Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Rorschach Candidate

This month's Fast Company cover story was titled "The Brand of Obama." The article makes a consistent argument that the Obama Brand is a carefully controlled, yet wildly popular conduit for viral interaction. That interaction is what has fueled his popularity.

I think there is something else far more simple at work. The Obama brand is an amorphous rorshach test. People look at him and see what they want to see. He speaks in broad sweep about change. "We are the Change we've been waiting for" etc. While his website is full of left-leaning specific policies, his rhetoric is wide. He is multi-racial, intelligent and eloquent. We all see what we want to see in him because he presents the broadest possible terms to us.

Don't get me wrong, a leader should be someone everyone can identify with. The Obama Presidency could provide a launching pad for national service and national unity not seen since the days of President Kennedy. But make no mistake, it won't be because people fell in line with a vision, like they did under President Reagan. It will be because they felt they wanted to unlock their potential for the good of the nation and each other.

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