In a post earlier today, Jennifer Rubin held that “it seems disrespectful at this point to refer to the President-elect as ‘Barack.’“Â I agreed that this does seem disrespectful.Â Yet, her comment make me wonder if there is some sort of cultural phenomenon in this apparent familiarity with the president-elect.
Shortly after the election, at a gathering of fellow Williams alumni, with everyone who offered an opinion on the recently-concluded presidential election (save yours truly) having supported the victor of that election, a handful of his backers continually referred to their man not as “the president-elect” or “Senator Obama,” but instead as just plain “Barack” as if they actually knew the guy.
This wasn’t the first time I’d heard Obama’s supporters so address their man.Â I don’t recall Bush supporters referring to the Republican as “George” or Clinton supporters calling their man, “Bill.”Â (Well, there were “Friends of Bill” . . . . )
I don’t really know what to make of this.Â Maybe the president-elect radiates a certain fraternal aura that makes people feel we know him, kind of like that of such movie stars as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.Â (For me, it’s Laura Linney.Â When I see her on screen, I feel certain I know her.)
Indeed, after watching both presidential candidates in the Saddleback Forum in August, Rich Lowry found that Obama seemed “more like a potential friend.”
Maybe it is just the aura he radiates.Â Food for thought.