The Politics of the Smooth Mood

The Obamarama Campaign Express was roaring down a New Hampshire highway near Nashua when an aide spotted the sprawling No Holds Barred Sports Bar. “Let’s stop the bus,” she urged, “and do some random schmoozing.”

Obama and his entourage poured out of the bus and headed for the front door, over which hung a large sign: “HOME OF THE POLI-BEER: WHERE BOOZE, POLITICS AND SPORTS MIX IT UP!”

Inside the packed bar, the guys and gals were gathering for the Big Game to start. Before the game, however, there was an hour for political talk time. Their eyes widened in amazement when they saw Barack, bounding through the doorway with his secret service detail.

The bar had a big pit, with a huge crackling fireplace, where the patrons have their regular give and take. Obama was ready for some of that.

He started: “I stand for change. They said we set our sights too high in Iowa. They said now is not the time. I proved the cynics wrong in corn country and I’ll prove them wrong in the granite state. To show you I mean it, no speech, go at me. Our time for change has come.”

Guy number one-“Ok, Barack, you’re going for the power in the Big House, the big companies already have the power, how ya gonna make us little people powerful?”

Obama-“Stay tuned. One leap at a time. We are one people. Get me there first.”

Gal number one-“You say, CHANGE, well how are you going to cut the bloated military budget full of vast waste, fraud and abuse, when you’ve specifically said you’ll ‘expand and modernize the military?’ Why, it’s already half or more of the government’s operating budget, squeezing programs for children, health and all that. I’m an accountant and I know numbers.”

Obama-“Exactly. Our time for change has come. I’m going to change the old weapons with new weapons and the old soldiers with the new soldiers. That’s real change-at the grass roots.”

Guy number two-“You don’t seem to have any rough edges, Barack.”

Obama-“It’s all about the mood, dude.”

The crowd was getting agitated and the questions came faster and faster.

“Why are you for nuclear power with taxpayer guarantees?”

“Will you oppose Congress getting pay raises, pensions and health insurance until the American people get the same?”

“Do you favor repealing the anti-union nightmare-the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947?”

“How can you talk about change and take gobs of campaign money from the big corporate lawyers and bosses?”

Obama, smiling: “It’s ALL about the mood, dudes. All the rest are details you can look up on my website-obama_is_us.org. We are choosing hope over fear.”

Gal number two-“Ok, answer this one that probably isn’t on your website. When are you going to meet with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and campaign in the black ghettos-say Harlem or Watts?”

Obama-“Whoaa, give that tough lady a Poli-beer on me! We are one nation.”

Guy number three (with an Obama face mask)-“I’m the old Obama, remember me? I was for single-payer, full medicare for everyone. I was strongly for Palestinian rights and for replacing NAFTA and WTO, not for tweaking them. I was for taxing the super-rich and defending class actions. I was for capping credit-card and loan shark interest rates. What happened to me?”

Obama-“Well, didn’t I tell you that I stand for CHANGE?”

Gal number three-“You seem to be for everyone, but not everyone is for everyone. Some are against everyone. Tell me, are the big corporations, the greedy defense contractors, drug, oil and insurance companies, starting to quake in their boots at the thought that you are now the front-runner?”

Obama, lifting his chin-“Well, Ma’am, we haven’t ordered our seismometer yet.”

Oooohs and boos float around the pit. A few start drifting away.

Guy number four-“You’re one of those smart Haavard lawyers, Barack. You were a constitutional law teacher. You were against the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. So, why aren’t you putting two and two together-impeachment of the war criminals in the White House followed by conviction in the Senate?”

Obama-“You don’t understand (testily), impeachment talk is just more of the same old Washington politics. I stand for change. No need to point fingers. We are one people.”

Gal number four-“Hello, Barack. I’m Hermaphrodite and I luv your blended politics of harmony.”

Obama-“Great! Then how about a quick dance around the bar before we have to leave,” he said, humming to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic-“We are choosing unity over division, we’re sending a powerful message, that change is a coming to America, it is all about the mood, dude”

Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right, among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President. Read other articles by Ralph, or visit Ralph's website.

10 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 8th, 2008 at 9:34am #

    I sure hope you made this up, Ralph Nader. If you did, it’s a very nice piece of writing. If you did not, well you just as well might have.

  2. Donald Hawkins said on January 8th, 2008 at 10:15am #

    Ralph that was good stuff.
    The year was 2525 and about a hundred people were on a very large ship traveling through the Universe. A few people were in the coffee house on the ship looking out the window. Yes they still had coffee in 2525. As they looked out they could see hydrogen clouds hundreds of light years wide. Black holes that were interesting from a distance. Solar systems that could support life. Quite a site to see. The conversation this night in the coffee house was how they had come so far to be able to see these wonders of the Universe. One person said it all started in the early twenty first century because of climate change. A total focus to find new energy sources was started they had to or civilization was lost. Not only did they find new energy sources but countries learned to work together and people learned to work together. It was hard at first but things got better from that time on and here we are now on this ship that can travel at the speed of light. Well as they drank there coffee time passed and then someone pointed out the window at a gray planet. Look at that planet it looks like ours except it’s gray not blue. One of the old men said yes that planet is exactly like ours to the year. For some reason we are not sure of at the start of there twenty first century climate change burning fossil fuels was ignored and the best we can tell by the year 2120 most life on that planet was gone. The planet kept changing and what you see now is gray and lifeless. All they had to do was use the knowledge they had at the time. Then someone asked what is the name of that planet. The old man said,”Earth”, and with that the ship turned to there home at light speed.

