Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama and Icarus

The story of Icarus and flying too close to the sun is often used to warn of the dangers of hubris. Obama's choice of using a recreation of a Greek temple from which to deliver his nomination acceptance speech could prove to be a modern retelling of that myth.

For those not following the back story, the Obama campaign has decided that it is best for Obama to give his nomination acceptance speech outside (OK), in a huge, huge stadium (questionable), and from behind a huge recreation of a Greek temple (what are you thinking?).

Fresh from coming back from a European trip that received criticism for making Obama seem "too European" and "out of touch with American values", I can safely say that trying to appear like a Caesar accepting control of the Roman legions is not the best course of action. Poll support for Obama dropped after the European trip; recreating the experience in the U.S. is a poor campaign strategy.

And negativity isn't just coming only from crazed Republicans--only the tone is different. Sure the conservative view point is mocking:
And the guy wonders why most Americans see him as an arrogant, elitist snob. He tries to play himself off as an everyman, and then pulls this?! People are tired of the fawning adulation from the media and from Democrats. They're tired of the Obamamessiah passing himself off as some kind of Savior. If Obama was smart, he'd start coming down to Earth... using less of the arrogant God stuff and more of the "I'm just a regular guy" stuff. Performing a speech on a raised platform in a Greek temple with confetti raining from the sky and fireworks is more than a little bit ridiculous.
and McCain advisors are asking "Is this from the Onion?"

But there is also concern from the within the Democratic party:
"We already know he is a rock star; we already know he can bring 85,000 people together in a stadium. He has done it multiple times. He needs to talk to people who haven't made up their minds yet," said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.

"It's likely that the campaign would do it differently if it had to do it again because the decision was made before the European trip," said a senior Democratic elected officeholder who has worked closely with the Obama campaign.
That, I think, is the major point. Obama set on a dramatic stage with 80,000+ people screaming in excitement at his every word is sure to create a feel good moment for Obama fans. But to undecided people, to people who aren't sure about Obama, who have heard a little about a celebrity vibe that they don't care for, such a ridiculous display is unlikely to win them over.