Nice beat. But can you lead to it?

Barack Obama stars in a music video, sort of. will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas and Jesse Dylan, Bob Dylan’s son, brought together a bunch of celebs — Scarlett Johansson, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Nick Cannon — to cover Obama’s New Hampshire primary speech.

Here’s Ari Melber’s report on the video and here‘s ABCNews.com’s:

It was inspired, will.i.am told ABC’s Alisha Davis, by Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and in particular by the speech he has gave after the New Hampshire primary.

“It made me reflect on the freedoms I have, going to school where I went to school, and the people that came before Obama like Martin Luther King, presidents like Abraham Lincoln that paved the way for me to be sitting here on ABCNews and making a song from Obama’s speech,” will.i.am said.

“The speech was inspiring about making change in America and I believe what it says and I hope everybody votes,” Dylan said.

This is the Viral Video Chart’s tracking of the video’s rise — 200,000 views in a day:

To me, this only underscores the notion that Obama’s campaign is the most rhetorical of the bunch: speeches and slogans so neat they can fit in 4/4 time.

(Crossposted from Prezvid)

  • http://caffeinesoldier.blogspot.com Gray

    It’s an ad campaign. Lots of glossy pictures, trendy media stunts, and many huge promises, but does the actual “product” live up to them? Where has been that hyped “Change” in Obama’s Senate performance? When did he solve any problems by bipartisanship in Senate?
    WHERE’S THE BEEF?

  • SAMG

    It come’s as no surprise that this campaign is effective in the sense that it attributes many of the country’s idols to one candidate. However, isn’t that goal of almost all presidential candidates? It’s one thing to gain support from other politicians in order to demonstrate to the public your qualifications etc…, but this type of ad campaign is a whole other ball game. One’s merit is defined solely on a bandwagon type of campaign. Nonetheless, we cannot deny that it was a good ad!

  • Cooler Heads

    So, Jeff, are you saying that because Obama’s oratory is delivered in a somewhat lyrical form, that it is lightweight and not meaty? Would you say the same thing about Martin Luther King?

    And somehow Obama is diminished because a bunch of artists got together and made a video? Have you looked at You Tube lately? It is cluttered with videos amalgamated from other people’s music, speeches, etc. You should be critical of will.i.am for making a dumb video, rather than of Barack Obama for delivering a speech with a lyrical cadence.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/EricJaffa Eric Jaffa

    Gray –

    The US Senate is divided 51-49, with the Republican minority filibustering over disagreements great-and-small.

    There is a Republican president prepared to veto or pretend-to-nullify-through-signing-statement progressive legislation.

    In 2009, the Democrats will have more Senate seats.

    If Barack Obama is president, then a Republican president won’t be blocking progressive legislation.

    If you want an example of Obama passing legislation by working with different groups, here are examples from his State Senate years.

  • http://thecorner.typepad.com/ bob carlton

    jeff, your advocacy for hillary is getting almost to the bill clinton level. next we’ll hear about fairy tales, your face will start getting read & you’ll wag your finger.

    in answer to your question – Nice beat. But can you lead to it? – the answer is simple:

    yes
    we
    can

  • Harrison

    Your inability to “get” Obama makes me reconsider many of your other pronouncements. Are you tone deaf, less smart then you appear, or just “locked in”?

  • http://thecorner.typepad.com/ bob carlton

    And as a person who has clearly stated his advocacy for Obama, I am curious why you think Obama has gained 16 points since January 20, while Clinton has lost two.

    Something is happening out there.

  • http://www.thepulse.ca shawnpetriw

    Jeff,

    As a Canadian, words cannot express how deeply I prefer to hear some of my American neighbours passionately chant “Yes, we can” instead of mindlessly chanting “U. S. A.”

    In the recent past I’ve been criticized for some of my “anti-American” rants, to which I’ve responded “I’m not anti-American; I’m anti-stupid.”

    If the American people have any real interest in changing their international reputation as spoiled, egotistical bullies, then Obama is your man in November.

