Democratic Convention 2008

Can't Anybody Here Play This Game? (Or: Obamandias)

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"Hey, guys, here's what you should be doing with your meticulously planned convention" is the lowest form of commentary. Nonetheless: Jesus tapdancing Christ.

Greek columns? Behind your presidential nominee as he accepts the nomination? Not flags? Not, I don't know, tractors or something? I know Obama has looked grand before capitols and monuments before (Springfield, Berlin, San Antonio), but 1)"hubris" and "presumption" are the only attacks on the man that have stuck and 2)Christ, Greek columns?

There is a bluntness here that I respect. Both McCain and Obama are running for Caesar. I get that. But part of the game of running for Caesar has always been pretending you don't want it, that the proles need you, and you're one of them. Our imperial trappings are less cornball than this: Motorcades, armies of secret service, go down the list.

I have to wonder which campaign Obama is watching: the one where he's as popular as he was in early 2008, or the one where Republicans are taunting him like a caged animal for stuff-just-like-this, and where his lead isn't just gone in the (mostly meaningless) national polls but fading in the (meaningful as all hell) state polls.

His only hope is that McCain gives his stirring address in song atop a scale model of the Hanoi Hilton. I find this unlikely.

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  1. You all did see that on the Lupercal
    I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
    Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?

  2. Well, if you are going to add the “Obamandias”, then:

    …whose frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command tell that its sculptor well those passions read which yet survive…

  3. Here’s Weigel’s big chance to be up there with greats like MaxBlumenthal: print out that picture above and ask a series of attendees for their thoughts. Bring along masks in case some don’t want to appear on camera. (No, really).

  4. “His only hope is that McCain gives his stirring address in song atop a scale model of the Hanoi Hilton. I find this unlikely.”

    I’d like to see McCain give his address while mounting Paris Hilton, myself.

  5. Good Lord will this backfire.

    Hey Democrats, still think the football stadium thing was a good idea?

  6. Umm…isn’t the capitoll full of greek revival architecture? The Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial, etc. So, the guy who wants to run DC builds a set that looks like DC. Yeah, not seeing the story here. Now, if he made a 40 foot tall statue of himself wreathed in holly, that would be hubris.

  7. I can almost envision the “Celebrity” and “Messiah” ads that will come out of this.

  8. Apparently it’s completely beyond Weigel (et al.) that Greek cultural iconography is often popularly associated with…wait for it…

    DEMOCRACY!

    No way! Get outta town! Democracy? (It’s, OMG, a Greek word, fer Chrissakes.)

    Also, Hoosierdude covered the (apparently not as) obvious (as it ought to be) connection between Washington architecture and Classical Greek motifs.

  9. Hoosier and Eleme:

    There is a big difference between standing in front of the architectural patrimony of your country’s towns and cities, and temporarily building a little bit of it for a special occasion. That Obama has balls like grapefruit, I’ll give him that; but I think we just saw the beginning of a McCain landslide with this hubristic piece of trompe l’oeil

  10. Elemenope, come on. Just admit the football stadium and Greek columns stuff just plays right into McCain’s new line of attack.

  11. Hillary is definitely Mark Antony, but who is Brutus? Biden? When do we get to the stabbing and the bleeding and the “Et tu…”?

  12. Look, I hate to spoil a good rant, but there’s nothing particularly weird about the use of Greek columns. They’re kind of all over the place in D.C. (the Capitol, the White House, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, etc.). If you put some American flags in the background, it’s a quitessentially American backdrop.

  13. After this speech Obama is not going to be able to say he doesn’t “look like those guys on the dollar bill.” Perhaps he should give the speech while sitting in a very high chair behind the columns?

  14. Just admit the football stadium and Greek columns stuff just plays right into McCain’s new line of attack.

    *Everything*, and I mean everything, that Obama could possibly or conceivably do, would play into that line of attack. I’m pretty sure if Obama had a Big Mac one day, McCain’s team would find a way to make that either “foppish” or “elitist” or “insubstantial”.

    So, no, I think it’s a loser’s game to try to name the things that McCain can and will use to attack his opponent.

  15. A.L., that’s not the point. The point is Obama is playing right into the “Celebrity” and “Messiah” McCain attacks with this football stadium stunt.

