There is a movie starring Sandra Bullock (who hails from Joe McWeirdsmile’s “Communist Country”) called 28 Days. It is about a 30-something woman who goes into rehab and, as my wickedly witty ladyfriend says to describe this particular hackneyed Hollywood meme, “learns how to love.” The film is, almost wholly, a cliché, the kind of movie I ought to hate. But if you’ve seen it, chances are good that you have a certain adoration for the film, as do I. Because of how it ends. (I won’t spoil even if the movie is eight years old. Add it to your queue. It’s not bad.)
The recency effect—the idea that short-term memory grasps and strokes first what it encountered last—is immensely powerful. This is why Barack Obama’s decision to buy a half hour of prime time this evening was so utterly smart. It was an entire half hour, his, all his, in which he got to frame himself and the issues exactly as he liked. It will be one of the last impressions voters hold in their brains as they go to the polls.
And it was good. As a production, as a broadcast, as an argument, it was stellar. It told grim stories about Americans facing tough circumstances but never got bogged down in “malaise.” It allowed Obama to be self-endorsing with a little bit of humble, which is when the man is at his best. It included endorsements from heavy hitters, including a hearty one from a military man. It featured Joe Biden, who, still has more gravitas than any V.P. pick since LBJ has had in his left pinkie toenail. It offered the candidate the opportunity to squash directly and coolly the most hideous attacks on his character and his patriotism. And, it featured many of these stories and endorsements from key states and ended with him live from the perennially spoiling and for-some-reason-important Florida.
The fact alone that this candidate thinks big enough to purchase a half hour of prime-time television indicates how serious a candidate is Barack Obama. The fact that he pulled it off indicates how mind-blowingly smart a candidate he is. As I’ve been saying for a very long time now. Barack. Obama. Is. The. Real. Thing.
This broadcast tonight, it was brilliant. I am walking on ceilings due to it. I can only suppose that it nudged a few million fence sitters. I do fear that he has tonight upped the ante, and that in 2012, everyone’s going to want one of these, leading every candidate to require gazillions of dollars more, and that this unique event of 2008 will lose its special quality as has the candidate cameo on Saturday Night Live. But damn. Biden was certainly on the nose, was he not?