    Americans must give Obama a chance, even if it’s risky. It is the only way the rest of the world will momentarily pause and give America a chance to redeem itself.

    Anyone else in the Whitehouse is just more of the same.

  • http://www.knightopia.com/journal Steve K.

    Jeff, I respect you immensely, but your support for Hillary is greatly disheartening. I think you’re missing the boat here big time. Another Clinton presidency is a recipe for disaster — if she can even get herself elected (McCain is the Hillary-killer, in my opinion). Hillary is so polarizing and divisive, we’re just going to be in for 4 more years of gridlock and NO change whatsoever. At least with Obama there is HOPE for change. I have no hope that Hillary will be able to accomplish anything. And I don’t understand why you think she will.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Please tell me, each of you, precisely what “change” means to you and how Obama will execute that vision. With citations, please.

  • http://thecorner.typepad.com/ bob carlton

    On my next post, I’ll try to frame the change I see Obama proposing.

    Let me use a quote from Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 in discussing the Yahoo/Microsoft merger (What Microsoft Buying Yahoo Really Means) to contrast the tone:

    Media use to be about tightly controlled silos — now it’s about loosely affiliated, distributed networks. Legacy business can, potentially, evolve and survive, but only through a radical change in thinking.

    The Clinton approach to politics is a legacy business, that is confident better execution can resolve the issues at hand. As Sid Blumenthal said in the New Yorker piece on Hillary:

    “It’s not a question of transcending partisanship,” he said. “It’s a question of fulfilling it.”

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    I believe the health care is a huge crisis and I have more confidence in Clinton’s policies. I have more confidence in her experience dealing with the economy, foreign affairs, and getting what she wants out of Washington. In Obama, I fear Jimmy Carter. Hope I’m wrong. But that’s my fear. Naive goodwill and polished rhetoric but a disaster at managing the country.

  • http://thecorner.typepad.com/ bob carlton

    Jeff, can you describe how, in the two more years Hillary has been in the Senate than Obama has, she has managed to provide you with more confidence.

    Fear is a powerful motivator – we have seen that over the last 7 years with Bush. I must say, watching Bill Clinton play fear in this race, as well as Hillary in New Hampshire, sealed the deal for me.

    It is patronizing to refer to a candidate as naive – Hillary is not naive when she argues that universal health care is now a core Democratic principle, McCain is not naive when he says we will be in Iraq for 100 years, Huckabee….ok, maybe there is an exception to every rule.

    The way Hillary approached health care as the co=president in Clinton I is a primary reason I can not support her. She was a combo of Cheney-esque secrecy, Rovian manipulation and the worst of the “we know better” that smugs Dems like me have practiced for far too long.

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  • http://caffeinesoldier.blogspot.com Gray

    “The US Senate is divided 51-49, with the Republican minority filibustering over disagreements great-and-small.”

    Eric, thx for reminding me, but, honestly, I was well aware of this. Actually, I know more about US politics than about what’s going on in my own country.

    However, your argument describes a situation that’s perfect for bipartisanship. Obama, with all his charm, would only need to persuade about a dozen or so collegues to get any bill he endorses to become law. Well, now where are those examples of successful bipartisanship? Is Obama a lazy Senator who is not interested in pushing reasonable bills through, or is all his chatter of reaching across the aisle just empty brouhaha with no connection to reality? Either way, this is looking as though Obama isn’t quite like he pretends to be, right?

  • http://caffeinesoldier.blogspot.com Gray

    “Please tell me, each of you, precisely what “change” means to you and how Obama will execute that vision. With citations, please.”

    Good point, Jeff! Yeah, really: Change what? Change, how?
    Don’t y’all think it a bit strange that Obama never answered these questions?
    Not to speak of that his Senate carreer isn’t really a glaring example of working for changes..

  • http://thecorner.typepad.com/ bob carlton

    Jeff, you asked:
    *****Please tell me, each of you, precisely what “change” means to you

    Change to me means:

    A different mindset on Iraq: compare Obama’s POV on Oct. 2, 2002 with Hillary’s on Oct. 10, 2002 – he saw that we were being duped, distracted from the real war and the struggle to address root causes. In her inability to admit a mistake, Hillary shows a stubborn-ness that not just Carter-esque – it is positively Bush-like.

