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Obama Lacks Sense of Humor - Some Suggested Comeback Lines

Just saw this on Lucieanne.com:

Barack Obama's campaign responded sharply to a new McCain webad depicting Obama as a parody of a biblical prophet. "It’s downright sad that on a day when we learned that 51,000 Americans lost their jobs, a candidate for the presidency is spending all of his time and the powerful platform he has on these sorts of juvenile antics," said spokesman Hari Sevugan. (Snip) The ad, released only on the Internet, is the latest in a series mocking the Democratic nominee.

C'mon, you don't fight humor by sounding like the Church Chat Lady or Aunt Esther. You fight humor with humor. Here are some lines that I thought of on the way home from the gym today:

* I was going to invite Senator McCain to the Transfiguration. Not anymore.
* Ye of little faith.
* Next time he asks for me to heal his melanoma, the answer is "no."
* I'll turn water into wine for him, but I draw the line at being his designated driver.
* I'm surprised Senator McCain didn't say, "I knew Moses; Moses was a friend of mine; Senator Obama, you are no Moses."
* Ironically, more men named "Jesus" will vote for me than will vote for Senator McCain.
* The people want more jobs and less Job.
* This just shows us that the McCain campaign is a non-prophet organization.
* If I'm number one, this ad proves that the McCain campaign is full of number two.

That's how you handle humor.

(cross-posted)

Comments (21)

How about this:

"He stole my thunder. I was going to use that Ten Commandments clip in my next commercial."

"He accused me of being a biblical prophet. Nonsense I say unto him."

There's really no way to spin this. McCain's ads are targeted at that segment of the population who will be motivated by juxtaposing uppity Negros and blond white women (this worked well in Tennessee last time around). Apparently the folks running the McCain campaign have come to the conclusion that, once again, the Republican candidate only stands a chance, by going the gutter route.

The humor route that is suggested would be a waste of time as the segment that those ads are designed to appeal to, are those (ignorant undecideds) described by Ilya Somin in a current post over at the VC.

What is most interesting (and distressing) are those folks who don't get (or at least feign not getting) what is really going on here.

There's really no way to spin this. McCain's ads are targeted at that segment of the population who will be motivated by juxtaposing uppity Negros and blond white women (this worked well in Tennessee last time around).

First, saying it is so does not make it so. Your "interpretation" doesn't get to count as "the truth" unless you first prove it. For me, I don't think of Brittany and Paris as "blonde white women." I think of them as stupid, confused, spoiled little girls, people famous for being famous. Now if you want to talk "blonde white woman," give me Catherine Deneuve circa 1967 any day: http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2008/01/01/catherinedeneuve1_narrowweb__300x362,0.jpg
Third, we're not talking about THAT ad. We're talking about the ONE ad.


Except for Catherine Deneuve, Frank is exactly right (wink).

The alleged racism here is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, the eye belongs to Al. The ad was not about race; it was about the nation's most recent wave of empty celebrity -- into which category some folks think Obama clearly fits. I am one of them. He's a half-term senator who spent half of his half term running for another office. He's got the thinnest resume of any major party nominee in decades. He is the poster child for empty suits. The ad was spot on.

If you wanted to make a political ad extolling the importance of experience and accomplishment in office, you couldn't be making it about Barack Obama.

"If you wanted to make a political ad extolling the importance of experience and accomplishment in office, you couldn't be making it about Barack Obama."

I'm somewhat at a loss here. I had made the assumption that the folks posting to blogs like W4 were somewhat more politically sophisticated then the folks to whom ads like the last three McCain ads were targeted but I may have been wrong.

Unless you didn't vote for a nepotistic slacker with a record of alcoholism and business failure and one and one-half terms as a governor of a state with a weak governor system as his only political accomplishment, your assertion about Obama is merely a reflection of your limits as a political analyst.

We have the candidates we have (for the record I voted for Obama in the California primary). I would have had no problem supporting any of the potential Democratic candidates as, I will assume, you and Dr, Beckwith would have had little problem in supporting any of the likely Republican candidates.

The presidency is an executive post and anyone who can put together a campaign that prevails has demonstrated a certain executive competence. If a resume was totally predictive then Carter and Bush 41 would have been great presidents.

