Sunday, May 4, 2008

Beer With Obama

George Stubbs. Horse Attacked by a Lion. From Olga's Gallery.

This Bud’s for You

Published: May 4, 2008

In her amazingly clever scheme to beto expense all her bar bills, Maureen Dowd still on her Vice City tour of the Democratic primary has tracked Obama to a VFW hall straight out of an episode of The Honeymooner’s or All In The Family depending on your age and reference point.
Bleeding white voters in North Carolina and Indiana, the Illinois senator headed Thursday evening to V.F.W. Post 1954 in North Liberty, Ind., consisting of a bar, a pool table, a Coors Light clock and a couple of dozen curious white guys.

Checking out what the vets were drinking, he announced, “I’m going to have a Bud.” Then, showing he’s a smart guy who can learn and assimilate, he took big swigs from his beer can, a marked improvement on the delicate sip he took at a brewery in Bethlehem, Pa.
As the campaign reaches the Groundhog’s Day state of déjà vu with it’s endless cycle of predicting, exit-polling, and pontificating, Dowd herself is getting trapped in a self-referential loop of repeated motifs. “Assimilate” was used in the Wright Rampage earlier this week and “delicate” refers back to one of the more feminizing lines Dowd scripted back on January 30:
But Obama is the more emotionally delicate candidate, and the one who has the more feminine consensus management style, and the not-blinded-by-testosterone ability to object to a phony war.
Which fits in well with Maureen’s perception of the Clinton Stategy Du Jour:
Proclaiming that the upcoming elections in Indiana and North Carolina would be “a game changer,” Hillary and her posse pressed hard on their noble twin themes of emasculation and elitism.
It seems that Hillary’s Obama Bashers are late to the party, but what they lack in delicacy they are making up in gusto. Dowd hunts down three examples to make her point:
Cherry-bombing the word “pansy” into the discourse, Gov. Mike Easley of North Carolina said Hillary made “Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.”

Paul Gipson, president of a steelworkers local in Portage, Ind., hailed her “testicular fortitude,” before ripping into “Gucci-wearing, latte-drinking, self-centered, egotistical people that have damaged our lifestyle.”

James Carville helpfully told Eleanor Clift of Newsweek that if Hillary gave Obama one of her vehicles of testicular fortitude, “they’d both have two.”
I think Dowd is just jealous with admiration. This long slogging campaign has nearly run her dry of metaphors and she is resorting to obscure pieces of artwork:
The lioness of Chappaqua is hot on the trail of the Chicago gazelle, eager to gnaw him to pieces, like a harrowing scene out of a George Stubbs painting.
While Lioness of Cappaqua and The Chicago Gazelle would make good Rude Names®, they lack a certain panache. And the lion in the Stubbs painting is really attacking a horse, but Dowd changes that to a gazelle because gazelle are skinny and hop around too much and look like Bambi. And while this passage may seem a little phoned in, she then writes what may be her most brilliant paragraph ever:
Then came the Big Dog, crazy like a fox, for the coup de graceless. Campaigning in Clarksburg, W. Va., he said that his scrappy wife can win working-class voters, as compared with Obama’s Viognier-and-Volvo set.
I called Maureen’s April 23rd outing The Perfect Column, but this is the Perfect Paragraph. For starters, we have not one, but three, Alliteration Alerts®. And Viogner-and-Volvo deserves special attention. I had to go to Wikipedia to discover how pitch perfect the word was:
Viognier is a white wine grape. It is the only permitted grape for the French wine Condrieu in the Rhone valley.
In addition to it’s allusion to pretentious effete wine-swilling liberals, there is something magical about the Big Dog/Crazy Fox/coup de graceless run that is poetry. And when Maureen gets on a roll, she just can’t help recalling Big Bill’s decade old indiscretion, apropos of nothing:
Oh, well, at least Bill didn’t use the word uppity. And don’t you love this paean to rules coming from a man so tethered and humbled by rules that he invented an entirely new sexual etiquette to suit his needs in the Oval Office?
She doesn’t stop at Bill, she lays into Hillary as well (no surprise there) and even her beloved Poppy Bush.
In reality, as first lady, Hillary was renowned for her upstairs-downstairs tussles in the White House, and her high-handed treatment of the little people in the travel office, on the switchboard and on the residence staff.
Yet George H. W. Bush’s attempts to paint over his patrician style with a cowboy veneer was a silly sort of masquerade, obviously engineered by Lee Atwater, who brought the props of pork rinds and country music.
All of this is in service of some theme that Obama should be allowed to be his high-brow self and not have to pander to all the hicks and yokels that actually vote. She even reruns previous Crossword Clue Of The Week® “ensorcel” to get her point across:
Obama, on the other hand, may seem esoteric, and sometimes looks haughty or put-upon when he should merely offer that ensorcelling smile.
That smile is definitely ensorcelling Maureen as she positively drools over the tux-clad handsome politico with the movie star looks. I couldn't find any GoogleImages of Obama in a tuxedo, so I think that is a figment of Maureen's fevered imagination:
It must be hard for Obama, having applied all his energy over the years to rising above the rough spots in his background, making whites comfortable with him, striving to become the sophisticated, silky political star who looks supremely comfortable in a tux. Now he must go into reverse and stoop to conquer with cornball photo ops.
There are plenty of pictures of the Hawaiian-born, Chicago-raised candidate in a cowboy hat, so the corny photo-op part rings true. But that is not the real him, whoever that is.
It’s hard not to be who you are, but it’s doubly hard to be who you’ve strived not to be. Obama not only has to figure out how to unwind with a Bud. He has to rewind his life.
I think Maureen has hit upon a new campaign theme that Obama needs to roll out:

To Good To Have To Campaign.

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