REMIND ME AGAIN: WHAT BENEFIT WAS OBAMA SUPPOSED TO DERIVE FROM THE BERLIN SPEECH?
(Plus: a guy who's really obsessed with Obama and blond women)
Is it possible that we're going to look back on the Berlin speech as the moment Barack Obama lost the election? It's given him nothing but trouble -- after a visit to the Middle East that was virtually all positives. What exactly was the speech supposed to accomplish? I really can't figure that out. I know what it did accomplish: It gave McCain and the Republicans a huge peg on which to hang many, many negative ideas about Obama (totalitarian, cult leader, vacuous, vain ... add your own to the list). And now it's led to the Paris/Britney ad, which led to charges of race baiting, which led Obama to charge McCain with racism at a moment when McCain had sufficient deniability to turn the accusation around and put Obama on the defensive again.
All this from one high-profile speech. Hey, good thing Obama's not going to try to make any more big rock-star speeches to mega-crowds. Oh wait -- yes he is, when he accepts the nomination. Dammit, how do we stop him? How do we get him back into the convention hall for that speech?
Not to pat myself on the back, but even before the speech took place -- back when McCain was running his press-loves-Obama videos -- I wrote this, and the only thing I got wrong was the gender of the celebrities he'd be compared to:
This all makes me wish Obama would turn around and come home right now, before he gets to Europe. He's established his foreign policy bona fides; far too much of what's left is the movie star/sex god part, and that has the potential to hurt him in Nixonland. This is the part where he runs the risk of seeming less like a political figure and more like a celebrity with political notions -- Richard Gere talking to the Dalai Lama or, to put it in Nixon-era terms, Warren Beatty in a turtleneck flashing a peace sign next to a kohl-eyed ingenue in a miniskirt.
And yes, as I said yesterday, I'm inclined to think McCain's Paris-Britney ad is saying that Obama is a ditzy blond (celebrity) chick, not saying he wants to have sex with blond chicks -- surely there are photos and videos of Obama greeting (i.e., having close contact with) admirers who happen to be female and blond, possibly even in Berlin, where I'm told blondness is fairly common; it would have been easy for Team McCain to slip such images into the ad, insisting that the only point intended was that Hollywood Obama makes some starstruck people go ga-ga. There's nothing like that, so I think the point is that Obama's the bimbo -- or, as John Aravosis says, that Obama's a big swish:
I know a thing or two about gay-baiting. I've been working on gay civil rights issue since the early 1990s....
Yesterday, a McCain spokesman described Obama as fussy and prone to hysterics. A few days earlier, we were told that Obama was "flitting" around Europe. And before that, a GOP operative called Obama "a fancy lad." Also, who is Obama compared to in the latest McCain ad? ... Two women, and kind of ditzy women at that - Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Let's review. A fussy, fancy lad who flits around Europe, is prone to hysteria, and reminds you of ditzy blonde chicks. Sorry, but that's a stereotypical gay guy.
But maybe it doesn't matter, because some people already have the black man/blond woman sex combination on the brain. Have you seen the site for Obama's Chocolate Nuts?
Yeah, this is a really high-minded product. The scantily clad blonde interacting with the nuts (occasionally on all fours) can be seen in action in promotional videos (on the site and at YouTube). Bring the kiddies.
David Feingold, the proprietor of OCN, is a comedian and has no connection to the McCain campaign -- he seems to have ties the Barely Political crowd, the people who brought you Obama Girl (which would explain the Obama Girl vibe here). He thinks Obama's African grandmother "looks like Aunt Jemima" and, having concluded that he can't support Obama because, in his opinion, Obama was inadequately dismissive of Louis Farrakhan, he now riffs that Obama sends him fund-raising letters addressed to "Dirty Jew Jewerstein." I guess hubba-hubba thoughts about Obama and blondes just go together with that kind of angry, ethnicity-obsessed thinking naturally -- for him and probably for a lot of other people.