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Obamafied, Obamania, Obamamatopoeia and... suddenly Sarah! Obamafied, Obamania, Obamamatopoeia and... suddenly Sarah!
by Saberi Roy
2008-10-20 08:43:03
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The US elections have until now seen many twists and turns and continue to remain one of the most interesting political shows in recent times with new tactics, new debates and new vocabulary. Obama’s rise has been meteoric since he was only a junior senator from Illinois and his personal abilities have helped him to overcome racial and many other barriers to become the presidential nominee for 2008.

Not without the downsides of being repeatedly targeted as a Muslim and friend of radicals, criticized for his past cocaine abuse and marked as ‘that black presidential nominee’. Obama’s race has been a subject of discussion since his days at Harvard, although he is actually mixed race and his ethnic background has been both an advantage and disadvantage.

His ethnicity remained a topic of controversy, discussion and actually drew media attention to him – the possibility of a first black president was both progressive and even unbelievable for some. Along with his immense personal appeal and ability, the other controversies of race and religion and even the possible recession began a media phenomenon and not only the US public but also people around the world were subject to the process of ‘obamafication’.

Doses and doses of Obamanews, Obamapics all over the world, on the internet and almost everywhere for that matter have probably made Obama the most photographed and reported about celebrity politician in the world. Did the overexposure hurt? Well, it did for a while and like everything else the major public appeal of Obama faded for a few months. The new phenomenon was Sarah…

John McCain, his political opponent and McCain’s aides were both supported and derided for playing the race card and reminding people of Obama’s background in a way that has done considerable harm to the McCain campaign. On his side, John McCain brought in a new variable – Sarah Palin his running mate and vice presidential candidate. Well let’s say if Obama has race as his downside and upside, Sarah Palin has her gender as the downside and upside.

When Hillary was in the picture, women were enthusiastic, she had all the support of women and after Hillary receded to the background there was a certain void, an emptiness caused by the lack of female voice in the political campaigns and Sarah Palin came in and filled that void, she came with a message of change, with that female softness people wanted in the campaign and immediately caught public attention.

She became a phenomenon overnight and filled Hillary’s void, added colour and glamour to the Republican presidential campaign and as is the characteristic of our short term attention span, media focus shifted from Obama’s issues to Sarah Palin the attractive female vice presidential candidate’s moves and actions. McCain definitely played his political game right, only that he would have been really lucky if Sarah Palin was another Hillary Clinton, but unfortunately she is not.

As they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover and no matter how many beauty pageants Sarah Palin has been inspiring, she has not inspired too many journalists, politicians and analysts. Her understanding of foreign policy is limited as obvious from many of her interviews and in politics, knowledge is power. Politics is finally a battle of wits and Sarah Palin may not be too much of a wrong choice for a governor but definitely not the right choice for a vice president.

She has to go through considerable in-house training to improve her understanding of policies and politics and a vice president of United States cannot be a trainee. Only if Sarah Palin had the knowledge and the ability that a vice president should have, the elections could have taken an unusual turn.

Obama’s media overexposure hurt for a while and the public and media got bored and sought solace in the fresh attractive face of Sarah Palin, it was that waning of interest just as when the first rush of adrenalin cools down after those initial dates with a romantic partner. With the possibilities of a US recession and Bush’s report card on Iraq war, support for Republicans has been dwindling, although Obama’s personal appeal and politics have helped this election more than any general apathy in Republican politics.

So, the US elections have not actually highlighted negative anti-Bush, anti-Republican or anti-establishment sentiment but rather showed positive pro-Democratic, pro-change political attitudes in people. Now of course, attention is moving back to Obama, and suggests stability in the mindset of Americans so now he is able to raise a few more millions for the last leg of his campaign as more and more influential people endorse him – Obama brings progress and change, a certain straightforwardness and vision, political zeal and articulation, and stuff that US presidents should be made of.

   
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Emanuel Paparella2008-10-20 09:58:51
After eight years of intellectual wasteland, to actually have in the White House a President that can grasp, reflect upon, and explain ideas rather than dabbling with clichés and caricatures and false assumptions, will be a breath of fresh air. Mc Cain choice of Sarah Palin reveals to the perceptive observer that he too is comfortable with shallow understandings of complex issues, to wit the slogan “country first” and its nefarious implications. Moreover, what ought to also be mentioned in this context is that while the term “maverick” may conjure up independent and autonomous thinking, to others it is tantamount to erratic and schizophrenic behavior, especially when the one claiming such dubious virtue also has a short temper hardly kept in check; it is exactly what is not needed in times of crisis, economic or otherwise. The election of Mc Cain-Palin would mean an unmitigated disaster for this country and the world at large.


Sand2008-10-20 16:00:34
Unfortunately the disaster has already occurred. Whether Obama can mitigate it is a question that is not obviously answered in his voting record which frequently supported Bush's policies in Iraq and the recent very expensive domestic give-away to bolster up the failing Wall Street firms and which approaches none of the fundamental domestic policies that are destroying the US economy. I agree McCain is an obvious total disaster but Obama has yet to offer real strong policies for US sanity.


Thanos2008-10-20 16:12:40
I'm afraid Palin brought one more thing, doubt for the quality - not say the brains - of the politicians and if Arlnold is a Californian joke, Palin is a dangerous twist.


Saberi2008-10-21 19:12:10
yeah I agree, quality is a factor and lot of expectations from Obama - he has to deliver


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