That, as well as his personal story and a solid legislative record that you choose to ignore are reason enough to support him.

The Democratic race was Clinton's to lose and Obama simply out generaled her. McCain won his race more or less by default and a willingness to lie about Romney's position on Iraq. I assume that you really dislike Obama for the same reason that I like him - He will govern from the center-left - and the "record" stuff is spin.

That having been said, if Obama had dumped his disabled wife for a younger, richer one and then decades later embraced (literally) a man who made racist attacks on his family, I would not be able to vote for him as wanting something that badly is usually a good reason for the person not to have it.

As for the ads, I don't blame Dr. Beckwith's wishing to cherry pick. I choose to view things in context and that is that. The last three McCain ads have consisted of one outright lie (the wounded troops one) followed by two racist dog-whistles. Oh, here is another one - note the face on the bill - http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/08/face-it-mccain.html

Political campaigns are subject to constraints as to resources (material and personnel) as well as a hard time limit. There are opportunity costs involved in every decision. If the ads in question weren't targeted to some segment of the electorate; if they were merely humorous diversions intended to amuse better educated, already committed persons, then Dr. Beckwith is accusing the McCain campaign of serious incompetence.

One of the unpleasant realities forced on us by the Electoral College and the two party system is that folks who have not a racist bone in their bodes will, if they have legitimate policy interests, have to support a political party that depends on racists as part of its base. For many years, prior to 1948 and especially prior to 1964, that was the Democratic Party. Since then they have been the base of the Republican Party. It is only natural that the McCain campaign would seek to appeal to that element - every Republican since Goldwater has done so and it has been formal Party strategy since 1968.

It is established Rovean dogma that one attacks ones opponent on his strengths and truth isn't a matter to be considered. Unfortunately for McCain it is impossible to apply this strategy to Obama without injecting race at the dog whistle level - the "uppity" meme is simply unavoidable considering the strengths that have to be targeted and the audience that has to be motivated.

As a side note, I have seen references here that speak of the "electorate" as if candidates addressed a single body. That, of course, is not the case. Data mining techniques have sliced and diced the voting public and campaign messages will be tailored to the audience. It is an indication of the desperate state of the McCain campaign that they would risk the possible downside of the current message or maybe Mencken was right.
.

Al,
You still haven't absorbed the point: The ads weren't racist and Obama has a shockingly skimpy track record, the skimpiest in decades. His celebrity far outstrips his experience and his accomplishment. His experience in national legislature is shockingly light, and in the executive at any level of government non-existent. Those whose thin experience you noted above tower in comparison to Obama.

Your assertion that "anyone who can put together a campaign that prevails has demonstrated a certain executive competence" is foolish and absurd. Being a successful candidate is no indication of being a successful statesman, especially in an era of empty celebrity, of 6-second sound bites, and of the rule of the telegenic.

Admit it, you misinterpreted McCain's ads.

McCain's ads are targeted at that segment of the population who will be motivated by juxtaposing uppity Negros and blond white women (this worked well in Tennessee last time around).

The key difference is that unlike in Tennessee (or in the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary), no one is suggesting that Senator Obama likes to date white blond bimbos (allegedly in order to exploit prejudice against interracial mixing), but that he IS a bimbo just like they are.

According to Al, McCain has to bear the burden of having lived a long, complicated, and accomplished life, one which, by its very nature, increases the likelihood of foibles and mistakes exponentially. Obama, on the other hand, has no such tarnish, and Al finds that attractive, in much the same way that a blank slate is crisper and easier on the eyes than Shakespeare written as graffiti.

By the way, the "Southern Strategy" worked for the Republicans because of the Democratic party becoming the party of abortion, acid, and amnesty, as they used to say it in the early 70s. Because Wallace ran in 68, 72 was really the first year that the Republicans could employ that strategy. But by then the major victories of the civil rights movement were history, and the South was moving far more quickly in racial harmony than Detroit, LA, New York, all in the heart of blue America. What pushed the mostly Christian conservative white southerners to the Republican party were the Democratic party's increased hostility to the values of the heartland. Speaking for myself, I switched parties in 1984 because I could no longer stomach what the party of my parents had become. I was born in Brooklyn, grew up in a dyed-in-the-wool Democratic household in Las Vegas.

