Barack Obama Stars in Super Bowl!
Rosa Brooks writes in today’s Los Angeles Times, that Barack Obama’s 30-second appearance in the Super Bowl represents a national mood swing . Amounting to more than political sloganeering , it is an emerging national yearning that puts the Democrats back on the offensive:
We can save the planet . . .
We can change the world. . .
A few years ago, if you'd suggested that a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination consider airing these sentiments in ads broadcast during the Super Bowl, most political pundits would have said you were insane. The Super Bowl, watched by nearly a third of the U.S. population, is about football, beer and machismo. It's not about the antiwar movement, the environmental movement, the antipoverty movement or peace, love and understanding.
But on Sunday, Barack Obama aired a 30-second Super Bowl ad that drew unabashedly on the iconography of the American left -- and no one batted an eyelash. The ad . . . Broadcast . . . to a cross-section of football fans, the message was unashamedly nostalgic and idealistic.
The Obama ad highlights a recent sea change in Democratic politics, one that's impossible to understate.
. . . . All of a sudden, Democrats are on the offensive. "Change" isn't just this year's most ubiquitous campaign slogan, it seems to be something that's already happening out there in the real world, in small towns, on college campuses and yes, even at Super Bowl parties.
Who knows just what caused the shift in mood? Iraq? Katrina? Global warming? Rising income inequality? Disgust with Bush and Cheney? Whatever the causes, Americans seem eager to reclaim a spirit of idealism that many thought ended with the 1960s ….
Obama's Super Bowl ad represented a gamble: a bet that the symbolism of past social movements is now more likely to give Americans a thrill than a chill. And the matter-of-factness with which his ad was greeted -- and Obama's electoral success so far -- suggest that his campaign correctly read the national mood.
. . . .Today, the arguments between the two candidates are over who is best placed to bring about the seismic change that both candidates assume voters want. Is it Obama, with his multiracial background, his youth, his broad appeal and his lack of baggage? Or is it Clinton, a woman who can claim to have learned some painful lessons about when to compromise and when to stick to her guns?
. . . . Whether the idealistic yearning for change endures probably has little to do with who wins and who loses the Democratic nomination (or even the White House). Losses can galvanize social movements just as much as victories, and whoever wins the White House will be president of an America different from the one that greeted Bush's inaugurations in 2001 and 2005. It will be a more hopeful, less partisan nation, one united in its rueful awareness of the ways the Bush presidency went wrong, a nation more ready to pull its socks up and get to work to put things right.