Thursday, November 08, 2012

Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and The Chain

fleetwood mac - the chain


  I wish that President Barack Obama used Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" as his campaign anthem in 2012. Granted, it is more of a love song with lyrics like "Damn your love/Damn your lies" -- not so much the sort of thing one wants to bring out of the arsenal while campaigning in, say, sweet Virginia. Still, the theme -- The Chain -- somewhat mysterious, draws upon the connection and the parallels of the Obama campaign to the Clinton Presidential legacy. If rock bands and musicians are proprietary possessions of election campaigns, then Fleetwood Mac -- through "Don't Stop" -- clearly belong the William Jefferson Clinton.   Granted, as well: no red-blooded alpha male President or Presidential candidate wants to be intrinsically linked to any other. Damn logic on this one: Presidential propriety is the stuff of reptile brain stems and primal, roaring macho!   All that having been said, these gypsie-folk infused lyrics are quite wonderful and, in the best of all worlds, would have fit Obama's second and last Presidential campaign perfectly:
"And if you don't love me now/
You will never love me again/
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain/
And if you don't love me now/
You will never love me again/
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain"

The chain is, of course, the Democrat Party's legacy. The chain is the Democrat Party's promise to work on behalf of the struggling middle class first and foremost, everything else being secondary to that goal. It's the economy stupid, part 2.

No other President in recent political memory relied on another former President as the Obama campaign did on Bill Clinton in securing the securable working class white vote. And although the President lost out on getting  a majority of that fickle demographic to Romney, Bill Clinton made the case to those who would listen that Barack Obama was their man. That was enough. And who other than Bill Clinton could have made that argument in crucial districts in Ohio, in Virginia, in Florida and New Hampshire and, most worryingly, in Pennsylvania, where Romney threatened some mischief in the final days on the campaign? John Heilmann, one of the best writers on the contemporary political scene, from New York's Intel column:
On Hardball Tuesday night, New York's John Heilemann explained that the Obama campaign is capitalizing on Clinton's widely praised speech at the Democratic National Convention, in which the former president answered a question the Obama campaign had struggled with: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? "There's a lot of polling that suggested that the bump president Obama got out of the convention was almost all due to Bill Clinton," said Heilemann, adding that Clinton is in almost all the ads running in swing states, with video of the current and former president back-to-back at the end. "It's almost as if they're running mates. That's how powerful the Obama camp thinks Bill Clinton is as a champion of the notion that things in fact are on the right track."

Obama, like Gore and Kerry, comes from the stiff, cerebral Harvard Democrat variety. Obviously they care more about the working class than the Republicans do, but they have trouble getting across that message. Is it something in the drinking water up in Cambridge? Message notwithstanding, Obama, with regards to political optics, comes across as more appealing to the Starbucks voter than the Dunking Donuts coffee drinking voter. Hillary Clinton -- another of those Clintons -- exposed that fault line in the summer of 2008 primaries. Obama, for all his rhetorical talents, has had difficulty making an organic case as to why he understands the people who work 8 hours a day on their feet, who take showers before and after work, who sometimes work the night shifts to pay the rent and, in this Great Recession, have relied on their extended families for help. This is The Chain; this is the Promise.

Finally, if no red-blooded alpha male President or Presidential candidate wants to be intrinsically linked to any other, maybe it will take a woman to make my pervese wish of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain as Presidential campaign music come to fruition. And if that be the case, there is no other person in the world than Hillary Clinton, twice elected Senator from New York and our current Secretary of State, that can lay organic claim to Fleetwood Mac's The Chain. After all, it is an integral sonic element of the Clinton legacy.   I may still have my wish after all.

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