Saturday, January 10, 2009

Obama Comes Down from the Burning Bushes with Bush Jr.'s 10 Commandments

President-elect Barack Obama met with all the living U.S. Presidents at the Oval Office for a luncheon, which the new prez-on-the-block hailed as an “extraordinary” occasion.

Obama caught on camera hiding in the Bushes

Meanwhile, while the sitting President George W. Bush used the occasion to help whitewash himself from the recently stained office and remind everyone that the office “transcends the individual,” President Bill Clinton was reliving memories of literal stains left in the wake of his term.

The luncheon was held up President Jimmy Carter, who had trouble finding the office because Bush Jr.s office had inadvertently sent him the Roadmap to Peace in the Middle East, which had been misplaced sometime during the first year of his first term in office.

During the luncheon, the presidents shared advice with the incoming Obama, ranging from how to avoid being a one-termer to what kind of dog he should get.

Half way through the lunch gathering George W. Bush passed a napkin under the table to Obama, which had a message scrawled in black pen written on it. Obama is still trying to figure out whether or not the message was serious or intended to be some kind of presidential prank that presidents play on the newbie.

Through one of its sources, Political Fallout was able to procure a copy of the message scribbled on a White House cocktail napkin:

Hey O’Man,

Thought you might need these when you take office. They’re my own 10 Commandments and helped me get through the past 8 years and survive my low approval ratings:

King George’s 10 Commandments

1. Just do what Big Dick says and you’ll be okay

2. Don’t make any Play-doh statues of members of intelligence community and/or yourself during morning security briefings

3. When the cow paddies hit the fan, run for Crawford and lay low until EVERYTHING blows over

4. Remember that Sundays is for reading the funnies (except those poking fun at you), taking extra nap between regular naps, watching sports and Laura read books, and eating pretzel sandwiches with Barney

5. Honor Big Dick

6. Thou shalt not kill anyone who doesn’t have it comin’ (unless of course the demon who possesses Barney’s body tells you to do it)

7. Ignore Little Dick

8. Thou shalt not steal when you can pass tax breaks and/or draw down from unlimited line of credit tax payers gave you

9. You shall not bear false witness against Canada or Mexico ‘cuz that’s what it says in NAFTA

10. You shall not covet your neighbors’ house, wife, work force, professional hockey players, or anything else that belongs to them ‘cuz that’s what it says in NAFTA


The Bushmeister

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Obama Condoms: Obama is the New ‘Star Wars’ of Political Merchandising

A long time ago n a galaxy far, far away, the kingpin of modern merchandising, “Star Wars: A New Hope,” was born.

Thirty-one years later, the New Hope President-elect Barack Obama, has been resurrected in the over-saturated galaxy of mass merchandising.

In today’s marketing day and age, consumers often ask: “What came first, the movie or the merchandising?” during the branding process -- which usually begins in the womb for most savvy marketing exploiters.

Such is the case for the Obama brand, which has been selling like GOP union-busters over the past year. Obama’s name reigned in over $700 billion dollars in campaign contributions, which includes some of the merchandising the campaign directly tapped into such as t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, 2009 calendars, posters, coffee mugs, and commemorative coins.

But the Obama Buck does not stop here. Other entrepreneurs and opportunists alike are cashing in on the Obama name brand, selling everything from Obama car-seat covers to Obama Action Figures. (Note: It took the Jesus estate nearly 2000 years to get a Jesus Action Figure on store shelves. For the record: when placed side by side, the Obama Action Figure is BIGGER than the Jesus Action Figure.)

Like its predecessor, “Star Wars,” anything is fair game for merchandising the Obama brand, including condoms.

Last year a young New York City entrepreneur Benjamin Sherman started selling Obama condoms -- along with John McCain and Sarah Palin condoms -- through his company Practice Safe Policy. The Obama condom carries the slogan “Use With Good Judgment” and has the following pitch on its Web site:


These are uncertain times. The economy's a ball-buster and the surge went flaccid... but now there's Obama Condoms, for a change you can believe in!


As Seen on TV: Condoms Unite Obama and McCain

In an attempt to close the condom merchandising gap, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing glow-in-the-dark light saber condoms popping up behind drugstore counters.

Growing up during the “Star Wars” merchandising surge in the late ‘70s, I resisted the temptation to invest in the pricy Star Wars action figures, models, Death Star Disco Globe and Princess Leigh blow-up doll (batteries not included). Even at a young age I was caught up in ‘80s politics under President Reagan’s watch and wondered why George Lucas didn’t file a trademark suit against the federal government for adopting the nickname “Star Wars” for its Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

Moreover, since the ‘80s were my formative years for satire, I was preoccupied with parody, and “Star Wars” – the movie – was not immune to parody. As was the case in Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs”:

Spaceballs Parody: Merchandising

Obama the Senator, Obama the Bestselling Author, Obama the Campaigner and Obama the President-elect have successfully branded the Obama name, and as the Inauguration approaches next week, it will be interesting to see how Obama the President sells in the market.

Here are a few merchandising trends to look for during his first term:

The Obamamobile: imagine driving a sleek hybrid sports car that has room for the entire family. Equipped with tinted, bullet-proof windows, the Obamamobile is the perfect nocturnal ride for speeding through crime-infested streets left in the wake of Bush’s economic meltdown. Mass merchandising of Obamamobiles will help conceal the President’s whereabouts while in transition at night. All Obamamobiles come with the trademarked bumper sticker, “My Other Car is the Air Force One,” slapped on the rear bumper.

The Obama Diet: Are you sick of all those exercise programs that you actually have to work to shed pounds? Fed up with all of the quick-fix dietary pills? Tired of those lose-weight-while-you’re sleeping weight loss gimmicks that have carried over into the work day?

