Authors: Jason Mattera
Tags: #Current Events, #Literature: Classics, #Performing Arts, #Literary Collections, #Democracy, #Political Process, #Political Ideologies - Democracy, #Elections, #Communication in politics, #United States, #Political Ideologies, #Conservatism, #Political Science, #Youth, #Politics, #Essays, #General, #Political Process - Elections, #Political activity, #Fiction
Yes, say mass communication scholars. One study conducted by two Washington State University professors found that "celebrity endorsed campaigns successfully lowered complacency and helped young people believe in their own impact on the politi- cal system." Furthermore, the researchers found that, after being subjected to celebrity endorsements, "young people got involved at higher levels and became increasingly aware of societal issues."
Natalie Wood, assistant director of the Center for Consumer Research, agrees: "Politicians are like businesses--name recognition goes a long way, and celebrities can help make that happen. Obama is
a classic example of that because most people had never heard of him before."
One person who made sure that Barack Obama became a household name was Oprah Winfrey. By Team Obama's own estimation, Oprah's emergence on the campaign trail led to record-setting rallies and at least ten thousand new volunteers.
An economist at Northwestern University, Craig Garthwaite, and one from the University of Maryland, Timothy Moore, confirmed the impact of Oprah's endorsement. MSNBC.com reported, "After analyzing sales of Oprah's Book Club selections and subscriptions to Winfrey's magazine
, the pair estimated she captured about 1 million additional votes for Obama in the primary election."
Liberals' overwhelming domination of the entertainment industry has given the left a massive advantage in leveraging outreach to the youth demographic. The emotional connection between young people and their music makes the left's use of pop culture as an electoral tool an especially potent electoral brew.
"Musicians in particular have this deep connection with their audience on an emotional level that really gets to the identity of the individuals," says Andy Bernstein, the executive director of HeadCount, a voter registration organization created in 2004 by a group of artists, music industry professionals, and fans. "Young people really define themselves with the music that they listen to. When someone like Dave Matthews steps to the microphone and urges people to vote, you can't even measure the impact. Fans are very, very engaged and they're not just feeding off of the musicians, but they're communicating with each other."
HeadCount poses as nonpartisan, but Bernstein acknowledges that the group was birthed during the '04 campaign to defeat President George W. Bush. "I was a reporter at the time," he says. "I was
on the phone with somebody, and the conversation turned to politics. I was so riled up, I was like, 'I've got to do something, what am I going to do?' And, like a minute later, I said, 'You know what? If I can do something to get fans of the bands I listen to to vote, that's what I can do.' "
This "nonpartisan" organization had the weight of Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco, Phish, John Mayer, and numerous others behind them. The organization then set up voting registration tables at a thousand concerts across the country, registering tens of thousands of Obama Zombies-in-training. And surprise, surprise, they're all libs. The Medill News Service analyzed the campaign contributions of the musicians affiliated with HeadCount and found that most of them gave to Democrat candidates in the 2008 presidential race.
In fact, HeadCount is so nonpartisan that Andy Bernstein found a way to encourage people to vote for Obama: "It's okay to say 'Jerry Garcia' " when informing registrants who is preferable to vote for. "That's allowed. As long as you don't say what party Jerry Garcia will be running on."
Translation: vote for B.H.O., bro, and pass the joint.
HeadCount wasn't the only "nonpartisan group" with a readily apparent point of view. The Hip Hop Caucus's "Respect My Vote" campaign pimped out rapper T.I. to get young people, mostly in the hip-hop community, to register to vote. The group targeted Baltimore, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Raleigh/Durham, Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Detroit, Cleveland, and Charlotte. The founder, "Reverend" Lennox Yearwood, Jr., wears a traditional collarless reverend shirt with a hat backward. He enrolled T.I. "to work towards the elimination of poverty, the highest quality public education and the elimination of racism, racial profiling and police brutality."
T.I., who pled guilty to weapons charges in 2008, was all too happy to campaign for Obama under the nonpartisan banner.
"This was the first election I voted in myself," said T.I. "I guess it was Barack who influenced me. Politics just didn't move me. I didn't feel like it made a difference one way or the other. I looked at politicians and just thought, either way we're fucked. They don't really care about us anyway. Now, I look at Obama's government and I feel like someone's in there who has our best interests at heart."
Hip-Hop Team Vote, another "nonpartisan" group, targeted Philadelphia youth, registering more than one hundred thousand voters.
Participants included our buddy T.I., Russell Simmons, and Flo-Rida. T.I. described himself as "a felon two or three times over" and Flo-Rida is the Romeo rapper who sings sweet odes about . . . blow jobs.
Flo-Rida told the youth, "Here's the chance to make your children's children's world a better place." Yes, voting can make change. Also, refraining from singing about blow jobs may lessen the coarsening of the culture.
WITH SUCH STAR
power, the left will always have a sizable advantage over conservatives. When artists like Jay-Z or the Boss perform for free at Obama rallies, they are donating far more than they are able to do financially under federal campaign restrictions. Individuals are allowed to donate $2,300. That's it. But Obama would far rather have Springsteen, who made $70 million in concerts and album sales within the past year, donate his time than a measly $2,300. Now, while there should be
restrictions on the amount of money an individual can donate to a campaign (free speech doesn't have limits), it's fundamentally unfair to cap one's giving yet allow
huge donations in the form of rallies (read: infomercials) that are worth millions and where cell phone numbers and emails are gathered to mobilize a youth marketing militia.
The greatest irony in all this is that so much of the success Hollywood entertainers achieve is the result of one of the core tenets of conservatism: namely, that able-bodied human beings are responsible for their own human flourishing. The life stories of so many entertainers exude all the best qualities that a strong conservative work ethic can bring. Their success was not wrought through the chamber of a government bureaucrat; it was individual initiative, individual drive, and individual responsibility.
