If elected, Romney will be playing the role of Nero.
Today we have a war (with multiple simmering hot spots), a depression (which will be revealed by history) and threats to our constitution by continuous insults (the latest being unlimited lobbying rights for transnational corporations). Guantanamo is still open. We still torture. Bankers still get their bonuses. Financial chicanery is practiced at an advancing clip. A vacuum pump has been attached to our assets. And at the controls: Democrats and Republicans locked in that perfect deadlock that assures nothing will change except the amount in their contributor’s bank accounts.
It’s a reality show where you’re tormented by one host and patronized by the other, and you don’t even need a TV to see it.