The cat is out of the bag. Andy Levy Has the Most Accurate Take on Obama’s ‘Coolness’ (via Insty):
On last night’s edition of Red Eye, Levy set the record straight about exactly why President Obama is NOT President Cool:
President Cool doesn’t raid marijuana dispensaries. President Cool is not against gay marriage.
I like how he slow jams closing Gitmo.
[…]He can get all the Fallon appearances, celebrity endorsements, and press brown-nosing his PR team wants, but President Obama is thoroughly uncool.
In other words, Obama is on the wrong side of the culture war issues which largely define cool in politics — because as we all know, the trendsetters among us have no time for econ 101 and know precious little about geopolitics. Also, his time is up. Few rock stars can still have it after 4 years in the spotlight. Peggy Noonan noticed that he’s boring (via Instie). Truth is, he always was, looking from left to right to left, delivering his stump sermons. I strongly suspect that people who were all worked up about him in ’08 were like the young ladies at the Beatles concerts — they saw the idols, but didn’t hear the music.
I doubt there was a time in the One’s life when he really was cool. We know precious little about Obama’s college years, except that he had weirdo Pakistani roommates that he found through a newspaper ad and that few remember him in college, suggesting that he wasn’t popular. Everything else is a matter of dispute.
Some people can go to Harvard Law School and be cool, but it’s on them to prove it. How did he dress? I’m not sure that kids who are with it are allowed to wear blue jeans unironically.
“Mmmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama”. Sure, he has a radical chic first, middle an last name, but that’s through no fault of his own. Canine cuisine added some much-needed exoticism, but still he married a lady who evidently knows so little about making herself look pretty, she wound up walking around London dressed like a Presidential seal cake.
I’m sure it was somehow all focus-group tested, but how could his current handlers have the President doing smooth jazz? What kind of cool person sings Al Green? That’s basically the mom jeans of music.
Four years ago enough trendsetters decided that once in office, Obama will do a lot of very, very lefty things, which was cool, and convinced themselves that the man himself was. Saul Alinsky went out of his way to make his occupation appear exciting, but the core of socialist political groups are dorks. Browse through pictures of their protests, and see just how unhip the rank and file socialists appear. A big protest attracts enough fellow travelers who generate some sort of pizzazz, but Barack Obama was a community organizer, a foot soldier of socialism, marching from teach-in to teach-in, when cool people merely favor radical politics because it enables them to strike a pose. Supporting an non-mainstream politician is akin to liking an obscure band. It has little to do with politics and everything to do with image. The super secret reason why young people don’t vote, or vote for sure losers like Nader and Paul, is that politics is not prestigious.
In ’08 Obama had slick designers repackage him and underground artists draw his portraits. It happened because he was black ans he had a Muslim name. There was no way for trendsetters like Shepard Fairey to support a third party candidate that year. So they got out the vote for Obama. But the way hipsters talked about Obama was bordering on irony. To be sure, they can’t transcend irony if they wanted to. But as much as they tried to appear earnest, they are pretty hopeless in that department. They came up with some strange ideas, like that Obama is handsome.
Democratic politics are kind of uncool to begin with. Our politicians are largely reactive to the demands of the masses, and the masses are, by definition, uncool. If Obama is on the square side of the culture wars, it’s because the issues Andy Levy cited are unpopular. To be sure, democratically elected officials are known to show true leadership and take unpopular stands. Personally, I think the costs of war on drugs justify legalization of marijuana, and although “medical” marijuana is a sham, I’d like for our President to lead on this issue, or at least to allow the states take the lead.
He seems to be incapable of that. Last year he whined that it’s easy to be a president of China. Then he’d have a reason to believe he’s cool. Dictators are a kind of rock star, and rock stars like to compare themselves to dictators (think David Bowie). So yeah, let’s not elect a cool President — or even one that is supposed to be cool.