Obama’s goodbye bus tour

The president travels the country in a Greyhound bus now in a new campaign pitch. Stops at 7-Eleven, maybe for a Slurpee. Gets down with the people. I suppose they are feeling like Sarah Palin. Sarah rides a bus. Better ride a bus. Sarah Palin rides a Harley. No, better not. It is a mask that fits with her. Not Obama. On this long hike since 1960 the Democrats have been cursed by a monarchist trend, starting with Jack Kennedy. Ending with Obama. And Jack Kennedy would have seemed ridiculous riding a bus.

Anything is possible in America. You can break the chains of a thousand years and find the dharma path. Or you can get a tattoo of the Zig Zag man on your arm and ride a Harley. But for Obama now nothing seems to fit.

Among us Irish immigrants, and Kennedy was married in my high school parish, the general direction was to build our own parallel institutions like Notre Dame. Previous Catholics had done the same with Georgetown, which still, more than most, carries the karma. But the Kennedys instead went right to the citadel and sent their kids to Harvard, seeing themselves in direct shadow opposition to Protestant New England; Lodge then, Bush today. Kennedy then, Obama today.

Not sure it was the right move for us, and Obama seems an extension of us, to go take the citadel of the WASP and their so-called Protestant Work Ethic. Even we proles from the public schools like the University of Massachusetts had heard about the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism from Max Weber. The storied work ethic may have been a fraud, as the Marxists taught us, but the only ones who seem to have it now are Mormons. Maybe they took it with them from New England to the desert.

The lesson Obama learned when Harvard Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. charged a Cambridge cop with racism was one of image, not a lesson of the heart. Obama looked silly affirming Harvard Yard’s pretentions as his own in opposition to the meat-and-potatoes cop of Fenway Park. Now he looks silly riding the bus trying to get along with “real people.”

The real people are practically in revolt. Democratic commentator Pat Caddell has called it a “pre-revolutionary state.”

I don’t think so. I think it is 1979 part two, and much akin to the first, when the country shifted from the frivolous, make-believe and escapist representative image of itself as a peanut farmer, Sunday school teacher from the Deep South with a crazy brother to a more authentic reality. Four years later Ronald Reagan was reelected in an unprecedented landslide, carrying every state but one. He even carried the storied land of Obama’s Harvard, long conquered and broken by us Boston Irish.