THE PLANK JULY 30, 2008
In the comments to Mike's post about McCain's chief strategist calling Obama "the biggest celebrity in the world," bigfish suggested that McCain's strategy is to portray Obama as the Hollywood version of Gore and Kerry:
I think we're seeing an attempt to rebrand Obama by the GOP in a somewhat different way than they tried to brand Kerry and Gore. If, to the GOP, Kerry and Gore were establishment career Washington Liberal Insiders, people who spent so much time in New York and Washington dreaming up big-government schemes that they only saw consequenses in the abstract for the Hard Working American. Kerry and Gore were the East Coast Liberal.
Think of this frame: Obama is the West Coast Liberal. He is young, good-looking, and atheletic. The press follows him around, and everywhere he goes, he is hounded by flashbulbs and people trying to shake his hand. He is truly a celebrity, jetting around the world to speak to large crowds. His wife and kids are interviewed by celebrity magazines, and his face is constantly in the tabloids. The Barack-star is even going to turn the Democratic Convention into a Superbowl Halftime show! He is a symbol of what American wants to be. He's outgoing, comfortable in his own skin, and speaks eloquently. He has millions of fans, many of them are young, and some people have even fainted at the sight of him! But, there's a question. Do we want him as President? Where's the beef? Obama would be someone your kids would want to meet, sure, and you'd also probably have a good time talking to him, but do you want him leading the country? Obama is an actor, infinitely comfortable playing any role that's required, and he plays it with a smile. Ask about his accomplishments, and supporters will tell you about his personality. Ask about what he wants to do for the country, and he will tell you what you want to hear. Unlike the East Coast Liberal, his positions aren't even determined by polls! They're determined by how personally popular it makes him. He hasn't spent enough time in the trenches of politics like McCain has been doing for a long time. He hasn't had to compromise or get angry with anyone, except when he sees personal slights, like when he confronted Lieberman or kicked the New Yorker reporter off the plane. It is vanity that is driving his campaign, not the good of the country. You thought it was bad when the Clintons governed according to polls and the DNC. How much worse will it be when Obama leads according to the editorial boards of Us Weekly and GQ? Obama is a West Coast Liberal. There's no substance behind the sunglasses and speeches.
Again, I don't agree with this frame one bit, but I think I see it coming into sharper relief.