  16. Elemenope, that’s true, but this is just making it worse. Why doesn’t he accept the speech inside a convention hall like everyone else?

  17. So, the guy who wants to run DC builds a set that looks like DC. Yeah, not seeing the story here.

    So, you do see “I’m the DC candidate” contrasting with “I’m the postpartisan candidate”?

  18. playing right into the “Celebrity” and “Messiah” McCain attacks with this football stadium stunt.

    Um. No. Those attacks are stupid. They’re meant to do exactly what you suggest, i.e., make the Obama campaign afraid to exploit its biggest strength. Obama is an exceptional speaker who is capable of drawing large crowds, something McCain could never hope to do. So they’re trying to neutralize his chief stength by turning it into a weakness. But that only works if you all them to intimidate you.

  19. The line of attack is stupid?

    Well, it sure seemed to bring Obama back down to earth in the polls after his Magical Mystery World Tour. He was damn close to running away with the election before those ads were released.

  20. I see Greek collumns and I think Aristophanes with Obama as Socrates.

    STREPSIADES
    Obama! my little Obama!

    Obama loftily
    Mortal, what do you want with me?

    STREPSIADES
    First, what are you doing up there? Tell me, I beseech you.

    OBAMA POMPOUSLY
    I am traversing the air and contemplating the sun.

    STREPSIADES
    Thus it’s not on the solid ground, but from the height of this basket, that you slight the gods, if indeed….

    OBAMA
    I have to suspend my brain and mingle the subtle essence of my mind with this air, which is of the like nature, in order clearly to penetrate the things of heaven. I should have discovered nothing, had I remained on the ground to consider from below the things that are above; for the earth by its force attracts the sap of the mind to itself. It’s just the same with the watercress.

  21. but I think we just saw the beginning of a McCain landslide with this hubristic piece of trompe l’oeil

    Anyone who votes for a candidate, any candidate, based on the motif chosen for a stage backdrop, deserves the sack of crap they end up with (be it Obama or McCain).

    And of course, let’s not anyone mention that the Virginia Republican Convention just featured *gasp* Greek columns as a stage backdrop! Oh noez, how will Virginia Republicans ever be able to vote for Virginia Republicans now?!

  22. Episiarch | August 27, 2008, 1:08pm | #

    Hillary is definitely Mark Antony, but who is Brutus? Biden? When do we get to the stabbing and the bleeding and the “Et tu…”?

    I beleive Jesse Jackson already applied for the part.

  23. Elemenope, that’s true, but this is just making it worse. Why doesn’t he accept the speech inside a convention hall like everyone else?

    This is just a wild assed guess, but maybe there’s a lot of people interested in attending the speech, and the easiest way to accommodate them all is by doing it in a stadium. Do you really think Kerry could have drawn a crowd that large? Gore? Hell, even Bush?

    But now that you ask, why don’t U2 and Springsteen just stick to small clubs like everybody else?

  24. “Obama is an exceptional speaker who is capable of drawing large crowds, something McCain could never hope to do.”

    McCain spoke to over 50,000 at the recent Sturgis bike convention. That large enough for you?

  25. “I beleive Jesse Jackson already applied for the part.”

    Does that mean that Hillary gets to play Mark Anthony?

  26. John, not to be a party pooper, but I don’t think they were all there for John McCain anymore than the people in the football stadium will be there to see Bruce Springsteen Thursday night.

    Seitz,

    Again, by pointing out rock stars will be they’re you’re playing right into it.

  27. “John, not to be a party pooper, but I don’t think they were all there for John McCain anymore than the people in the football stadium will be there to see Bruce Springsteen Thursday night.”

    Sturgis is a huge deal. There are lots of things to do there besides stand around the main stage and listen to McCain. The people there stopped and listened to him. I guess he gave a very good speech saying he would rather take the roar of 50,000 hogs than 200,000 Germans any day. That is a good line.

    Beyond that, I am quite sure either major party could fill a football stadium at any major convention in the last 30 years. Having his speech at a football stadium rather than a normal convention venue is a cheap stunt that is going to backfire badly.

  28. “Do you really think Kerry could have drawn a crowd that large? Gore? Hell, even Bush?”

