Just when we thought it was over, the second season comes anon: it’s Politics As Usual time, folks, by which I mean it’s time for our celebrities, our golden calves, to weigh in and for Obama to rise nobly above them. We heard much since Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” made its rounds on the Internet, but now that John McCain has dragged Paris and Britney into this, the young are stirring from their sun-dappled slumber.
Obama easily swatted that little ditty aside as a wasteful distraction. But, what’s this? The fight’s not over! Look behind you, Obama! For God’s sake, look behind you!
It’s Ludacris! Ludacris, the rapper-thespian who has scuffled with Bill O’Reilly and who’s brought you such juicy hits as “Area Codes (Hoes)” and “Move Bitch,” has penned an anthem called “Politics As Usual” in which he denounces Hillary Clinton (as a “bitch,” in the youthful parlance of the troubadour, and, possibly worse, as “irrelevant”) and condemns John McCain to a chair of some sort (wheelchair? Electric chair? Unclear). Obama, whose iPod is apparently Luda-licious, shoved back saying that the song was, guess what?, “outrageously offensive.” Deflected! Obama 2, McCain 0.
What an interesting, tortured relationship with the entertainers. The politicians need the Hollywood set—Obama is supposed to ratchet up the youth vote and the black vote by 30 percent—but, ack, they’re so embarrassing sometimes! And so the entertainers are tacitly encouraged to keep their distance. But then again, they’re so good at publicity and they have so much money and cultural cachet. What to do? How to leverage them without sullying one’s brand?
Now that we’re ninety-five (tick tick tick ) days from the main event, there’s little time left for such nuanced considerations of leverage. It’s do or die time, or Politics As Usual time, so expect more celebrity sightings—and swattings—on your political ticker, but, the public entertainers beg, let’s be clear here: Obama is not a celebrity. He’s a rock star.Julia Ioffe is a freelance writer based in New York City.