    A viable healthcare reform: rather than stick with the status quo or Hillary-care II, Obama lays out a plan that will supports those in greatest need (chronically ill, children) and works at reducing cost & offering coverage for all who want it. Look at his record in the Illinois house for a sense of how he delivered here.

    A foreign policy that is both muscular & one we can be proud of: Obama was early to point out the risks still inherent in Pakistan and Afghanistan, arguing that the U.S. policy of non-recognition is a non-starter. Obama has worked on nuclear acountability around the globe since he entered the Senate.

    Tech policy: He is staunchly in favor of net neutrality, and has promised to make it a priority to reinstate it in his first year in office. He has proposed intelligent programs for increasing technology education and access to children. He doesn’t believe the FCC went far enough in their proposed rules for opening up the 700MHz spectrum auctions. He wants to see increases in the number of H1-B visas given out each year. He strongly supports research into renewable energy sources and he has a realistic, market based approach to capping carbon emissions.

    ******how Obama will execute that vision
    With transparency: he has consistently worked to make gov’t more transparent & accountable, he has accepted no campaign funds from PACs or lobbyists.

    With broad support: look at how Obama has funded his campaign – more, smaller donations – compared to the Terry McAuliffe corp. gravy train.

    With the support of new voices: spend a day with the young people who make up the Obama movement – our country sorely needs their optimism, their energy, their efforts

    And I must add:

    he will execute that vision WITHOUT BILL CLINTON in the White House
    nominating the Clintons after the drama they put this country – and the Dem party – thru is reckless in my mind

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/EricJaffa Eric Jaffa

    Gray –

    With regard to “bipartisanship” and “reasonable bills,” there are competing interests.

    It would be good for consumers and website owners for Congress to pass a Net Neutrality bill, which Obama supports.

    It would be bad for the biggest ISPs for Congress to pass a Net Neutrality bill. That is why Republicans are blocking it.

    Until we get more Democrats in the Senate, the Senate won’t pass such a bill. The good news is that there will be more Democrats in the Senate in 2009 than there are now.

  • http://rexblog.com Rex Hammock

    Change: Not having someone named Bush or Clinton in the White House.

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  • Kristin

    Speaking of lyrical “change” rhetoric….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEaS-K3j3M8
    It may be empty and meaningless, but it’s obviously (maybe unfortunately) catching on with all the candidates.

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  • http://caffeinesoldier.blogspot.com Gray

    “With regard to “bipartisanship” and “reasonable bills,” there are competing interests.”

    You have a point here, Eric. So, what do you want? And then, what’s so great about Obama’s constant stomping for bipartisanship?

    However, 100% ack about the Dems needing a supermajority, that would have a much higher impact on pushing Dem bills through than a president Obama may ever have. Amidst all that brouhaha about the presidential candidates, I fear that the important battles about Congress seats become all but forgotten…

  • http://caffeinesoldier.blogspot.com Gray

    “Change: Not having someone named Bush or Clinton in the White House.”
    That’s lame. There wasn’t anything wrong with the first Clinton presidency, quite to the contrary, best times the US had in some decades, so why fear a reprisal?

    And change could also mean, not another phony pretender in the WH! Think about that.

  • Michael

    What the Obama movement is about: and what you’re missing:

    I just checked in with your blog after a break. I’m shocked to see how you just aren’t ‘getting it’ when it comes to the Obama campaign.

    We’ve raised a whole generation of young people to participate via commerce. They only identify with something if it is a product they can buy into. The only way to engage them in politics is to create that product and offer them a chance to buy in. That’s the brilliance of the Obama campaign.

    Now, if it were only a product, it would be meaningless – but it’s also a totally participatory and transparent campaign. It is grassroots, built entirely from the ground up, and the course of the campaign is determined by the people. This campaign, in all of it’s manifestations is democratic, it’s democratic in a way that politics hasn’t been before. The product that you are seeing, and dismissing, is only the packaging – it’s the doorway that gets young people involved. Once they are, they are let loose.

