Opinion: Barack Obama gets his own nifty Great Seal; all he needs now is votes


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Just before the president of the United States makes an appearance at a speech, a usually tall, muscular person with a machine gun hanging under his suit coat quietly walks on stage and hangs the presidential seal on the podium front.

It’s an impressive looking thing that conveys a sense of the power of the top elected office in the land and, indeed, the free world.


But Barack Obama’s crowd has decided not to wait for any of the formalities like a presidential election, an inauguration or even a nomination, which he still hasn’t actually officially won yet. Wasn’t it Hillary Clinton who was so sidely accused of thinking her nomination was inevitable?

Obama now has his own Great Seal already. And it is really, really big. It’s big like the tires on those elevated pickups in the parking lot at NASCAR races where you look out the car window and see nothing but fist-sized lug nuts.

Obama’s new seal looks really presidential, which is probably a coincidence, don’t you think? Obama’s seal has an eagle just like the president’s seal and he or she is holding arrows to signify war, which Obama was against before it even started.

And it’s got olive branches, which stand for peace, which we haven’t really had since 9/11 but DailyKos promises will come as soon as we shoo out Bush and Cheney.

The seal’s also got a terrifically impressive motto in Latin -- ‘Vero Possumus’ -- which means ‘The possum speaks truthily.’

No, just kidding. It actually means ‘Truly we’re able,’ which translates as ‘Si se puede,’ which translates as ‘Yes, we can.’ Obama is clearly copying George W. Bush’s Texas gubernatorial reelection motto from 1998.

Plus it’s got Obama’s website right up there too. Lord knows, he needs more donations because the poor White Sox fan from Chicago’s impoverished South Side has only raised a little under $290 million so far.

As chronicled by our colleagues over at the Swamp, some folks figure he’ll top a half-billion dollars before election day, now that he’s scrapped his promise to take public funds, this year a measly $84 million to spend between Labor Day and Nov. 4. Public money was good enough for every other presidential candidate for the last three decades. But how could any serious candidate possibly get along on only $1.3 million a day?

During the Democratic primary voting, a lot of folks were fooled into thinking Obama agreed with public funds when he signed a pledge last fall to use them and told constitutents before that, ‘If we’re still getting financed primarily from individual contributions, those with the most money are still going to have the most influence.’


As Jill Zuckman notes in the Swamp, the John McCain camp is using Obama’s own phrase -- ‘Don’t tell me words don’t matter’ -- to skewer the Illinois senator on his finance reversal. But McCain doesn’t have his own giant seal.

The Obama campaign is clearly counting on any stink over the broken pledge to blow over in the 136 days left before the election. And, of course, once Obama backers see the kind of first-class seal they’re getting for $290-plus million, they may go along.

If Obama does raise $500 million, that’ll mean he spent around two gallons of gas per vote. He raked in another $22 million in May, according to the Tribune’s Mike Dorning, roughly the same as McCain.

Some people might be inclined to make fun of a grown candidate who’s against an imperial presidency but needs a really Great Seal before he even gets the official nomination. Maybe they’d suggest that as good as things look now from the city of big winds, maybe he’s counting his eagles before they hatch.

But even if he loses in November, for $500 million Obama and Michelle could build their own White House. And paint it any darned color they want.

For a video of Obama explaining his public funding reversal, along with subversive subtitles from the funny folks over at 23/6, click on the Read more line below.

--Andrew Malcolm