Al is wrong. The commercial was not a humorous diversion. It was a point made humorously. I have no doubt that most of my fellow citizens, in all our 57 states, would agree. :-)

One more thing: it's okay to cherry pick cherries, just as it is okay to community organize communities. :-)

That, as well as his personal story and a solid legislative record that you choose to ignore are reason enough to support him.

His solid legislative record is the precise reason I could not support him. The only issue he seems consistent on is an intrinsically evil abomination.

According to Al, McCain has to bear the burden of having lived a long, complicated, and accomplished life,

Yeah, all those pesky, confusing details about who I married, when I married her and when I decided to trade her in for a newer, shinier, if more vacuous model.

Or is it complicated to remember what you said a few hours before at a campaign stop in front of Hoagie's bait shop?

It's very complicated and confusing to recall that you were a staunch opponent of torture before you sold out yet again, and supported it so that the deep thinkers that make up the base of your party are sufficiently satisfied that you'll continue to torture those evil brown people.

It must be very complicated to remember that you were caught up in one of the biggest banking scams in this nation's history, then decided to be a reformer for campaign finance, but when it came down to brass tacks, it's just easier to forget you actively breaking the law that bears your name.

Very complicated stuff. What about that complicated war? I mean, who has time time to read a map before opening their mouth? Maps are complicated and hard to understand when you display the intellectual depth of a third-grader. Those one on one sessions with Bush really paid off.

It's all just soooo complicated, that uppity negro has no idea what complicated means.

Now on to accomplishments. Got shot down -- check. Got tortured --- check. Dumped first wife for rich heiress -- check. Turned my back on every principled position I have ever espoused -- check. Now that's accomplishment baby!

"Now on to accomplishments. Got shot down -- check. Got tortured --- check. Dumped first wife for rich heiress -- check. Turned my back on every principled position I have ever espoused -- check. Now that's accomplishment baby!"

Remember, McCain was shot down and tortured by the Vietcong supported by the very people that introduced Senator Obama to politics: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,354181,00.html.

"Uppity Negro?" Wow. Why you would bring Clarence Thomas into the conversation? :-)

For a relatively light entry, it sure is bringing out some ugly responses, returning us to the subject of being humor-challenged.

Nice insight, Scott. I think the reason is that for many on the Left, though certainly not all, politics is their religion. The running culture war that started with Hiss v. Nixon is the "Genesis" of the "biblical" narrative that percolates beneath the present Obamillenialism that its followers religiously believe will break through the blue-state/red-state political geography.

Because I don't think McCain is running for Messiah on the Christian ticket, reeling off his "sins" just doesn't get a rise out of me. I put politics in perspective. My Lord's kingdom is not of this world, and I know that He is the One I am waiting for and that I am unworthy to receive him.

You fight humor with humor.

Obama & his campaign seem to be doing this. Their response to McCain launching yet another ill-advised negative ad (this one featuring Ms. Spears): "Oops, he did it again."

I like a couple of Frank's better, but that's not bad.

But one might wonder if this is the right time for such humor, what with all the serious trouble in the world these days -- for instance, the tense situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border!

The "sins" in question are character issues. They show him to be a self-serving opportunist . Couple that with a bellicose nature and his erratic performances over the past few months and we have someone who simply shouldn't be anywhere near the levers of power (IMO).

As I write I am hearing yet another cut of McCain losing track of things. This part is sad and as I am getting up there myself as well as having recently dealt with this issue in my family and having friends dealing with it in theirs, I take no joy in pointing out that the guy is clearly losing it. This isn't an argument against voting for him for those who are committed for policy reasons as long the the VP choice is reasonable but you all should go into this thing with open eyes. Those who are less interested in specific policy issues should ask themselves if they are willing to take the gamble.

The VC didn't torture McCain, the NVA did. His jailers are war criminals and should be tried and if convicted, hanged just as German and Japanese war criminals were and as our present day war criminals should be. That someone who was tortured himself is willing to torture others as McCain is, is yet another reason to pass on him.

Hiss/ Nixon??? Interesting story and important for Nixon's career but hardly pivotal. Our downhill slide began in 1955 when WFB yelled stop.

