Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Maybe He'll Toss You a Guitar Pick

His guitar isn't even plugged in. They love him anyway.John McCain is heading to Mexico and Columbia to scavenge for respect among Hispanics, hoping to secure a stronghold among that powerful block of voters. Barack Obama will set off for Europe and the Middle East in mid-July to try to show that he’s got foreign policy skills. If international polling is any indication, and there’s no reason to think it shouldn't be, Obama is going to be a monster rockstar on this tour. His camp is said to be trying to avoid the huge crowds he drew here, but I think they should just run with it. Let it be what it is; an unexplainable phenomenon.

I read and hear the word “brand” used in association with political parties and politicians every day of late. It’s become the buzzword du jour among the talking heads who don’t really know what they’re saying. Hannity or Colmes are not branding experts. They are talking-point regurgitators. But Obama’s brand, while suffering some recent tarnishing around the edges here in the states, is about to get a major boost as the crowds will come out in force overseas, an image that will get wide play back here, further infuriating the right wing and reigniting their talk of “cult” and “messiah.” Even more frustrating for them will be images of hundreds or thousands of American soldiers and Marines in Iraq eager to shake Obama's hand.

If they insist on talking about brands, here’s a good analogy: Obama is The Rolling Stones or U2, selling out the O2 arena in London for consecutive nights. McCain is Merv and The Mellotones, playing to a small crowd of business travelers Tuesday through Thursday in the lounge at the Springfield Regional Airport Holiday Inn.

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