    Yes, Yes and Yes. Even 100,000 people is not that many when you are talking about being the nominee of a major national party with tens of millions of people. Speaking at the football stadium means nothing and just makes Obama look like a jackass.

  29. John, not to be a party pooper, but I don’t think they were all there for John McCain anymore than the people in the football stadium will be there to see Bruce Springsteen Thursday night.

    Oh no, BDB, they were all there to see McCain, but only because they thought he was going to get Cindy to show her tits.

    Again, by pointing out rock stars will be they’re you’re playing right into it.

    So, based on exchanges in the last couple threads, I’m gathering that you think they Democrats would be much more likely to win if they had nominated an uneducated mouth breathing yokel that is completely unpopular. Makes sense.

  30. Seitz-

    No, that’s not what I mean. But Brian Schweitzer would be planning his inaugural were he running. They need someone like that to run.

  31. IOW, nominate someone who isn’t aloof and get the rank and file of the party to STFU about how “stupid” the American people are.

  32. “So, based on exchanges in the last couple threads, I’m gathering that you think they Democrats would be much more likely to win if they had nominated an uneducated mouth breathing yokel that is completely unpopular. Makes sense.”

    How about nominating someone who is secure enough in themselves, that they don’t need a cult like following to affirm themselves? How about nominating someone who has actually you know accomplished something. If mouth breathing uneducated youkels like Bill Richardson and Mark Warner had been nominated they would be giving their speeches in the Pepsi center and be up by 15 points right now.

  33. John, good call on the Aristophanes. Now I want you to picture Lysistrata with Hillary as the lead.

  34. Yes, Yes and Yes. Even 100,000 people is not that many when you are talking about being the nominee of a major national party with tens of millions of people.

    Right, John. You just keep on believing that. I remember back in 2004 all of my friends who were so disappointed that they couldn’t get to the convention because they just couldn’t get tickets.

    McCain spoke to over 50,000 at the recent Sturgis bike convention. That large enough for you?

    Jesus, John, do I really have to do this?

    An extremely enthusiastic Sen. McCain stressed energy independence during brief remarks before more than 20,000 bikers Monday night at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

    Okay, so we’re already down from 50,000 to 20,000 (I’m sure there were 50,000 bikers in Sturgis, but according to Fox freaking news, there certainly weren’t that many at the rally). And who else was at that rally?

    The billboard on the road into Sturgis, site of the 68th annual Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle rally, read “Kellie Pickler, Kid Rock and John McCain,” in that order, for the night’s mainstage event at the Buffalo Chip campground.

    Well, I’m no judge of popular music, but I’d imagine that if the Decemberists can draw 70,000 people to a rally in Portland, Kid Rock and Kelly Pickler can probably draw 10-15K to a biker rally.

    But you stick with 50,000 if it makes you feel better.

  35. Thanks EPI. Good suggestion on Hillary. She is such a great public figure in some ways. I have to admit, I am going to miss her in some ways when she leaves the stage. I can see her as everyone from Clytemnestra to Lyvia to Theodora.

  36. Jeeze it’s like the Democrats are on another planet.

    Who cares if he can get 75,000 people to show up? He’s falling in the polls, even though the party he’s running against is toxic right now.

  37. How about nominating someone who is secure enough in themselves, that they don’t need a cult like following to affirm themselves? How about nominating someone who has actually you know accomplished something.

    Why? The Republicans nominated a guy who never accomplished anything and has a cult like following (ever see Jesus camp?) and he won twice! Well, once, but close enough.

  38. You are right Seitz, leftists do really well at marching at rallies. Republicans sadly usually have to work.

    Seriously though. Obama is doing no better in the polls right now than any other Democratic candidate in the last 20 years in some cases worse. The ability to get a large crowd of syncophants to show up at a rally in no way translates into “popularity” in any meaningful way. Your example of The Decemberists gives away the game. The fact that they can draw 70,000 hippies in Portland doesn’t mean they are anything other than the B list act that they are.

  39. Limbaugh never seriously proposed a Bake Sale and neither did “Dan.” But the landslide of support for Dan and his bake sale was on. Eventually, some 80,000 people from all over the United States and as far away as Australia showed up in Fort Collins for Dan’s Bake Sale.[citation needed] Jay Leno even made jokes about it on The Tonight Show.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rush_Limbaugh_Show

    Obama can’t outdraw the evil Rush Limbaugh holding a joke charity event. Once again, any nominee could speak at a football stadium if they chose to. It is not that hard to round up 80,000 people if you have a national following.