    Signing up and participating with Obama’s campaign allows you to email anyone involved in the effort, nothing is filtered, no one is babysat. The campaign staffers are completely accessible, the campaign itself is in the hands of the people, the volunteers, the believers. This is a movement – and the passion is not about sound bites, but the sound bites do accurately represent the passion.

    You’re missing the whole thing – you’re blind to the excitement, the engagement, the groundswell of interest in politics and issues that is bringing in a whole new generation of previously apathetic voters. If Democrats don’t recognize what this movement means and what it could mean – they risk loosing the white house this November.

    We don’t want an executive to lead us – we want someone who will amplify our voices and give us the ability to reach into government. We don’t want someone who voted for the war and can’t admit it was a mistake, we want someone who was right about the war from the beginning and isn’t afraid to say it.

    This campaign has nothing to do with Obama himself, it’s about us. I worked FOR Kerry/Edwards, I loved the Clintons – but for the first time in my life, I AM the campaign and I’m working for MY voice, MY vision, MY hopes.

    You titled your response to the music video “Nice Beat. But can you lead to it?” You’re missing the whole point – we don’t WANT a leader. We’re done with leaders.

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  • Sebastian

    How amusing that Mr. Big, Old Media has turned into Mr. Big, Old Politics.

  • http://www.messagingtimes.com Tom O’Leary

    I suppose that our recent 8-year stint with an inarticulate and beat-less conductor who failed to lead us; we might be led to believe that a good conductor requires some rhythm, whether that rhythm comes in the form of a 3 beat or a 4 beat. Nothing gets a dead party moving better than throwing some beats on. It makes people start moving in a coordinated manner. I think that we’ll see the results of that on Tuesday.

  • kamershah

    It is pure sophistry for this much “critique” to be applied to a music video. It is simply time for the oppression of the baby boomers to end. If younger generations like a bit of music and beauty with their political messages, so be it.
    If you are not moved and/or inspired by it, who wants you?
    Will we dance on your graves? Yes we will.

  • http://www.messagingtimes.com Tom O’Leary

    Thanks for the video by the way. I’ve forwarded it on – because I can. You can too!

  • Andrew

    I think Obama’s plans are clearly described on his website. I’ve read his, Clinton’s and Edwards’. Also McCain’s and Romney’s. Policy papers shouldn’t be your only measure, but from what I’ve read, all three candidates propose change in the form of tighter scrutiny of the way profit enticements are dangled or shoved in front of our representatives. Once some control is achieved, all propose reasonable policies to provide relief to 99% of wage earning Americans by rebalancing power over basic support systems (health, education, transportation, etc.) so those who demand services are not treated unfairly by those who supply them. In principal, Clinton, Obama and Edwards were very similar on policy.

    You might parse the details. But for me, what makes them different is philosphical. Obama grace is not just rhetorical, he harnesses the force of the electorate. (A real version of Bush’ political capitol.) Hillary wants you to know that she will use her network of friends to fight on our behalf. (That’s less graceful, since they’re not your friends.) Once president, I think Obama will have many new friends, so his potential seems much greater.

    I don’t like David Brooks much, but his Super Tuesday OpEd in the NYTimes isn’t empty criticism. Have a look.

    Regarding someone’s invocation of Carter’s failure, Hess suggested that he failed because he placed “greater emphasis on methods, procedures and instruments for making policy than on the content of policy itself.” In comparison, Obama is not light on content, in fact, he has imaginative policy ideas, and seems to have a clear governmental philosophy. Carter’s administration was demoralized by his blandness. Is Obama bland to you?

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  • mzoeomew

    CoolerHead, It’s not the method or the manner in the delivery. It’s the fact that these “celebrities” are turning this election and Obama’s campaign of critical issues into a lame high school popularity contest. It’s actually insulting to me that will.i.am, et. al. thinks my age group is so easily influenced that we’ll just follow the Piper.

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