Saturday, 26 July 2008

Barack Obama - Top of the Pops?

Like when push-pops first came into the world, I got very, very excited. The concept - a lollipop that wasn't on a stick? This new idea really took a hold of me, dreams were dreamt, tears were shed when mum said "no".

But then, when the dream became reality and I finally had one, the taste was nothing really that special. Ok, so it had sugar in it, lots, which meant I was never going to not like it, but it was a massive let down. But in spite of this, even though there were things I liked a lot more, I persevered for weeks, wasting my pocket money chasing a dream, a dream that never reached the hype. Eventually, I realised that I had to let go and go back to stuff I knew was what I wanted. The packaging, the hype, the talk... I had been bought over by an idea.

Barack Obama, is a bit like a push-pop (there's a sentence you won't have heard before!).

I've bought the hype, been taken in by the packaging, and liked how Mr Obama was presented as a package. But I'm now in that stage where I'm persevering, trying it over and over again, waiting for that magical flavour that sets him apart. But so far, I'm yet to be impressed.

Yes, he's a cracking orator, and if I had to change my voice, it'd be a toss-up between him and Alan Rickman. I like him, but is he any good, what are his big ideas and policies and how will he do things differently? Aside from talking to Iran, I'm yet to hear anything special from him, any new ideas which have been laid out in detail for me to understand. He's done a European tour, but what have we, and more importantly the American people, learned? Well, apart from the fact that he can draw a crowd, not much. And fair enough, maybe he's saving the big stuff (and even the medium and smallish stuff) for his American audience, but whether it's Europe, America or speaking to the world as "a citizen of the world", he's going to have to come up with some push for his pop stardom.

Those of you familiar with The West Wing will recognise the phrase 'it's the fortune cookie candidacy' and so far I'm seeing it as a bit like that.

"Mr Obama said co-operation with the UK was crucial over climate change, terrorism and the economy" (BBC), but you tell me any other US President or presidential wannabe or even just a basic official who has said anything to the contrary in the modern era? You tell me any other 'ally' country he's going to go to where he's not going to say exactly the same? And that was really it. Even back in America, or wherever he goes, I'm yet to hear much more than the basic bullet-point skeleton of a domestic policy, foreign policy or world-vision.

Hundreds and thousands may make an ice-cream look pretty, but it's the ice cream that must be good, and unfortunately, worryingly, the coolest candidate's gloss is beginning to melt.

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