Why So Serious?

He played it about as well as you could play it.

Pointing out that you have to “multitask” as president, that there are a lot of things going on right now but the debate wasn’t just politics. It’s a matter of importance so people can determine who should inherit The New Great Depression come November.

Barack Obama was so calm, so collected, so nonchalant it seemed odd. The other guy is whooping and flailing about trying to get my attention. How is it the new, young, upstart guy seems more solid and stable than the older, been-around-forever guy? Isn’t being unpredictable and brash a character trait of irrational youth? It wasn’t Murtagh firing a loaded gun in a police station in the first Lethal Weapon, that was Riggs, the young, suicidal/homicidal cop with nothing to lose. And John McCain may be able to get as drunk as Mel Gibson now, but he’s not as young as Mel Gibson was when he played Riggs.

Is this because he’s the black guy? I realize that black people in positions of power can’t afford to ever look angered, bothered, stressed or crazy. Only recently did Obama start channeling some Muhammad Ali, laying some punches and jabs on McCain’s erratic, panicky, not-presidential-at-all behavior.

McCain’s response to the crisis: “How can I hijack the narrative and make this all about me again? Oh, right. I can’t debate Barack on Friday because WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!”

Obama’s response to McCain’s crisis: “We both have planes with big logos painted on them that will take us wherever we need to go.”

I half expected him to order a martini after than pithy comment.

Or shoot a three pointer. You can never tell. He has the same too cool for school aura around him no matter what’s going on.

Some have criticized it, calling it “aloofness.” I just think the man doesn’t panic. Take my mother. You cannot make Mama Snob panic. She just doesn’t do that. Things get crazy she just takes over so naturally and so effortlessly that you go from being stressed out to blissfully unconscious in a matter of minutes. The woman is gifted. I once almost choked on a catfish bone at dinner when I was five. She had the frame of mind to pick me up from the dining room table, carry me to the bathroom and give me the Heimlich over the toilet.

She then wiped my face and calmly asked me if I was OK and if I’d like to go back and finish my dinner.

Ice cubes. The woman is made of ice cubes. If she hadn’t been born black, female and poor in the segregated South she could have been a surgeon or captain of a bomb squad or a CIA agent.

She ended up teaching junior high, which is almost the same thing.

But if Barack is ANYTHING like my “cool heads always prevail” mother and if I’ve learned anything from this campaign, when Barack starts freaking out it’s time to move to Canada.

21 thoughts on “Why So Serious?

  1. dave letterman is so mad at mcbush for dogging him out…now mcbush is acting like he has the american economy as his #1 priority and suspending his campaign…why now…is it because mcbush is behind in the polls and realistically he knows he cannot match obama in a debate…and palin continues to show what an idiot she when she couldn’t answer a simple question from katie couric…the wheels are off the bus and careening towards a tree…

  2. Some people are saying that Obama should have pulled this move off first…but we all know that the McInsane Camp would have a field day with that kind of cowardess.Obama handled it perfectly. And I think what has happened is awesome….

  3. Danielle, you’re a little young to remember this, but a better Muhammand Ali analogy would have been his Rope-a-Dope technique. Ali would cover his head for protection and stand against the ropes in the ring, and just let his opponent (the Dope) feverishly punch him till the point of exhaustion. After the Dope expelled all of his energy trying to futilely knock out the champ, Ali would then go to work and beat the tired Dope to pulp. That’s what it looks like Obama is doing, using the old Rope-a-Dope. McCain is swinging wildly and often, and Obama is simply sitting back and letting McCain exhaust himself. Once McCain is fully spent, though, I think Obama is going to land a haymaker on McCain and take him out once and for all. It’s the return of the Rope-a-Dope.

  4. draven7: Actually, I was going to use the rope-a-dope analogy but decided not to as Ali only resorted to that tactic after he was older and was banned from boxing for several years. I might have been overtly nerdy technical about it (because I can be that way from time to time) but I wanted to compare Barack to who Ali was when Ali was Cassius Clay. Of course, I could have just said “Cassius Clay,” but for some reason I refrained. I think if I put it that way it would have come across how Obama was going on the offense instead of the defense last week was like Ali being so lighting quick in his offense to take out an opponent in the first phase of his career. The rope-a-dope was a defensive tactic Ali developed because he was so good at taking a punch, but it also left him more worn down and injured, and depending on who you believe it may have contributed to his medical condition today.Plus Barack is often accused of being on defense all the time, reacting instead of acting. I wanted to compliment his offensive game. Perhaps I should have gone for a Roger the Dodger Dallas Cowboys football analogy instead. And yes, I was raised by a sports fanatic. Papa Snob loves all sports from equestrian to NASCAR. The only one he can’t watch is soccer.

