Battlepanda: The focus-group President


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The focus-group President

Late getting on this bandwagon, but the contents of Bush's iPod is finally known! Surely, this must be giving us an insight into his soul. Of course, leave it up to Billmon to see a political angle in everything.
I mean, that's what wholesale politics is all about these days, isn't it? The manipulation of tiny symbols to try to persuade the target audience the candidate (or the President) is of their tribe. Pork rinds, school uniforms,V-chips, brown suits instead of blue ones, pickup trucks instead of cars, plastic Day-Glo Jesuses on dashboards instead of fuzzy dice hanging from rear view mirrors -- all the popcult detritus of a nation of niche markets.


Um, right. As I was saying: Now that deciphering the president's personal habits has become the modern equivalent of the old game of studying who's standing next to whom on the Kremlin Wall, it seems reasonable to suspect the White House is trying to send a musical message here -- a singing telegram, as it were.

But addressed to whom? Certainly not the religious right. I sure didn't notice any Christian top 40 hits on the POTUS's play list. And songs like "My Sharona" don't exactly fit into Rev. Dobson's Big Book of Hymns:

Gun it coming off of the line, Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up with a touch of the younger kind.

To me it looks like the White House actually is trying to put at a little symbolic distance between Shrub and the true believers -- for reasons which aren't hard to guess at, given the high-pitched howling noises now coming from the Christian right.

I have a subscription to, a place where you can download audiobooks in MP3 format. I wish I had a link, but a while ago, they had a little "What the Prez is reading" sidebar. A couple of serious statecraft books -- the new book on Hamilton by Ron Chernow, and of all things, I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. I nearly puked. Yeah right. Bush plowing through a brick-sized Tom Wolfe novel. Or maybe just skimmed it for the naughty bits. What were his PR people thinking? Pork rinds...statescraft...My Sharona...Tom Wolfe...Will the real George W. Bush please stand up?

Maybe the Guardian summed it up best:

The president is being repackaged as secular, sophisticated, and a man of the literary world for the godless Europeans. What does he have by his bed in Air Force One? I'd guess the Bible and a colouring book.