Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama


If you're reading, I have some urgent campaign advice you really need to hear. (And if you're not reading, why not?!?)

First, I want to let you know that you're doing well down here in Southern Illinois, and I'm behind you all the way, but after tonight's primaries I'm a little worried. You're not carrying rural Americans, and I know you want to fill in that gap in your campaign strategy. I've been watching the polls and the primaries, and I don't think your campaign advisors are on top of this. The good news is, it can easily be fixed, so listen up.

I was looking at the state by state results tonight and I couldn't help but notice that in virtually every primary, if you look at the results by county and precinct, there's an undeniable pattern. Hillary takes the rural votes and you takes the cities. The pattern stays true whether you win the state or not. The Obama precincts look like little walled fortresses of urban-hood, strategically placed to fortify the three or four cities in every state from an unwashed peasant uprising.

So far the Team Obama strategy has been working, at least as far as the delegate count goes, but you've taken some hits this week and ... crappola ... you lost Ohio and squeeked out a tie in Texas. You've got to increase your appeal to the folks out there in the hinterlands. There's nothing wrong with what you're saying ... your speeches are a thing of beauty. But, despite the sell-out crowds at your big-venue rallies and the support of virtually every college-aged kid in America, there are too many people who are connecting with Hillary instead of you, and since no one on your payroll will tell you why, I will.

It's the suit.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great suit. I'll bet you paid a lot of money for it, and it makes you look very dignified and polished and Presidential, but it's gotta go. People are talking about it, and not in a good way. Some have taken to calling it the funeral director suit.

Dude. We totally love this picture of you riding the ferris wheel with your girls at the Iowa State Fair. We loved the khaki pants and the blue shirt you were wearing in the infamous "Obama doesn't salute the flag" photo. The swimsuit photo? Also fun and spontaneous. As Ev says, when you aren't wearing the suit you look approachable. Approachable is good.

The suit worked great in the beginning of the campaign. It was easy to picture you giving your Inauguration speech or a State of the Union Address. Why not save it for one of those occasions? For one thing, you talk about change in every speech, but if a man never even changes his suit, how is he going to change the country and the world? These are the questions rural Americans are asking. How will you answer? More to the point, what will you wear when you do?

And I'm sorry we even have to bring this up in America in the 21st century, but the unfortunate fact is, there is an evil faction in this country ... a small but loud-mouthed collective of tiny-brained, hate-mongering, near-illiterate bigots and fear-mongers who are saying you dress like a Black Muslim. Or worse, a Civil Rights leader from the 1950's. Nothing scares the be-jesus out of a racist like a black man in a dark suit. Barack! You've got to put out some of these fires! Wear some jeans and a colorful shirt! Besides giving the bigots less ammunition you'll be sending a message to Joe and Jane Average that you're a guy who can come out from behind the desk, roll up his sleeves and do a day's work.

Consider your formidable opponent. Hillary is the Great Feminist Hope. She came into the race with the admiration, respect, and support of an overwhelming majority of women. She's a savvy politician who knows her strengths, and every day she sits down with her strategists and then goes to her closet. She emerges and takes the stage exuding confidence, just as you do, and displaying her considerable grasp of policy ... in a veritable rainbow of colorful pantsuits that say, "I may be a successful woman, but underneath all the fame and money and power I'm just like you. I'm a wife and mother. I've taken some hits. I've been cheated on and I survived. I've cleaned up puke, changed diapers, dragged myself to dance recitals and school pageants and stayed up half the night building a diorama depicting the Fall of the Roman Empire out of paper mache and Tempera paint. And right after this speech we're all headed over to the Cracker Barrel for Sunday Brunch!" And don't think the couture homage to Ann Richards is completely coincidence, either. She's getting a lot of subliminal messages in there while you're showing up every day in the suit.

(The truth is, she's got as much in common with a farmer's wife in Ohio as a wolf has with a wounded rabbit, but she looks like plain folks and they like it. I refer you again to those county by county maps. )

So here's the deal. We're getting down to the wire, and this could go either way. I'm still believing in you to win the nomination, and sending in donations when I can, and I don't want a thing in exchange for this advice except your promise to lose the suit. Put on the khaki pants or a pair of jeans and a colorful shirt and roll your sleeves up. Show the farmers and beef ranchers and small-town rural folks that you aren't just going to stand around in a suit being a politician. I, and millions of other Americans, really need you to win this presidency. Don't you own some grubbies??

Yours truly,



Anonymous said...

I believe you are right on the money with this post --- Barack does need to lighten up a bit on the sartorial front.

I hope you find a way to e-mail your thoughts to his campaign advisors...


Jazz said...

If he knows what's good for him, he'll take you on as a campaigne advisor. I hate suits (not that it matters since I'm Canadian) and I'm sure lots of Americans do too.

SP said...

I'm indifferent about him. That's why I can't seem to get fully behind him. I don't know if getting rid of that hideous suit is the answer but it sure as hell would help!

Kwach said...

I suspect that Barack is one of those people who finds it easier to own 15 of the same outfits so he doesn't have to think about his clothes and he can concentrate on his work, but we're a very visual species, and there are entire industries devoted to how humans can be manipulated psychologically and emotionally by the use of color in our environment.

It struck me recently that when I watch a video of one of Hillary's speeches the crowd is smaller and more subdued but it's visually stimulating. When I watch Obama's videos the crowd is huge and loud but it's visually drab and monotone. He needs to up the ante and bring something fresh to the campaign right now, and combining his electrifying rhetoric with some visual splash couldn't hurt.

The voters have had ample time to see him looking presidential and getting used to the idea. Now they need to see that he's a fun guy, too!

I have other bits of campaign advice for him, too ... but alas, I don't think he'll be calling to hear them. :(

I'm not completely sure he reads the blog.

Cedar said...

Hey Hillary has a snickerdoodle recipe on her site. Can the man make a good snickerdoodle? Let's talk about what is important here.

Kwach said...

Don't you believe it for an instant. I'd be willing to bet my right arm that Hillary hasn't baked a cookie in a good long time, if ever. She's had staff to do that crap since she was the First Lady of Arkansas.

Did you know, btw, that until the Clinton's left the White House there were only two years of Chelsea's life when she did'nt have the title "First Daughter"?

Cedar said...

She always had the title "First Daughter" she was the their first and last daughter. Oh to have a title in this great country of ours.