July 31, 2008

Two Cents on Obrangelina

Justin Katz

You know those small portrait pictures that newspapers include with stories after they've continued from the first page — so that the reader can gain the context quickly from the familiar faces? Well, seeing Obama's and Britney's pictures accompanying the same story in today's Providence Journal, I wondered how many papers around the country have similar juxtapositions. Even knowing the background story, I pictured a celeb-feud between the two, à la Trump and Rosie.

McCain should thank the Obamanation for transforming a relatively mild ad into a national news item that associates the Democrat candidate — fresh from a European tour (now with twice the pretension!) — with publicity-seeking tarts. Look for the next big YouTube video to be an Obama-related takeoff of this guy (explicit language).

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Funny...I recall reading something awhile back that Britney supported Bush (no pun intended).
When Paris was asked if she supported the president, she replied, "No, I prefer Milwaukee's Best."
She can't vote for him, but I'm sure Amy Winehouse would be happy to perform at a McCain fundraiser.

Posted by: rhody at August 1, 2008 12:30 AM

So much for the honorable John McCain who will elevate the discourse of the campaign season. And what about the maverick John McCain? He's now employing Karl Rove's campaign crew.

The ad is outrageous, and not very good anyway.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, and several other Ohio newspapers (you know, that battleground state) have rated the ad 0 out of 10.


Posted by: Pragmatist at August 1, 2008 11:33 AM

Imagine that. The same media outlets that pump our TV's and magazines full of stories about Paris Hilton aren't impressed with the ad.

Funny thing, most of the independents (you know, the actual people that vote) seem to like it.

Posted by: Anthony at August 1, 2008 11:42 AM

You know, I’m with Justin more often than not but this strikes me as sour grapes or at best, something that would come from a strict partisan or someone directly involved in the campaign.

While I support McCain, I understand why any candidate would want to capitalize on the reaction he is getting. I have no doubt that John McCain or any candidate would do the same. The sad truth is this is how campaigns are won in today’s culture. Celebrity, style and perception count more than substance. The line between celebrity, entertainment and politics is very thin. And that is not based on political ideologies.

I think it’s beneath the AR writers to complain about this when it benefits the person the opponent. In other words, if the situation was reversed, I think they would be singing a different tune.

Posted by: msteven at August 1, 2008 1:01 PM

Obama cancels a trip to visit wounded troops after he's told that he can't bring the paparazzi.

If Obama were a Republican and had done that, I don't think anyone on this blog would be "singing a different tune".

Posted by: Anthony at August 1, 2008 6:01 PM


I think you're missing the whole thrust of the reaction to Obama and, therefore, misunderstanding my post. Sour grapes? Hardly. I'm supremely amused by the spectacle.

What you're missing is that the downside of trying "to capitalize on the reaction he is getting" is that doing so to excess is a bit like running too fast downhill. You open up parodic opportunities for the opposition. That (well, that and a bit of integrity manifested as humility) is why many politicians would make a show of dismissing supernatural claims about themselves. (I believe McCain in particular would do so, although I'd note that I don't particularly like him.)

But it's an interesting question what tune we'd be singing were the roles reversed. (N.B. --- You don't, of course, pose that as a question, but as an assumption.) Such hypotheticals are difficult to address objectively, but were a conservative Republican to behave as Obama is behaving, I suspect there would only be two possibilities as far as I'd be concerned: Either he or she would have lost his everlovin' mind, or he or she would be jabbing the other side with deliberate actions entirely out of keeping with expectations.

Obama's problem is that his actions fit not only his script, but the script of his entire party, only jacked up to shark-jumping levels.

I'm stumped, in short, by your sense that we're complaining.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 1, 2008 10:28 PM


I certainly understand the downside of the reaction of Obama. It’s what is happening now as you call it, the parodic opportunities for the opposition. But my main point is the hypothetical question, which yes, I do assume – as oppose to assert. I don’t think it’s as much how Obama is behaving as it is the reaction to him. For example, the idea of simply listening to him empowers some people to make dramatic changes and remake their lives. He didn’t say that, one of his supporters did.

But maybe the issue has more to do with how we each perceive John McCain. Of the Republicans who ran, he was the one I respected the most. For me, one if his positives is that he is disliked by most of the popular conservative pundits like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh pundits, who I refer to as entertainers who deal in style over substance. For me, anyone with a conservative track and is hated by them is worthy of a 2nd look.

Looking back, my use of the word “complain” does not accurately represent my view of your response. I don’t think you are complaining, but I still wonder what your response would be to pundits saying what you are about a conservative Republican getting the same reaction as Obama is. You do claim it’s an interesting question.

I agree with you that the Obama-nation has jumped the shark but the unfortunate reality is that shallow, simplistic and indefensible rhetoric is effective in political campaigns, just as negative campaigning.

Posted by: msteven at August 2, 2008 5:11 PM
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