  40. BDB, you make it sound like energizing the base is completely unimportant. Bush won four years ago because Democrats weren’t all that jazzed about Kerry. Some were, anti-Bush sentiment helped drive turnout to some extent, but there wasn’t enough pro-Kerry sentiment to put him over the top, despite what the polls were saying at the time. You win Presidential elections by exciting your base and getting people to the polls. This is a move that’s clearly designed to energize Obama’s base. It’s not that hard to figure out.

  41. “Why? The Republicans nominated a guy who never accomplished anything and has a cult like following (ever see Jesus camp?) and he won twice! Well, once, but close enough.”

    True but Republicans are a lot smarter than Democrats and know how to win elections. When you start with the kind of IQ deficit that Democrats start with, you need to have a really good candidate.

  42. Republicans sadly usually have to work.

    Wow, what an original insult. You sure got me with that one, John.

  43. Good luck energizing the Democratic base when a lot of them were for Hillary. Meanwhile, she wasn’t even vetted for VP.

    Again, if Obama is so great why the hell is he tied or behind in the most recent polls?

  44. He blew it when he went to Germany. He got arrogant, went on a Magical World Mystery tour, then went surfing in Hawaii. It makes you wonder if he really wants the Presidency that badly. I know Hillary would.

  45. “This is a move that’s clearly designed to energize Obama’s base. It’s not that hard to figure out.”

    How does speaking in a stadium in front of faux greek collumns engergize the base? Who is the base? Leni Riefenstahl?

  46. He blew it when he went to Germany. He got arrogant, went on a Magical World Mystery tour,

    This is just stupid. He’s criticized for not going overseas, then he’s criticized for going overseas. Whatever.

    then went surfing in Hawaii

    Yeah, God forbid the guy visit his grandmother. Remind me to never hire you for campaign advice. Somehow I think “lock the candidate in a room for three months and be as low key as possible until after the election” isn’t a winning strategy.

  47. He was criticized for not going to the Middle East. He should have just gone to visit the troops, and leave it at that. He didn’t need to give a campaign speech to try to secure Germany’s zero electoral votes.

    The vacation was stupid because it handed McCain the national stage for a full week.

    But hey, if you think that both those things helped him, please explain why hes slid in the polls since both his tour and vacation.

  48. And BDB, this is from a commenter at Ezra Klein’s blog, so take it with a HUGE grain of salt. It may be complete bullshit. I can’t verify the numbers. But I pass it along because, theoretically, it makes sense as a reason why they would hold the speech at Invesco.

    They apparently received 60,000 requests for the 30,000 tickets that were allocated to Coloradoans. These are a ton of new names to add to the campaign list. Furthermore, an unwritten rule was that you had to volunteer for six hours (usually calling registered voters) if you wanted priority. This presumably will generate additional votes.

    I’d imagine they planned other organizing opportunities around this as well.

    Personally, I think the turnout in the primaries was a signal that conventional polling models (what makes a likely voter, etc.) based on previous elections will not accurately capture the sentiment in this election. That’s a hunch, and I freely submit that I could be wrong. But if it comes down to ground game, the Obama campaign will be much better organized than the McCain campaign.

  49. He didn’t need to give a campaign speech to try to secure Germany’s zero electoral votes.

    You’re right, there are absolutely no expats in Europe, and even if there were, they can’t vote anyway.

  50. I’m pretty sure expats are solidly Democratic to begin with.

  51. Still waiting to hear why his poll numbers have sucked for the last month if 1)the European trip was a great idea, and 2)McCain’s attacks are stupid.

  52. Plus it’s just BAD TASTE. Could it be the Dems are just trying to appeal to all the yokels to offset Obama’s “elitist” Whole Foods image? He needs to STAY with that image. That’s what energized his campaign in the early part of the year.

    “Yuh gawt t’ get yuhself a mahble cawlumn…”

  53. I can see her as everyone from Clytemnestra to Lyvia to Theodora.

    If she’s Clytemnestra, it sort of makes one feel bad for Bill (who, I’d assume, was playing Agamemnon.)