How would you like a washboard stomach like the one Obama’s girls used to surf on while vacationing in Hawaii?

Introducing the “Obama Diet” -- a guaranteed lifestyle diet that will have you shedding the pounds before you know it. To get started on your Obama Diet, all you have to do create a stressful daily schedule that mirrors Obama’s while he was on the campaign trial for 21 months: 16 hours of rushing from event to event and pretending to like everyone in the process, 2 hours of basketball (schedule permitting), 3 hours of writing speeches and policy papers, 2 hour of meetings with top aids and marketing/merchandising manager, and 1 hour of meditation in lieu of a regular sleep cycle. To help expedite the six-pack abdominals process, we recommend taking up smoking.

The Hoprah Machine: why leave home in search for hope when you can stay at home, sit on the sofa, and have hope pumped through you via the Hoprah Machine. Financed by television’s modern Midas, the Hoprah Machine works like a humidifier as it spews hope into the air of your living room and fills your pores with very little to no effort on your part. Sound hopeful? Nope, it’s Hoprah!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Got Scandal?: Iowa’s Bottom Nontroversies of 2008

"That's it...say it...say it...don't be shy..."

Like our ancestors the Brits, Americans love a good scandal.

However, unlike the Brits, American journalists and the Sound-Bite Corporate Media Machine are willing to sacrifice real journalism for gotcha journalism, especially in the political realm.

Armed with pens, laptop computers, video cameras, crackberrys, cell phones, tiki-torches and temptresses – journalists, bloggers and concerned citizens have assumed the role of makeshift paparazzi and hit the campaign trail in search of their 15 minutes of fame.

Unfortunately a number of gotcha moments only became controversial when the media, like blood-deprived leeches, clung to the nontroversy and spun it through its continuous loop of 24-hours news, which only contains an estimated 30 minutes of new news according to a recent Political Fallout study.

At the national level John Ridley catalogued a number of the top Nontroversies in 2008.

Meanwhile in Iowa, here are some of the Bottom Nontroversies of 2008:

Muslim Statehouse prayer threatens Christian faithful (outside of Iowa). Iowa’s 2008 General Assembly appeared to start off fairly smoothly with an invocation by Imam Muhammad Khan of Des Moines on the first day of the session Jan. 14. Not until outside agitators, including conservative talk show hosts and anti-Muslim organizations stuck their self-righteous noses in did this become a nontroversy.

GOP voter challenge/suppression of Grinnell College student voters falls short during November election. Ironically, the seeds of this challenge were planted by GOP adversary Sen. Hillary Clinton during the Iowa Caucuses. The Clinton campaign feared, justifiably so, Sen. Barack Obama’s turn out of young voters. Where was Joe the College Student when Obama needed him or her?

Rep. Steve King’s Little Shop of Horrors (A Tone-Deaf Musical). Iowan’s have become accustomed to the 5th district earsore, whose only claim-to-fame is measured in cubic vitriolic spew units (cvsu). Most Iowans have managed to ignore our very own political Master of Horror, hoping that if we ignore him he will simply disappear. Poof! Unfortunately, the national media keep feeding his Napoleon complex by running his nontroversial statements to help bolster otherwise slow nontroversial weeks.

During his "Oh-the-Places-We-Can-Drill" tour of western Iowa, Rep. Steve King pulls out one of his trusty nontroversy props to illustrate why drilling is the best answer to our energy consumption crisis.

Iowa Democrat Party serves up new brand of McCarthyism to Des Moines Register. As if the media needed any help (although given the recent across-the-board layoffs in journalism, maybe they could use a little help from their “friends”) scouring court documents for juicy details of elected officials past foibles, Rep Kevin McCarthy and the Gang delivered a neatly-labeled binder exposing several Republican Iowa House candidates’ backgrounds. Opposition research or good ol’ fashioned Witch Hunt? You make the call, dear Reader. Either way this should help ease the divisiveness of the two sides come Jan. 12, eh?

Gov. Chet Culver’s condo habit. Okay, so the Big Lug has an addiction to vacationing in million-dollar condos in Florida that just happen to be owned by real-estate tycoon Bill Knapp, who in turn happens to be a contributor to Culver’s campaign and longtime family friend of the Culvers. At least Chet admits he has a problem and that he is paying the $1000/week fee for using the Knappster’s condo. I’m sure that ever since he won his gubernatorial bid, the Big Lug has been scratching his head, wondering: “Hmmmm…now that I work for the people of Iowa, does that mean I still get to keep my friends with benefits before I was elected?” Had Chet done what most state employees who went to the Outback Bowl did, cut lodging expenses by cramming 20 people into one condo, some folks may be a little more forgiving of the Big Lug's addicition.

Gov. Chet Culver: "I might as well face it, I'm addicted to heavily discounted million-dollar condos in Florida owned by a major campaign contributor and longtime friend with benefits."

And Iowa's bottom nontroversy of 2008?

“Smokin in the Guv’s Car”: starring First Lady Mari Culver. While the passage of the public smoking ban may have been controversial -- given Gov. Culver other addiction: gambling revenues (Hmmm…I wonder if gaming lobbyists get the same discount on the Knappster’s condominiums?) – catching his mate, Mari Culver, smoking in a state-owned vehicle is by no means as controversial as the media and some Republican lawmakers made it out to be.

Mari admitted to breaking the law, paid the fine and promised she would never do it again.

Admitted adulterer John Edwards unites with admitted smoker in public places Mari Culver during a campaign stop, both sharing the same thought: "God I'd kill for a cigarette right now."

But the nontroversy did not end there. The newly appointed Iowa House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen used the incident as a springboard to draw the line in the political sand, calling for a probe into whether the state should fund Mari’s police escort service.

As the economic crisis hits home, I’m sure this nontroversy will be a high priority when the legislative session reconvenes Jan 12.