Obama, political rock star

26 01 2012

College graduates may be slowly but surely souring on President Obama, but the Commander in Chief can still command an adoring audience in Ann Arbor.

I mingled with the crowd queued for tickets between classes this morning. At 10AM, there were hundreds of students still lined up alongside the Michigan Union. Many were wrapped in blankets; they had been there since dawn or earlier.

It's like a Star Wars premiere for Obama geeks

The masses were enthusiastic, to say the least. Even the passers by wanted to participate in the madness. I stopped to snap a few photos, and when I turned to walk away, I saw that there were six or seven others doing the same.

I won’t be at the speech tomorrow. Though I do wish that I could attend, I have a sneaking suspicion that the event will be as substance-free as his previous U-M appearance – the Class of 2010 commencement ceremony.

It will likely go something like this:

Obama will emerge, rock star like, to thunderous applause. He will utter some bland truisms  (about creating affordable educational opportunities for all Americans, or the need to prepare our workforce for 21st century global competition, most likely) before jetting off to who knows where. Several thousand students will be left with a warm glow and some empty rhetoric to use in their Facebook status updates.

If anyone expects Obama to present substantive policy solutions to higher education’s myriad problems, they will more than likely be disappointed. But that’s not why students lined up in the cold for a shot tickets.

To many on campus, Obama is a celebrity first and a President second. And like fans of a rock star or actor, Obama’s supporters seem content to merely spend an hour or so in the company of His Eminence. Observers would be wise not to mistake this adoration for real political awareness.




2 responses

26 01 2012
Gary Knowles

I think Obama would make a good Ed McMahon II

27 01 2012

“To many on campus, Obama is a celebrity first and a President second.”

-So true. Well said Graham

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