  54. His campaign did well earlier this year because no one had figured out how to attack him yet. Hillary pioneered a successful attack strategy in March and April–but it came too late.

    McCain is refining it and starting it early.

  55. Mostly covered already, but my 2 yen.

    ‘Greek columns associate Greeks associated with democracy’
    You know this, I know this, but this is not the first thing the american people think of. If anything, Greek columns mean ‘Olympics’ (which may or may not be appropriate in the current meme stream)

    ‘Greek columns associated with DC which associates with Americana.’
    DC architecture means americana only when you slap the liberty bell, statue of liberty, mount rushmore and the golden gate bridge along with it. By itself DC architecture means ‘Washington DC’ And every candidate in modern times (except an actual incumbent) runs *against* DC.

  56. Does anyone here not notice that this appears to be a mock-up of the Lincoln Memorial where MLK gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech? Does anyone realize that Obama’s speech will be given on the 45th anniversary of the MLK event? I guess history is a bit much to grasp in this new chatter-box and pundit-driven era.

  57. I hope McCain will again stand in front of a green backdrop saying something about believing in change. That’ll make Obama’s stage set look great, don’t you think?

  58. It’s probably meant as a reference to MLK speaking in front of the Lincoln memorial. relax everybody.

  59. Many commenters are overlooking a crucial fact of American politics: the electorate is stupid. The side with the strongest, meanest, most aggressive argument against the other side wins.

    This whole convention is red meat for the Republicans who will show a slick, confident face to contrast with the elusive, reserved, whiney Democrats who have ego and not much else. Elections are won and lost by pandering to the stupid. Republicans are better at it. Always have been. Always will be.

    America doesn’t want smart, educated Presidents with worldly philosophy. They want test-marketed faux lowbrows. People are stupid.

    Democrats fight like they’re playing in the Harvard/Yale football game. Republicans fight like it’s the Civil War. No wonder they always win.

  60. Vote for us, inbred rednecks.

  61. Still waiting to hear why his poll numbers have sucked for the last month if 1)the European trip was a great idea, and 2)McCain’s attacks are stupid.

    Gallup

    June 24th – 26th: Obama 46, McCain 44
    August 24th – 26th: Obama 45, McCain 44

    Now, I agree that both of those kind of suck if you’re an Obama supporter, but they’ve stayed pretty consistent for the last couple months. There have been swings in his favor, and swings back to even, but essentially, they’ve been pretty unchanged for a while now.

  62. I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the obvious parallels to the Nuremberg rallies (where there was an even bigger neo-Greek colonnade. On Monday the Obamites were channelling June Cleaver; on Thursday they’ll be channelling Albert Speer? The former doesn’t ring true at all; the latter rings eerily true. Don’t these numbskulls have any notion of events that occurred before about 1990?

  63. foxhunter, you took the words right out of my mouth. I’m not confident that this is the beat approach, but let’s acknowledge the fairly obvious significance behind the design for the backdrop.

  64. Seitz, those would be great numbers if you were running against an incumbent President with a 55% approval rating and a decent economy.

    Obama is running against a part whose brand is in the toilet if not downright radioactive, 80% of the country thinks we’re on the wrong track, we’re quite possibly in a recession, and their nominee is a mediocre campaigner who is older than dirt.

    The best he can do is TIE?

  65. Yeah, why would Obama do this? Speaking in front of Greek columns on the 45th anniversary of “I Have a Dream”…. so random….

  66. Stephen, I agree in regards to approach. Funny that it’s ok to go all Commando/Big Cock codpiece in front of a ‘Mission Accomplished’? banner on a US carrier, but a Lincoln Memorial replication?? Noooooo!!! Owww, teh stupid…it burns!!!

  67. Seitz, those would be great numbers if you were running against an incumbent President with a 55% approval rating and a decent economy.

    Look, dude, you’re the one saying that the celebrity crap and Europe trip have hurt, evidenced by his falling poll numbers. I showed you that the numbers have barely moved at all for two months. Now you want to change the subject to poll numbers in general? That’s fine, but how about a little consistency?

