FULL marks to the Obama press machine yet again this morning, scoring endless retweets for a video of his visit to the Chicago offices of the Democrats campaign army. He went downtown to say a surprise thank you for propelling him past Mitt Romney this week. A master of soulful speeches (some of them saying not much more than we all love each other, let’s be nice), everybody goes gooey for his wet eyes.
I admire the guy too – his navigating through the venemous Chicago political layers unscathed is impressive enough. It is also impossible, when you pitch him short-sleeved, playing basketball and singing Al Green songs next to the pasty faces of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband not to think: Why can’t we have a leader like that? Who doesn’t want a leader who makes us all feel we’re at the party?
But the gushing left risk forgetting the lack of any real discussion of their own politics in the campaign, as beating the Republicans and winning the game became the most important thing. The default fanclub might also wonder whether if a ‘thank you’ video like that had been released by Romney, or any Conservative or Lib Dem in this country, they might have been a little more cynical.
Here was a surprise visit where a camera at every angle to capture every last cheek dab is at hand. The speech is perfectly cut together on the Obama/Biden website with an urge to forward it on. The Prez gives the volunteers five minutes of chat and then walks off without shaking any of their hands or stopping for a word – if that had been Cameron…
For me, Obama should be admired for breaking through the ceiling, bringing more people into politics and tackling health insurance reforms. But the beautiful photography of he and his wife clinching on the Chicago lakeside and a gorgeous tone of voice which makes every speech sound like a soothing sermon shouldn’t hide the fact he has a lot more to do in a country of polarised fortunes. If it does, we’ll all be sorry in the morning.