Bland like him


If Barack Obama becomes president, historians will marvel at the restraint he demonstrated throughout his campaign. John McCain and his surrogates, they'll recall, tried attack after attack: they cast Obama as arrogant, disrespectful, a friend to terrorists, a latter-day Eugene Debs. But rather than firing back--and risking coming across as an Angry Black Man--Obama stayed calm and kept hammering home his "Change" message.

That brings us to tonight's half-hour Obama infomercial, which took Obama's aforementioned restraint to new heights. I actually thought the program was surprisingly boring: Obama can be incredibly dynamic, but he sure wasn't this evening--and that includes his strangely flat "live appearance" following the big show.

That was probably the point, however. Obama's audience today was that very slim segment of Americans who, for one reason or another, still haven't figured out who they're going to vote for next week. Presumably, these people are dissatisfied with the status quo and/or John McCain, but not quite comfortable with the prospect of actually voting for Obama. And so we got a TV special which, rather than playing up Obama's charisma or eloquence, paints him as a nice, ordinary guy--in a word, safe--who gets the sufferings of his fellow regular Americans.

I suppose that's smart politics, but it was hardly must-see TV. The good news is, I expect to sleep well tonight. 

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