Superstar Obama

McCain came out with this ad a couple weeks ago (the only one I found includes Obama’s response . . .)

While this advertisement has been criticized because of its association of Obama with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, I do believe there is some validity in this comparison. The reality is, Obama is a highly marketable and likeable guy. He does not look like the majority of Americans, but Will Smith has that same issue, but that doesn’t stop people from adoring him. Obama has character, he is witty, a fantastic orator, and he is a handsome man. I give props to Obama’s Campaign, but their job – in some regards – has been as easy as convincing a teenage boy that Nike Shoes is a better company than Wal-Mart Shoes.

(I will say that it perhaps would have been more accurate for the Ad to compare Obama to Will Smith and George Clooney rather than two starts who have, in the past couple years, gone through a multitude of pubic problems and media scrutiny)

A prime example of Obama’s status is magazine covers. Barack Obama has been on a plethora magazine covers since January 2008 and been pictured in countless other articles. He has received more coverage than most celebrities get over their whole career. And these magazines are not just Newsweek and Time; they run the gamut from Ebony & GQ to (Women’s Health & Christianity Today).

If Obama was running away with the election, I could understand why the majority of magazines featured him rather than his major opponent, John McCain. However Obama isn’t. The race is tight. Some believe this race will be tighter than the 2000 race. The real difference maker is that Obama simply is more attractive. He is relatively young, handsome, in shape, has attractive skin tone (a tan white person or a lighter skinned black person) & has a strikingly debonair face. Obama knows this; he loves this, which is why he has been so willing to be a Presidential Candidate and a model on the side.

Although, I personally do not take any more offense to advertisement than I do to most negative ads, I wonder how effective it really is. Don’t’ people already see Obama as a superstar? Hasn’t the media been portraying him in this way for the past 8 months? I understand that McCain wanted to attack Obama’s credibility, but really, if that was going to work wouldn’t Obama have already felt those ramifications? And really was there anything substantial in the advertisement.

Perhaps, there is something wrong in Obama’s celebrity status, it doesn’t reflect the humility some people would want, suggests that Obama enjoys the power and limelight and countless other viable options. Perhaps McCain is making some very accurate points. However, most people watching TV at night aren’t going understand what McCain wants to say when he is just reminding us of who Obama already is.

In response to this advertisement Obama had an interesting response, ‘”What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.” I understand where he is coming from and agree that there are certain people who are emphasizing how different Obama is than the “typical presidential candidate”. However, John McCain and his campaign ad said nothing about this. The advertisement spoke about Obama’s celebrity status, a celebrity status which most in America would agree with, especially our popular media.

Personally, I believe Obama was trying to play the race card to his advantage. Even his tone suggested that McCain was inferior and that McCain was somehow attacking his appearance rather than how he appears. There are a variety of ignorant people who dislike him solely because he is bi-racial, a.k.a. not White and/or because his name is African and Arabic, which of course makes him a Muslim (there are also ignorant people who are voting for him solely because he isn’t White., one of these groups is at least 20% of his Black supporters). However, the reality is most people in America don’t like the thought of even perhaps, contemplating on considering the possibility of being called racist. Racist is not at the status of a racial slur, but for some folks if sure seems to be getting close.

Obama is intelligent and a politician, he plays the power play when he can. But contorting McCain’s advertisement into a comment about McCain being xenophobic and trying to make Obama dissimilar to the traditional American President was a little unfair, misdirected.

  1. i think you make a good point, but the real issue is this, the race isn’t going to be close (at least right now) and unless McCain does something different, he’s finished.

    i think that Obama is a celebrity because the world connects with his message and his policies, while only Americans connect with McCain. some say (but i disagree with them) that the US President should be decided and voted on by the whole world, because the US president has so so much power and influence over the entire world. If that were true, then Obama would win by a super enormous crazy huge landslide.

    So, here was have a presidential candidate who is already influencing the nation by connecting with the people (have you noticed that even Bush is looking for a “time horizon” on withdrawing troops from Iraq) vs a presidential candidate who thinks we ought to have a “gas tax holiday” (gimmick).

    • elliek
    • August 12th, 2008

    Josh, I really appreciate your thoughts on this. Unfortunately when I went to watch the video it was no longer available, but I have been hearing talk about this on the radio and have read a couple other items. I think McCain’s advertisement highlighting Obama as a superstar is interesting also in light of McCain’s participation in Saturday Night Live…seems like something a ‘star’ would do…maybe he’s trying too…

    Honestly, I’m somewhat ashamed of my lack of knowledge and persistance on keeping up with the presidential race this year, but it’s always good to read what you’ve been mulling over in your head.

    Tell Alyssa hi and that I miss her!

  2. Thanks for responding guys. Adam, I understand that you think Obama is going to run away with the nomination, but I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Most polls are saying that the race is still fairly close and I believe that it will be close. Because Obama is more of a celebrity it is perceived that McCain doesn’t have a chance, but I don’t think that is the case. Polls say White Evangelical Christians are still overwhelmingly voting McCain, Older people are voting McCain and Independents are up in the air. I also think that being young makes us believe that Obama is running away with the race because many young people are out there supporting Obama.

    Yea, I do think Obama is connecting with the world, but regardless of that people still don’t really know what he would do as President (specifics) or how he would behave. I think this is going to turn out to be an interesting election year.

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