It looks like I should be leaving from Paris on the same day that Barack Obama arrives. This is not a mistake, actually: France just isn't big enough for two American male divas, thank you very much! If you'll remember, I missed the game of "hey, let's get the olympic torch!" when I was in Paris, and now it looks like I will miss the European leg of Obamapalooza. I really hope he is not flying into Charles de Gaulle Airport that morning (and that's hope you can believe in!).
Obama really is a diva. I'd imagine that, if he does get elected, he will be carried in to his State of the Union addresses on a chaise lounge carried by Roman slave girls who are also feeding him grapes. You get the feeling sometimes that going from regular old Barack Obama to President Obama will be something of a step down for him. He might be planning it as a stepping stone towards running for Zeus.
Republicans, meanwhile, are acting like jealous high school girls who didn't get asked to the Prom by the star quarterback. The press focuses on Obama 75% of the time and only grudgingly mentions that he hasn't been elected as of yet. The republicans want McCain to get more attention dammit! He wears a new tie and nobody even mentions it! John McCain is still big- it's the pictures that got small!
One wonders if trying to get McCain into the spotlight is such a great idea anyway. He has a tendency, not unheard of among politicians, to- and this is the psychological term- say some incredibly stupid shit. I've avoided making fun of it here because it feels distasteful to make fun of a senior citizen for the occasional faux pas. But, everytime I watch him speak, I think of Leslie Nielson! And, the problem is that, in spite of being a charming old man, he still wants to be President; if he makes it, we can't just humor him into thinking that the economy has recovered, we've beaten the terrorists, and we all want to hear his war stories again for four to eight years.
The Republicans do have a point that Obama has... let's say an uncomfortably developed grasp of theatrics for someone who will face serious real-world issues. He also says some stupid things, but he does so with a sense of verve! The lack of experience isn't the problem- if we really want "experience", we should go back to the aristocracy and leaders who come from generations of experience. The problem is that Obama's warm and fluffy lines about "hope" and "change" are reassuring and comfortable... but, then you wonder if he's trying to punk us. Will he get elected and turn into Putney Swope? "I'm in the statusphere, baby, and I ain't comin' down for nobody, not even you!" I know that's an obscure reference, but find that movie- it's great!
Most people say they want a leader with an iron-clad mind and stuffy manners, and with no sense of the theatrical... well, until their guy is pretending to cut driftwood on his ranch while dressed as a cowboy, or playing some basketball with the troops, that is. I think that most of us would honestly prefer to vote for someone who promised to just play the role of the President while staying out of trouble. We want a stuffed shirt who can deliver a few applause lines when we pull a string in his back. At least I do. I worry that Obama won't let his team do the thinking for him- or that McCain will let his team do the thinking for him!
Actually, the Republican gripes about Obama as a "rock star" and an "actor" ring hollow for those of us who grew up in the 80s with a real actor playing the President while remaining mostly uninterested in very much beyond the roar of the crowd. I remember worrying when Grandpa Reagan said in an interview that he had fought in World War II and helped to liberate the concentration camps- he hadn't, but he appeared in a movie in which he did! But, looking back, I think he was on to something. People remember Reagan as a great President in the same way that they remember Ward Cleaver as a great father: there's no real specifics to it, just a vague persona that he projected for eight years. Like television, the President has a crew backstage doing all the work, while they deliver the lines.
Maybe this is as it should be. Back in the old days, when Presidents didn't take the action figure theatrics so seriously, there was this system of what we called "checks and balances" that largely kept them from having too much power- sort of like the Queen of England. And back in those days we used to watch movies on plastic tapes! We've given too much power to the President, and the government in general, and forgotten how it was back in the good old days when the leader was an amiable idiot who knew how to give a good line reading. If anyone really cares who leads the country, and I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would at this point, it's probably better to avoid the leading actors' performances altogether and look for who they have doing the work behind the scenes.