Obama’s Macho Deficit
Mitt Romney has a 14-point Gallup lead among veterans in an otherwise close contest for the presidency, a demographic aberration more understandable to one of them after Monday’s experience in a Memorial Day parade.
I was in one of those custom-made 1970s Pontiac convertibles, outfitted for Elvis and other rock stars with bull’s horns on the front bumper, rifles and handguns pasted everywhere inside and out, encrusted with silver dollars and bullets—-a NRA fever dream of a bygone America that had been fashioned by a Russian immigrant named Nudie Cohn, who started by tailoring outlandish suits and went on to outfit bizarre cars for American idols with no taste and too much money.
In that improbable vehicle, I was separated by a saddle from old friend in uniform, a Democratic activist, but we must have both looked like the dinosaurs who are now furnishing Romney with his lead over Obama.
Sitting there brought back memories of Elvis and Nixon and their strange 1970 White House meeting at which they agreed that the Beatles and drugs had endangered America. Elvis gave Nixon a Colt .45, and he reciprocated with a Bureau of Narcotics badge.
Seven years later, Elvis was dead on a bathroom floor of a drug overdose, and Nixon had resigned in the face of impeachment for White House crimes.
In this election year, ideological strife is back in new forms and the challenge for Barack Obama will be to win back older white men who long for an imagined America.