Saturday, January 20, 2007
This is going to sound strange, but I honestly don't think Barack Obama has a chance of getting nominated. And it's not because of his politics, although it should be. Americans are notoriously shallow when it comes to their elected officials. We have this sterling image of what they can and cannot be. That is in large part why it's been difficult for minorities and women to break the barriers. If Barack had been named Joe Smith, there is no question he would be a shoe in, but when you put the title of President with Obama, it just simply doesn't fit. Any old time ad man would tell you that what works in a small ethnic neighborhood of any kind, often doesn't translate well nationally. That's why you don't hear about beignets in Minneapolis or bratwurst festivals on Oahu. Call me old-fashioned, but I think most people if and when they vote do consider what is the most comfortable. And quite often those choices have nothing to do with politics. A final example. A reknown university did a study a few years back. They took a group of kids and told the incoming teachers that they had names like Fred and Ethel and Myrtle. Then they took the same kids and told different teachers that the children were named Anne and Johnny and Tiffany. The first set of teachers saw the children as slow and difficult. The latter saw them as bright and willing. It was the same group of kids. People do this kind of subliminal judgement every day. If a girl named Melissa made third grade a living hell for you, there is no way you will name your own daughter that or that you will feel safe with anyone with that name. It is simply a characteristic of human behavior. And do you really think someone with a Middle Eastern name, no matter what their platform, is going to make many Americans feel safe?