    You want an answer? How about ‘we’re a very divided, and nearly evenly divided country right now’. There really aren’t that many undecided voters right now, despite what people may say in polls. If you come here a lot, it may not seem like it, because outside of Joe and John, many of the commenters and writers here are of a “Pox on both” type. But in the end, it will come down to ground game and turnout. The poll numbers just aren’t going to move that much.

  68. This post is a perfect example of why I sometimes loathe politics. A pissing match over freakin’ scenery? With all the usual suspects holding their predictable positions? Yawn.

  69. Seitz,

    There are a few posts by Mr. Stat boy that seem to confirm your analysis.

    Brendan Nyhan

    Brendan Nyhan 2

    I think Nyhan is kind of toolish, but he doesn’t generally stray from the middle of the statistical debate. It’s a 50/50 country and no one is going to go all landslide come November.

  70. They’re not evenly divided on Bush (who is at 28%).

    Even the *generic* Democratic ballot runs double digits ahead of generic Republican. Why doesn’t Obama do the same? Because his campaign hasn’t been that effective so far, and McCain has learned how to hold down his numbers and sow doubts about him.

  71. The RCP average for “generic Democrat”is 10.2.

    For Obama it’s 1.8.

    Disconnect much?

  72. I find it somewhat difficult to understand why Obama is playing into McCain’s hand by giving a speech in front of a large crowd. Apparently that is dangerous hubris, but announcing that we are all Georgians is not. I suppose a bad speech in front of an empty hall is what Obama should do if he were smart.

    As for the Greek columns, I think it is pretty much known that there is an awful lot of public architecture in this country based on the Greek revival style. Most people seeing the columns behind Obama will not think, my god, he wants us to worship Zeus, or he thinks he’s Ceasar, but think the columns look like those buildings in Washington DC all the tourists love to see. (I think the very fact that somebody is able to recognize the columns as being “Greek” — even if they do so just to make fun of them — shows they are an elitist, and therefore unable to understand American politics). The following excerpt from Wikepedia on the Jefferson Memorial, and if its inaccurate, I’m sure somebody here will let us know, shows that even in the past, there were those objecting to Greek columns.

    “The Jefferson Memorial was officially dedicated on April 13, 1943 – the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birthday. One of the last American public monuments in the Beaux-Arts tradition, it was severely criticized even as it was being built, by those who adhered to the modernist argument that dressing 20th century buildings like Greek and Roman temples constituted a “tired architectural lie.” More than 60 years ago, Pope responded with silence to critics who dismissed him as part of an enervated architectural elite practicing “styles that are safely dead”.”

  73. If Obama doesn’t tear down the Greek columns on the White House immediately after his inauguration, he’ll be exposed as a phony!

  74. I hope Howard Dean got the metric right on the napkin on which he sketched a mock-up of the set.

  75. Who knows the schedule of events? Why get nutty when all we’ve seen is one picture taken very early during set-up? Is it possible this is just some stage set for the concert or intro program? Too many assumptions are flying around.

  76. None of the Democrats polled as well against McCain as generic Democrat does against generic Republican.

  77. Not a man, but a GOD!

    This will play well Ohio and Michigan.

  78. What if they hang American flags on the columns. Will that convince everybody that Zeus and Ceasar are not involved.

  79. I think he should replace the columns with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I would consider watching his speech then.

    I hope Howard Dean got the metric right on the napkin on which he sketched a mock-up of the set.

    And this was what I was thinking too. He doesn’t want to have to round up a bunch of midgets at the last minute to make the scale look right.

  80. Please estimate the probability that a candidate ahead in the national polls will find his votes so allocated that he loses in the electoral college. It can happen (1888, 2000), but it’s not likely.

    And national polls are more timely than and generally at least as accurate as state polls.

    The best evidence as to who’ll win remains the so-called prediction markets–Intrade and the Iowa Electronic Market. If the Greek columns (which are just a mainstay of Washington architecture) are bound to take the candidate down, there’s money to be made in Iowa City and Dublin.

  81. “You know, John McCain didn’t have any Greek columns for five and a half years — in prison,” spokesman Brian Rogers told the Washington Post.

  82. they need to cover that thing with black and hang flags in the front. Repugs will be running ads making fun of it the very next morning, rendering the entire night a joke and useless…

  83. “I hope Howard Dean got the metric right on the napkin on which he sketched a mock-up of the set.”

