Defined only by his vibe.
Speaking personally, Iím not looking for a messiah in the White House. My favorite Presidential heritage site is the Coolidge homestead in Plymouth Notch, Vermont: I have seen the mausoleums of mighty kings, but none compares to the row of headstones on a snowbound hillside cemetery, seven generations of Coolidges lined up in a row, all buried under simple, bald granite markers with only an all but imperceptible small American eagle to distinguish the 30th president from his forebears and descendants. The American ideal: the citizen-president.
Or so I always assumed. But letís be bipartisan here. If I were a Democrat, Iíd salute Harry S Truman, the Missouri haberdasher who ó whoa, ďhaberdasher!Ē Thereís a word you don't hear too much nowadays, and, if you did, itíd probably be because the Treasury Secretary and the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee are on cable TV standing on the steps of the Capitol announcing a 700 gazillion-dollar bipartisan haberdashery bailout package because the global haberdashery sector is too big to fail and if we don't act now thereíll be a massive planetary ripple effect that could take down ladiesí lingerie, if you'll pardon the expression.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Citizen-presidents: Who needs íem? The day after the debate I bumped into two Obama supporters in St Johnsbury, Vermont who said isnít it great that he's on course to win. Well, they were cute chicks, and I know an obvious pick-up line when I hear one, so I stopped to chat. God Almighty, it was like reverse Viagra: After ten minutes of Babes For Barack, I never want to meet a female woman of the opposite sex for the rest of my life. Their basic pitch was:
Thatís John McCain's problem. Traditionally, when an unknown politician emerges on the national scene, itís a race to define him. Governor Palin is a good example: within days, the coastal sophisticates were mocking her as a chillbilly ditz with a womb that spits out inbred kids faster than the First National Bank of Welfare Swamp issues subprime mortgages. Thatís politics as usual: Define your opponent. But Obama is defined by his indefinability. When I pointed out to my Vermont gals that he lives in a swank pad that was part of some shady real estate deal with a convicted fraudster (Tony Rezko), that he entrusted his daughtersí entire religious education to a neo-segregationist anti-American nut who preaches that the government created the AIDS virus to kill black people (Jeremiah Wright), that he attended fundraisers with a political patron whoís an unrepentant terrorist proud of plotting to blow up young ladies just like them at a dance at the Fort Dix military base (William Ayers), when I pointed all this out, they looked at me as if Iíd brought a baseball bat to a croquet match. Mere earthbound politicians are defined by their real estate deals and sleazy buddies, but Obama is defined only by his vibe. As his many admirers in France would say, he has a certain je ne sais quoi. And, if you try to pin down quoi precisely, then they donít want to sais.