Obama is all smoke, but no fire

The LA Times has a story today that has just an incredibly funny title:

Polls don’t reflect Obama’s star power.

Maybe, if the polls don’t reflect Obama’s star power, it’s because he doesn’t have any. In other words, what makes a star a star, at least in the Hollywood world (and that is the world geographically closest to the LA Times) is the fact that people love him, are crazy about him, flock to him, and are willing to put their support behind him, either by buying tickets to his movies or by voting for him. If people don’t want to do those things, he’s probably not a star.

The secret behind the oxymoron in the title, and the oxymoronic thinking in the whole article is right here, in paragraph 9:

No candidate in recent memory has swept onto the national political scene with greater fanfare. Obama has been on magazine covers and talk shows. Oprah Winfrey endorsed him, and Obama Girl’s unrequited urges turned him into a YouTube sensation. He has raised nearly as much money as Clinton, and in Iowa, at least, has advertised twice as much (4,244 TV spots versus 2,192, according to the Nielsen Co.)

It’s not the people who love Obama, it’s the members of the media who love Obama. They’ve been trying to make him a star, and are frustrated that the public is resisting. Again, because the article used the “star” concept, which is a Hollywood construct, let’s give a Hollywood analogy.

The whole thing reminds me of Matthew McConaughey’s career.  He’s a guy who has been hanging around in Hollywood for a decade without ever becoming a big box office draw.  He’s kind of appealing, and he definitely makes real movies, but he simply doesn’t have star power.  The reason he’s always stuck in my mind, though, is because I carry such vivid memories of the hoopla when he hit Hollywood.  Every newspaper you picked up raved about him, assuring readers that he was going to be the next Tom Cruise, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, or Brad Pitt.  They wanted him to be a star.  The American viewing public did not — and the public won because they weren’t buying enough tickets to elevate him from perfectly okay actor to STAR.

And it’s precisely the same with Obama.  The media is relentlessly trying to market him as a star and the American public is not buying.  No matter what the media says, they recognize that there’s very little there there.  This is a guy who has minimal practical experience in any area of endeavor, who has little knowledge of the world around him, and who is prone to gaffes of the type the media would savage if he were a Republican.  He has all the charm of a good 5:00 p.m. news anchor — and no matter how much I might enjoy watching one of those guys, I’d never confuse his ability to read a news feed with actual knowledge or governing experience.

So, maybe the LA Times is bewildered about Obama’s failure to ignite the American public with his “star power,” but I certainly am not.

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  • http://soccerdad.baltiblogs.com soccer dad

    Please pardon some shameless self-promotion about an op-ed by Sebastian Mallaby in today’s WaPo. On the Democratic side there is one “Foreign Policy Grown Up,” and her name his Hillary Clinton. (Maybe her “evolving” views are a cynical attempt to woo centrists, but at least she has these views. None of her rivals do.)

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  • zhombre

    The Obama hype was way out of proportion to the man’s limited experience and ability from the get-go and like a fever had to break at some point as Obama and Edwards revert to a pair of metrosexual pretty boys backing up the diva on her way to the nomination.

  • expat

    Isn’t flash in the pan a more appropriate description?

  • zhombre

    Or the Great Non-White Hope.

  • Marguerite

    If I thought there was a chance that this man had a chance to come close to being the President of this country and leader of the free world I would be increasingly agitated at each uptick of the MSm’s swooning. But I can appreciate his empty suits.

  • Jaxebast

    Actually, plenty of people do love Obama, as evidenced in the large attendance at his rallies. It just so happens that, poll-wise, more people either love or at least will tolerate Clinton.

  • lemekid

    Barack Obama is smoke and screen to those in denial and refuse to study him closely to see what a brilliant and intellectual person he is.