Sean "Puffy" Combs is a prime example. As a boy, Combs was born in the public housing projects of Harlem, New York, and was only a child when his father was tragically murdered. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., while interning at Uptown Records in New York City. His love for music led him to shuttle back and forth between the two cities, even with a full load of school work. He did drop out of college, but at age nineteen became the youngest executive ever at Uptown Records. Today, for better or worse (for worse), Combs is a household name. He has established a record label, a clothing line, and a cologne; has created his own television show; and has produced and promoted some of the biggest names in hip-hop. He made
's list of the "40 Richest People Under 40" and has a net worth exceeding $300 million.
Diddy loved music, loved promotion, loved the spotlight, and worked his derriere off to achieve his dreams. Uncle Sam didn't orchestrate it. He did. Not Washington.
When Obama talks about "individual responsibility and mutual responsibility," it's the mutual responsibility part he uses to justify the redistribution of wealth that he openly favored during the cam
paign and is carrying out by targeting the most productive members of society. In Barack's world, all money is the government's, no matter how much time, money, and effort you put into earning it. Wrap that ideology inside the left's usual class warfare rhetoric and--voila!--you can turn otherwise hardworking, individualistic achievers like Diddy into head-bobbing Obama Zombies who will mindlessly campaign for a man who preaches a message antithetical to the very virtues that helped them achieve their success.
It's an effective if cynical trick. And, unfortunately, it's a trick that has produced many Obama Zombies.
How Peace and Love and Obama Granola Goodness Threaten Your Life--And Why That Warmongering U.S. Military Is Your Best Friend
Whom would you rather have protecting your family and nation? Rambo? Or Bambi?
That was your choice in 2008. And, thanks to Obama Zombies, America elected Bambi. The only difference is that the original Bambi had far more foreign policy experience, what with all that negotiating with the squirrels and birds of the forest and whatnot. Plus, Bambi never hobnobbed with anti-American radicals or apologized for American power.
John McCain was a woefully weak spokesperson for the conservative cause. Still, on military matters, the man was unmatched. And listen up, all you Obama Zombies: Your civil liberties don't mean squat if you're dead! Got it? That's why presidents are commanders
in chief before all else. We elect presidents to do the most important thing a government can do: keep us from being murdered by hostile regimes.
McCain's military credentials are beyond compare in politics. A brief biography goes like this: McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, following in the deep military footsteps of his family. His father and grandfather were both four-star admirals. McCain became a prisoner of war in Vietnam after he was shot down while on a mission in Hanoi. As a POW, McCain was brutally tortured, day after day. The North Vietnamese eventually realized how important Mac's father was in the military. As a show of respect, they offered him early release, but he refused the special treatment. Get that: the Vietnamese offered to release him, but McCain rebuffed the offer, choosing to let the next compatriot in line go first. In the end, McCain's war wounds left him with lifelong disabilities, such as not being able to lift his arms above his shoulders or type on a computer. By any standard, the man is an American hero.
After getting elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, he served as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, keeping him deeply enmeshed in and informed on all military and intelligence operations affecting the United States of America.
Here are Barack Obama's military experience and credentials:______.
Yet with all of McCain's experience and all of Obama's lack thereof, young people distrusted the former when it came to foreign policy.
A poll conducted in the fall of 2008 by Harvard's Institute of Politics found that 44 percent of young people ages 18-24 still trusted Obama over McCain on the issue of Iraq (28 percent trusted McCain).
More shockingly, 40 percent trusted Obama more on the
broad category of "Foreign Policy" (27 percent sided with Mac).
A whopping 51 percent thought Obama would "improve the U.S. image abroad," while only 17 percent believed that of McCain.
Young people were evenly split over who would better protect them from terrorism.
Who could forget the drama over Bill Ayers, the unrepentant bomb-thrower-turned-university "educator"? The relationship he had with Obama--political activity, foundations, and directing education projects together--rightfully called into question where Obama's allegiances lay. After all, Ayers's terrorist activity was not a relic of a rejected past but rather of a past he proudly bragged about on numerous occasions. I'm not looking to relitigate the relationship, especially since McCain stupidly took the "high" ground and tiptoed around the issue. But Obama Zombies need to understand how Ayers and his radicalism felt right at home in academia.
When Ayers became a problem for Obama, due to the dutiful coverage the relationship received on talk radio and the Fox News Channel, Ayers's colleagues constructed a website dedicated to his defense, SupportBillAyers.org. The main page of the website read as follows:
It seems that the character assassination and slander of Bill Ayers and other people who have known Obama is not about to let up. While an important concern is the dishonesty of this campaign and the slanderous McCarthyism they are using to attack Obama, we also feel an obliga- tion to support our friend and colleague Bill Ayers. Many, many educators have reached out, asking what they could do, seeking a way to weigh in against fear and intimidation.
Many of us have been talking and we agree that this one gesture, a joint statement signed by hundreds of hard-working educators, would be a great first step. Such a statement may be distributed through press releases or ads in the future.
The website also pledged to combat the characterizations of Ayers as an "unrepentant terrorist" and "lunatic leftist." To them, he was just working "passionately in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, as did hundreds of thousands of Americans. His participation in political activity 40 years ago is history."
Ayers was no MLK, peacefully marching through the streets of Selma, raising awareness of injustice. Rather, Ayers was judge, jury, and executioner--and he relishes that to this day. In his 2001 book,
, Ayers gloats how he "participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972."
This is what he had to say about the Pentagon bombing: "Everything was absolutely ideal . . . The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them."