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Jewish World Review
May 1, 2012/ 9 Iyar, 5772
President Cool Meets Reality
I put the words Obama is cool in Google and got 301,000,000 hits. I also Googled Jesus son of G0d and got a measly 33,000,000. This doesn't surprise me since my liberal friends have told me countless times that Mr. Obama is the real messiah.
Speaking of cool, the other night - trying to shore up the youth vote — President Obama was slow-jamming the news on Jimmy Fallon's late night TV show. Cool people know what slow-jamming means, squares don't. Anyway, Fallon, who is pretty cool himself, called Mr. Obama … ready for this? … "The ‘Preezy of the United Steezy." How cool is that? He also said Mr. Obama was the "Barack Ness monster." Get it? Not the Loch Ness Monster. The Barack … Ness … Monster. This guy is so cool I'm freezing.
The late night show was only the most recent indication of how cool our president is. Remember when he danced with Ellen? That was pretty cool. How about when he sang an Al Green love song at the Apollo in New York with Al Green in the audience? Jimmy Carter never did that, right? I mean, Jimmy Carter doesn't even know who Al Green is, right?
Which brings us to Mitt Romney, who may be a lot of things but cool is not one of them. We all know that, but what we're not so sure about, at least at this juncture, is whether Romney's lack of cool will hurt him or actually help him.
If these were good times — if unemployment was 4 or 5 percent not over 8, if 63 percent of Americans thought we were on the right track which is the percentage who think we're on the wrong track — cool would probably clinch the deal for the president. Hey, we have to live with this guy on TV for four years - and a lot of Americans would rather spend it with a cool guy instead of someone who reminds us of Richard Nixon. More about President Not Cool in a moment.
But these aren't good times. Which is why American Crossroads, Karl Rove's Super PAC, is running a Web ad using the president’s coolness against him. The ad shows President Obama wearing cool sunglasses, singing Al Green, dancing with Ellen, calling Kanye West a "jackass" and slow jamming the news with Jimmy. Then, when the music dies down and the glitter goes away, the ad takes a hard turn from the cool president to the cold facts.
"Four years ago America elected the biggest celebrity in the world," the copy on the screen says. "And America got one cool president." The ad goes on to tell Obama's young fans that three years after the president took office, more than half of recent college graduates don't have jobs or are unemployed and that many of them are moving back in with their parents. "After 4 years of a celebrity president is your life any better?" is the question at the end of the ad.
And that's just aimed at kids. You think some grownup guy who can't find a job and has a family to feed is going to care a lot about cool? You think his wife, who's worried about the bills that have been piling up and how they're going to pay for their kids’ college is going to be seduced this time around by cool?
It's true that Mitt Romney just might be "the least hip presidential candidate since Nixon set foot on a beach," as Aaron Goldstein wrote in The American Spectator. But "We're voting for the next American president," he says, "not the next American idol." So he can't carry a tune in a dump truck. "Four years of boredom is exactly what this country needs."
Here's something else to think about: What if the voters this time around think that what's really cool is … competence. That could spell trouble for our cool president. Because you know what's really not cool? Incompetence.
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JWR contributor Bernard Goldberg, the television news reporter and author of several bestselling books, among them, Bias, a New York Times number one bestseller about how the media distort the news. He is widely seen as one of the most original writers and thinkers in broadcast journalism. Mr. Goldberg covered stories all over the world for CBS News and has won 10 Emmy awards for excellence in journalism. He now reports for the widely acclaimed HBO broadcast Real Sports.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.
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© 2011, Bernard Goldberg