In a blog at Huffington Post, Barbara Streisand strongly endorses Barack Obama for reelection, claiming that electing Mitt Romney would be tantamount to re-electing George W Bush. Really. I’m not making this up. Babs thinks Obama is still running against George W Bush, which seemed to work last time even when he wasn’t, but surely is an absurdity to imagine today, four years into his own presidency. Today’s reality is that Obama is mainly running against himself. If Obama loses the battle against himself, Mitt Romney will be what in contracts law is called a “third-party beneficiary” to his defeat.
The post is a screed against all things Republican and Mitt Romney, portraying the man and the party as very nearly the embodiment of evil in the modern world. It could have been written by a stump writer on the campaign trail, covering as it does, all the pertinent talking points and the party’s platform and Obama’s generally sneering disregard for his opponent and his opponent’s supporters. It will have no more effect than a stump speech on the echo chamber of the campaign trail, either. In so far as it is yet another celebrity leveraging their popularity gained in another arena to legitimate their opinions in politics, it will mainly be ignored, except that Streisand’s attack is particularly vicious. Mitt Romney is not perfect, but neither is he and his party satanic. Streisand is implicitly discounting and demonizing the views of about half the country with her polemic. This can’t help Obama’s cause.
By making Romney out to be some sort of monster, Streisand will alienate the very people–the undecided’s–who are the only ones that matter to Obama’s reelection. She of course won’t sway any Republicans to switch sides, and because most people, particularly independents who aren’t political junkies, are grown up enough to know that any partisan utterance such as hers must be heavily discounted for probity, she’s likely harming, rather than helping, Obama’s reelection campaign with her vicious attack on his opponent. People know better than to believe Mitt Romney eats babies (a charge not actually leveled by Streisand, but imagery that captures quite well the tenor of her screed). Streisand’s enormous self-regard is revealed in her imagining that she can convince them otherwise.
I wonder, did the Clintons put her up to this? Babs was a star in the Clinton firmament lo those many years ago, and the Clintons don’t seem particularly thrilled about Obama’s re-election. They have to be outwardly supportive, else fall out of the party’s good graces, but really, wouldn’t Hillary have a better shot in 2016 running as a change agent against Mitt Romney than as a successor to the failed politics and policies of Barack Obama?
Whatever is really happening behind the scenes, it is patently clear from this Curmudgeon’s vantage point that with friends like Barbara Streisand, Barack Obama doesn’t need any enemies.