I'm waiting to see if Al will say that when Obama compared himself to Paris Hilton that Obama's comparison was "targeted at that segment of the population who will be motivated by juxtaposing uppity Negros and blond white women."

If Al doesn't think so, then perhaps he is one of those folks "who don't get (or at least feign not getting) what is really going on here."

Context dude, context. A few years ago, Stephen Colbert, at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, used a term and made a gesture towards Justice Scalia that had the Justice rolling with laughter. Should some lawyer do the same thing during oral arguments at the SC, I doubt the reaction would be the same.

The quote in question was "targeted" at his fellow dinners at a Gridiron Club dinner. Here it is: ""Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame," says Barack Obama. "I've already had an hour and a half. I mean, I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48523-2005Feb23.html

That was taken at the time as self-depreciating humor - usually considered a positive personal quality. The relentless and moronic parroting of the "celebrity" meme clearly shows that McCain has decided on a Rovean campaign strategy that attacks ones opponent on his strengths.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes not. The banana on the counter will be a tasty addition to my breakfast. A banana at a contest in Sturgis may be something else. Context and nuance are important concepts.

Just as one may sometimes do well by doing good, so may one sometimes have the opportunity to do evil while doing bad.

While the central theme of the McCain strategy is to try and make "celebrity" a dirty word; the form the attacks have taken also have a bonus feature - a chance to once again employ the Southern Strategy.

Perhaps the problem is that you just don't get that or perhaps you prefer denial to coming to terms with the dark side of your political choices: that is for you to work out.


Exactly -- context.

Here's the context of your invidious insults: a national election, in the midst of which you call one side racially bigoted, but not the other, even though the side you exonerate mentions race repeatedly, and whose candidate attributes wickedness and ignorance to one race (much like his former pastor), while the side you condemn does not. In the context of a national election, you play the race card, just like Obama. McCain's campaign asserts that Obama is an inexperienced celebrity. In that context, you invoke race. You assert that even though they are saying the candidate is an inexperienced and under-accomplished celebrity, you assert they're saying he's black. Tell me, honestly, that the election context has nothing to do with your slander.

You haven't proven racism, just asserted it, which is exactly the point Frank made to you at the top of this thread.

Before you assert racism, you'd better be ready with the facts. Who made the ads? What are their names, what are their backgrounds, and what is your evidence that any of them have been or are now racists? Until you provide facts, your scurrilous attribution of racism says far more about you than it does about the unnamed folks you insult with your partisan slurs.

If you could find the money to make and run such an ad outside the context of an election, it would still have racist implications. The folks running Republican campaigns are very bright folks. They know very well that producing an ad that was too close to "Birth of a Nation" simply wouldn't fly today. In fact I will be happy to allow that race may not have been the primary motivator. That is not to say that they also were not looking for a way to play the racial angle; just that the "celebrity" meme may have offered them a twofer.

I don't really care about the motivations or values of the folks who made the thing as the willingness to exploit the concerns of fever swamp denizens doesn't make them racists, just cynical, win at any cost tools.

What do we know? We know that there are folks in Republican campaigns who would use race if it helped them out (Bush v. McCain, South Carolina, 2000) and that there are folks in Republican campaigns who would lie about an opponents war record if it would help them out (Kerry v. Bush, 2004). We also know that there are folks who want to be president so badly that they would embrace the man who was responsible for racial attacks on their family. I don't find it remarkable that we have arguable racist material coming out of such a man's campaign.

All I am asserting is that it is impossible to attack a black man as a "celebrity" within the context of the American electorate without a certain segment of that electorate forming the notion "uppity " about the subject. Was that the intention or just a bonus extra? I don't know and I don't care. All I know is that folks as smart as those running McCain's campaign could hardly be unaware of that potential and they went with it anyway.

You seem to insist on Obama playing by Jackie Robinson Rules and he likely will have to but then Jackie won in the end. We won't know the full story (if we ever do) until someone spill their guts in a memoir but until that happens I like my reading of this.

BTW, Where did this come from: "and whose candidate attributes wickedness and ignorance to one race..."

There are no rules that say how Barack Obama should handle humor. He has his own way of handling things let the guy be the way he is.

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