Will President Obama Go Hard In The Paint Until November?
Mr. President, yesterday I told WEAA radio host Sean Yoes that I would write you an open letter challenging you to cut a re-election promo where you look directly into the camera say “I go hard in the paint.”
I know this may sound like an unseemingly request, Mr. President, but you do special promotional ads for Latino voters, don’t you? If you’re still skeptical, maybe you should consider the viral effect of such a statement. Think about it – the reality is, more people watch ESPN than CNN.
Mr. President, many of your loyal supporters out here in the public are feeling neglected. We read the papers. We know you have a lot on your plate. But for a lot of us, we need to hear it from your lips that you are ready to “go hard in the paint” for the next five months. Because the guys and girls at your campaign headquarters in Chicago, despite their stellar ability to come up with niche market campaign ideas for your rainbow coalition of supporters, aren’t adequately conveying this picture. Getting ten emails a day from your wife Michelle and Joe Biden and your various campaign managers may be informative, but it is not inspiring.
Intellectually, I can understand the argument your brain trust is trying to make – that there are really only eight states (North Carolina will revert to red) that will be in play this fall, so why waste your manpower on needless rallies and flag waving exercises – but what your campaign advisors are missing is the need for your umpteen millions of volunteers to have a visceral level of involvement in some kind of campaign activity.
You’ve got home court advantage, Mr. President. Which means, despite all the stories in the press to the contrary, that you still have the upper hand in this race.
You embarrassed the Republican Party back in 2008, Mr. President. You rewrote the presidential campaign playbook. You took the GOP, the political party that has long prided itself on a get out the vote machine that was supposed to be able to put just about any nominee they ended up with in the White House, to the metaphorical woodshed that fall as your campaign made a mockery of the McCain campaign operation. The billionaires and multimillionaires who backed John McCain, the same ones who are now backing Mitt Romney, are the kind of men who feel that the rest of us exist only because they allow it. These men are still smarting from the beating you gave them back in 2008, Mr. President, and they are willing to spend whatever it takes to put you and the rest of us back in our place.
Mr. President, I want to feel the same way about you that I used to about Michael Jordan whenever he approached the basketball arena. Because everybody knew that Jordan did not come to play – he came to win.
I'm not really all that concerned about what you do on your day job for the next five months. Syria is going to blow up whether you like it or not. There will be another debt ceiling debacle, although you have been through so many of these by now you should be able to negotiate the next one in your sleep. The month-to-month jobs numbers political reporters get their panties in a wad about are meaningless – for those of us who have been underemployed or have endured lower than average earnings for the past several years, a few more months of the same-old same-old doesn’t matter. We have learned how to cope, and as long as the economy keeps growing, even as slowly as it has lately, there is still hope in the hearts and minds of most of us that brighter days are coming.
Go hard in the paint from now until November, Mr. President. The Hack-A-Barack is coming, and your political opponents are going to try to double and triple team you each and every day from now until November.
Just remember, Mr President - you’ve got elbows, and you know how to use them.
Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.