Man. I was moving so slowly this morning on the road at 5 a.m. that I wasn’t sure if I was walking or running. Good thing I didn’t run the New York City Marathon yesterday. At this morning’s pace I would still be circling the Big Apple’s five boroughs.
But I didn’t run the marathon. And I didn’t head to Cleveland for the late afternoon campaign rally with Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. I passed on that even though I received a personal invitation Saturday from Barack via e-mail. I hope he isn’t spending too much time writing and reading e-mails these days. Most of us know how much time that can waste — and how easy a diversion the blogosphere is from any important work. I digress.
I didn’t go to the rally for a few reasons. First, I was a little uneasy about the conversion of the now-optimistic Obama fans and the always-bitter Browns fans. Second, I figured I would have to park far enough away from the rally venue that getting there on foot would be the equivalent of completing a marathon.
I’m also not much of a Springsteen fan — and I’m getting plenty of e-mails directly from Barack and Michelle these days. So why make the trip? Now if I would have known that Gretchen Wilson was going to be in Canton with Sarah Palin — well, worth considering.
I guess the alignment of politicians and rock stars and other personalities has always been part of election campaigns. It’s a way to connect with voters on a more personal level than candidates do during debates and stump speeches. Deep in their hearts, don’t politicians want to be liked? They really can’t be as mean as the ads portray them. Can they?
So I think you are going to see more of the candidate-as-friend strategy in future campaigns — waged I’ll bet with more online media and with the traditional news media having less and less control over the messages. Consider how Saturday Night Live has changed campaigns and altered our view of candidates. Here’s a great story and some examples from Eric Deggans the TV/medic critic with the St. Petersburg Times.
So I missed the opportunity to spend time over the weekend with Barack, Bruce, Sarah and Gretchen. But I did go see the Oliver Stone movie, W. Didn’t have to fight any crowds there. Only about 10 of us in total in the theater. I guess people have seen enough of the current president in real time.
So that’s pretty much how I spent the weekend. Oh, yeah. I read the Sunday New York Times, and here’s from Tom Friedman’s column “Vote for ( )”:
So, bottom line: Please do not vote for the candidate you most want to have a beer with (unless it’s to get stone cold drunk so you don’t have to think about this mess we’re in). Vote for the person you’d most like at your side when you ask your bank manager for an extension on your mortgage.
Vote for the candidate you think has the smarts, temperament and inspirational capacity to unify the country and steer our ship through what could be the rockiest shoals our generation has ever known. Your kids will thank you.
For context, go see W.
Then rock on!