  5. Oh, and I just watched the Letterman thing. Hilarious. So going on the blog.nicole g: My mother had an obsession with us choking on things. She wouldn’t give us hard candy until we were about six or seven and even then she made us eat it in front of her. When she would fry catfish she would lecture us to chew carefully so we wouldn’t choke on a fish bone. I think I was just as worried about choking as she was, so that night at dinner I let her pre-pick through my piece of fried fish. Therefore, I didn’t bother chewing slowly because my mommy had made the fish safe for me! So of course she missed a bone and I gagged, but I didn’t die. So it’s a ha-ha funny story instead of something worse.Of course, I didn’t get to resume eating until she combed through my fried catfish again.She’s a good mommy.

  6. There may be something entirely different going on, and Letterman is gonna feel bad about this if its true, but what if someone inside the McCain campaign recognized symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s in the senator and they need to get him out of the debate on Friday until the situation can be properly assessed. Meanwhile they spin the whole thing as McCain putting country first…? I’m just saying…crazier things have happened…This all sounds like an episode from the West Wing!!

  7. anonymous 12:00 am: If that straight out of Sorkin Land notion is true ALL THE MORE REASON why picking Sarah Palin was highly irresponsible.And c’mon now. McCain is going to be, what? Seventy-two, 73 at his possible inauguration? If he has Alzheimer’s there is nothing “early onset” about it. This would be on-time Alzheimer’s.

  8. i disagree with the person who people who say obama should have done this first. this is a political stunt and only people who lack character pull stunts like this. when have you ever seen obama pull a stunt?snob, i feel you about the hard candy thing. i cringe and feel nervous when i see parents let their small children have hard candy.

  9. Thanks for the boxing lesson, Danielle. I grew up with Ali–figuratively, of course–and I know a lot about his career and the Rope-a-Dope tactic, darling. You shouldn’t school a middle-age black man on boxing. We’re sensitive about those sort of things, young lady. Now NASCAR I know nothing about, so that’s alright if you got some facts on it. Hee, hee.

  10. draven7: My dad had NO SONS! Therefore two out of his three daughters love football, all of us have a high tolerance for men who are sports addicts and myself, being the inquisitive one, I am full of sports trivia from eras that I didn’t even witness.My dad is in his 60s and he’s been into sports since he popped out of his mom around 1942. So I’d say he’s crammed a lot about Jackie Robinson, Bill Russell, Secretariat being the biggest horse he ever saw and Muhammad Ali in me.And I have this huge sports vacuum called the 2000s when I didn’t live near my dad so I stopped reading the sports section so we could discuss how he was right about everything, but he got me caught up when I moved back to St. Louis.

  11. Well, you got me beat in that department. I stopped watching sports a few years ago and now I doesn’t even listen to the sports shows. It doesn’t seem relevant anymore.

  12. What will happen tomorrow? Will McCain really not show up?I wonder if the Repubs regret not going with Romney. You know Guy Smiley would be at least able to debate and deal with this crisis at the same time. I agree that Obama was Presidential.

  13. Danielle: Not freaking out under fire is but one of a host of reasons we all need Barack Obama as our leader. Love your blog and your writing. Your Mama-Snob story reminds me the force-field of grace that seemed to surround my mother. She almost always seemed to have a couple of turns more of a wrap on the situation than we expected. I don’t know what that was, but whatever it was my sister seems to have gotten all of it and left us boys in the dust. -Doug in Oakland

  14. Do we have the same mother? I was just curious. My mom is the only woman I know to be told you won’t have to go through chemo then be told she’d have to and just go, okay well… I heard you can’t get manicures during it, is this true? I just stared at her. and when her hair fell out she was all… Jasmine, look at that! My hair is falling out! Hmm, I guess I’ll just cut the rest out. (It upset me, not her. she only got upset because I was visibly sad… LOL)

  15. I absolutely LOVE your blog! I agree 150% Obama is undoubtedly grace under pressure. McCain is running around screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” and it IS but we don’t want our President acting like US we want our President to be smarter and calmer than us and have things under control. And the latest with him wanting to postpone the debates is just AMAZING to me….he is scared to get in the proverbial ring with Obama because he knows that man is going to embarrass him in front of the world!

  16. Since everyone is telling their "I'll always love my mama" story, I'll tell mine. When I was about 5-years-old, I was eating a piece of Now & Later candy (a thick chuck of sticky stuff that I don't think they sell anymore) and I started choking. I couldn't breathe and she immediately picked me up, turned me upside down and started shaking me vigoriously until the candy got dislodged from my throat (The Heimlich wasn't discovered yet). I was crying, but relieved that I could breathe again. To this day, that episode still scares me. When my mother found out she had cancer, she calmly rejected chemo, which was highly recommended, and elected surgery. The doctor said she shouldn't be alive and she's been cancer-free for five years. When it comes to being a passenger in a car, though, she's a complete neurotic and drives me crazy with her constant fears. You can't drive more than 40 miles an hour with her in the car.

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