    Did anybody notice the weather in the middle part of the United States the last few days. Get use to it. No don’t get use to it we need to start using our minds fight back. Britney Spears how is she doing. Can Dr. Phill help her what does it all mean. What does O’Reilly think, I mean Oh really. We have to start using our minds

  3. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 8th, 2008 at 10:30am #

    Thanks for that, DH. I’m still trying to recover from “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” and I quit the book before reading the last three chapters.

    Is Phillip K. Dick on that spaceship?

  4. Gary Corseri said on January 8th, 2008 at 10:43am #

    Thanks, Ralph, you’ve done it again!

    This may be the most “creative” of your works that I’ve seen. Now you’ve proven: not only can you analyze, you can satirize as well.

    Surely you could devise one of these for several of the of the phony-baloneys who are running now. This electoral system the corporations have evolved for us is one of the foulest caricatures of democracy anyone could have imagined.

    I suspect you’ve saved more lives with your work than any political/moral leader of the past 40 years. That knowledge must comfort you in these dark times.

    Thanks for the beacon.

  5. greybeard said on January 8th, 2008 at 10:44am #

    The questions from the patrons are too good, so Ralph had to have made it up! BUT–even for fiction, it makes the point. John C. Bennett gives us this thought:
    Two things are at stake: the survival of a large part of humanity, and the humanity of those who survive because they live in privileged and protected countries.

  6. Donald Hawkins said on January 8th, 2008 at 1:04pm #

    CNN and even Fox the Weather Channel, MSNBC all are saying rare tornadoes record warm temperatures. A dam could break because of flooding. The Northeast many parts flooding because of rain on the little snow they have and that is just today and tomorrow. California the fires and now all that snow that I have a feeling will melt a little to fast in just a few months. The Southeast drought and that is just in this country. Would you like me to keep going? Global warming is not something that is going to start happening in 10 years or twenty years it is happening now. In the coming years more and more of the same with probably a few surprises thrown in for good measure. Believe it or not there is still time to slow this down. You want to talk about change. In order to go after this problem a total change in the way we all view the World ourselves our country other countries. It sure looks like there is a Worldwide recession on the way and in some ways that will help in other ways no. It will slow a little the amount of CO 2 going into the atmosphere but still not what is needed. It could be a way to bring the economy back if done right but remember the smart money will want to do that anyway they can they just can’t help themselves. Total focus by our policy makers and hopefully the policy makers of the other countries. One goal in mind to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use by 100% and done in the shortest amount of time possible and the energy we replace it with has to be clean energy. No mater what happens that change part happens anyway. Do nothing change, go after the problem change for the better but still tuff times ahead and all because of the weather who would have thought.
    Much of what passes for sustainable development is little more than a scam to profit off disaster. “Green,” he tells me, only half-joking, “is the color of mold and corruption.- the giant, inexpressibly subtle network of positive and negative feedbacks that keeps the Earth’s climate in balance — is seriously out of whack, derailed by pollution and deforestation. Lovelock believes the planet itself will eventually recover its equilibrium, even if it takes millions of years. What’s at stake, he says, is civilization. Lovelock looks at me with unflinching blue eyes. “Some people will sit in their seats and do nothing, frozen in panic. Others will move. They’ll see what’s about to happen, and they’ll take action, and they’ll survive. They’re the carriers of the civilization ahead.” James Lovelock
    Is Lovelock right or close on this little problem? If you would have asked people a few years ago they would have said no. Today, yes. Hell just watch the weather the next few day’s. There is still time total focus a 180 degree turn hard times ahead it happens anyway. That’s where the moral compass part comes in. Can this happen I don’t know but I would like to think so. The saying, “A nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there”. Well it is going to take on a whole new mwaning. Sea level rise of 5 to 20 feet already a done deal.

  7. JMS said on January 8th, 2008 at 1:19pm #

    If you haven’t seen “An Unreasonable Man” yet, I suggest you rent it. If you have friends that are Nader skeptics, invite them to a screening. I bought the dvd last week from Powells and I’m planning on trying to convert as many friends and family as possible.

    mmm, poli-beer.

  8. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 8th, 2008 at 1:43pm #

    There must be a wonderful saying about truth
    About when power corrupts it so absolutely
    Only stories still serve
    But I can’t

    And I mean with the greatest respect for Mr. Nader
    and a knowledge that the war’s the thing
    (and so even a teensy hope for Mr. Paul):
    ANYBODY but Dem Republicans!

  9. JMS said on January 8th, 2008 at 3:40pm #

    The New Republic’s latest article, “Angry White Man,” should mark the end of the Ron Paul Revolution. It’s not looking good for him.

  10. Deadbeat said on January 8th, 2008 at 6:19pm #

    I’m not a Ron Paul supporter but I would not trust anything coming from the rightwing Zionist New Republic rag.