    For his encore he is going to make Hillary “Smell The Glove”.

  84. It’s probably meant as a reference to MLK speaking in front of the Lincoln memorial. relax everybody.

    Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to help on the hubris issue.

    All told, there’s been some bad buzz around the seating for the speech. Its gone from “free tickets” to “tickets for people who work for the campaign” to “the best seats go to big donors”. Nobody will remember any of that after the speech, of course, but it has eroded the “new kind of politics” schtick.

    If he gives a great speech, as he is certainly capable of doing, nobody will care about the arena setting. If he whiffs, then people may talk about the arena in the general grumbling. All told, I think its probably neutral to a soft negative.

  85. Look at the video fly over, those are obviously not “greek columns”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yQwufJ_JpA

  86. It’s all Greek to me.

  87. It’s called the Federal Style. You might have seen it in, oh, I don’t know, the White House, the Capitol, your local government office building…hello?

  88. Joe, do you think the football stadium thing is a good idea given the “celebrity” and “messiah” memes?

  89. I find it somewhat difficult to understand why Obama is playing into McCain’s hand by giving a speech in front of a large crowd…I suppose a bad speech in front of an empty hall is what Obama should do if he were smart.

    LoL. Yes, Barack, make sure you don’t do anything that the people trying to defeat you say is a bad idea.

    Seriously, since when has the public ever liked speakers who address large crowds?

  90. Cesar-as-BDB,

    Yes. I think contorting yourself and shying away from your strengths in he hopes that the Republicans won’t say mean things is foolish.

  91. The public is going to see that set and think “Lincoln Memorial Speech,” not “Greek God.”

    Especially since it’s being given on the anniversary of MLK’s Lincoln Memorial speech.

    Political geek cynics that we are, we’re already either so over the first black president thing, or hostile to the image to begin with.

    I don’t think the public is. I think Obama’s going to be turning on the water works from coast to coast tomorrow night, and the Republicans aren’t going to be able to say a bad word about it without looking like they’re killing the bunny.

  92. Cesar-as-BDB

    Interesting. I hadn’t thought of that.

  93. “Yes. I think contorting yourself and shying away from your strengths in he hopes that the Republicans won’t say mean things is foolish.”

    What exactly is the strength that he is playing to? I don’t think anyone who is not already a member of the cult really gives a rats ass that he can speak at a football stadium or a basketball arena. What does it buy him that giving the speech at the convention wouldn’t get him? It does allow Republicans to portray him as having an enormous ego. Obama biggest weaknesses are the obnoxousness of some of his supporters and the fact that the media is trying so hard to shove him down everyone’s throat. This whole thing just reinforces all of that for no advantage.

  94. “I think Obama’s going to be turning on the water works from coast to coast tomorrow night, and the Republicans aren’t going to be able to say a bad word about it without looking like they’re killing the bunny.”

    I think Obama could get up and give a hate whitey speech and the media and Joe would talk about how great it was on Friday. I can’t imagine anything Obama doing or saying that his supporters wouldn’t rave about.

    People like Joe claimed the Philadelphia speech was the greatest since Lincoln’s second inagural address. In reality it was a disaster that tied Obama to Reverend Wright and did him no good. Whatever the value or lack there of of Obama’s speech will not be apparent on Friday.

  95. Joe, do you think the football stadium thing is a good idea given the “celebrity” and “messiah” memes?

    Hell, I’m still waiting for you to show me how those have hurt him in the polls, like you claim.

  96. Will Leni Riefenstahl be doing the official film documentary?

  97. I don’t think anyone who is not already a member of the cult really gives a rats ass that he can speak at a football stadium or a basketball arena. I don’t think somebody who’s internalized Republican talking points as much as you have is going to have a very good understanding of the public’s mind, especially not this year.

    What does it buy him that giving the speech at the convention wouldn’t get him?

    Atmosphere. The voice ringing off the walls, the open sky, the sound of an outdoor crowd (and a much larger one) rather than just a big room full of people…outdoor speeches are impressive. It’s a much better venue. And, as with golf clubs or tennis rackets, the boost is going to be the greatest for someone who is an excellent performer.

  98. Cripes, the structure isn’t even finished yet. Could you hold back the criticism until you actually see the finished product? Which will presumably contain some flags?

    The neurosis of my fellow Democrats is becoming stifling.

  99. Case in point: People like Joe claimed the Philadelphia speech was the greatest since Lincoln’s second inagural address. In reality it was a disaster that tied Obama to Reverend Wright and did him no good.

    In the real world, Obama’s numbers went up 10-15 points in a single week following the Philadelphia speech. John can’t see that – he has been trained to reflexively hate and deride anything a Democrat says, so just doesn’t get how normal people react.

  100. Wow. For a guy who allegedly can’t be criticized, it’s funny that virtually everything Obama does is ridiculously scrutinized and criticized – and this from many of his supporters.

    Who the hell cares whether he gives a speech in front of columns? Are you people completely nuts?

    Obama will be attacked by McCain no matter what he does. Don’t fall for the McCain campaign’s rather obvious tactics and start second-guessing everything Obama does while acting like scared little wussies.

    This guy just beat the most powerful couple in Democratic politics to become his party’s nominee – and as a BLACK MAN! Considering that monumental achievement, I would tend to trust his judgment over those of some pathetic, whiny Internet commenters.

  101. In the real world Joe. Obama ended up having to distance himself from Wright and look like an ingrate and his numbers went down all summer. The Philadelphia speech was an enormous tactical mistake. He should have used Wright as his sister Soulja and dumped him over the side while he had the chance.

  102. In the real world Joe. Obama ended up having to distance himself from Wright and look like an ingrate and his numbers went down all summer.

    …three months later, after a different series of events brought the issue back.

    None of which has anything to do with your now-abandoned point, which was that Obama’s speech in Philadelphia was, allegedly, not an incredibly effective, moving piece of oratory that won over millions of people and won him the election.

    Now we’re onto…what is it again?

  103. “None of which has anything to do with your now-abandoned point, which was that Obama’s speech in Philadelphia was, allegedly, not an incredibly effective, moving piece of oratory that won over millions of people and won him the election.”

    Joe, if it won over millions of people and won him the election why are his numbers down so much? Also, in case you missed it, the election is in November and no one but you talks about the speech in Philadelphia anymore because, given the subsequent events, it looks rediculous in hindsight. Obama could no more abandon Wright than he could his own grandmother. Unless of course the polls told him otherwise. God you are delusional Joe.

  104. Bush. 2004. Greek columns. Time to move on to the next fake outrage.

  105. I don’t get the problem with Greek columns. I know Reason is a libertarian-leaning website, but is the author really so unfamiliar with governmental buildings/monuments in the United States that he believes Greek columns are intended as a direct reference to Greece and NOT to government buildings/monuments in Washington?

    Fortunately or unfortunately, the American public is not nearly as focused on classical European history as the author is.

  106. White official-looking columns?! What else will the night include?

    Flags?

    Mention of the word “patriotism”?

    References to great American Presidents of both parties like Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt?

    Tales of people from humble beginnings living the “American Dream” through hard work?

    This Obama guy has LOST IT!

  107. The problem with Greek columns (Joe, have we had a confirmation that they’re Greek? not yet? Keep me on speed dial!) is:

    If, like I suspect most middle Americans, you don’t associate “Greek columns” with “this is where America’s business gets done”. You associate them, maybe, with the Lincoln Memorial, if you’ve been there. Otherwise, you associate them with, I dunno, Greece. Greece after several thousand years of decay and reconstruction. To those people, the symbolism is confusing and a bit of a reach.

    On the other hand, to people who live and breathe D.C. air (but not on those orange-alert days!), the Greek columns will look like a potemkin federal village in Denver, thus skewing the whole message of “Yes we can change Washington.”

    Either way, it fails as symbolism. It could well succeed on the merits of “ooh, isn’t it pretty”. But that’s off message.

  108. Joe, if it won over millions of people and won him the election why are his numbers down so much?

    Ooh, I know: because it’s not March, and in case you didn’t notice, he’s already won the primary election – you know, the election that was going on when that event occurred? Got some press? Lots of threads on H&R?

  109. The New York Post has gone absolutely apeshit over the Greek columns this morning, which tells me all I need to know.

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