There’s no end to the comparisons being made between President Barack Obama and various historical and political figures, from the statesmanship of Lincoln and Washington and the charisma of Kennedy to the youth and charm of Clinton.
Writing in his first column for the Huffington Post on Friday, Wentz offered the offbeat assessment as he tried to digest his feelings about attending the inauguration and performing at the Youth Ball, finding his angle by comparing the presidency to the rocket ride of going from being an unknown artist to a world-famous one. Sound familiar?
“I’ve been a fan of Barack Obama’s for a while and, like everyone else, was elated when he won, and even more so when I had the privilege to meet him at the event,” Wentz wrote. “He’s an underdog, which is something I can relate to (and he uses a BlackBerry as much as I do — although I don’t think we’ll be getting any Twitter updates from our new president).”
Wentz opines that as his fellow Chicagoan makes the transition from campaign promises to leadership, he faces an interesting set of challenges not unlike those confronted by indie filmmakers or underground rock bands. “He was an underdog and he had the people’s support because of it,” he wrote. “Everyone was rooting for him as they would David in his battle against Goliath. America loves an underdog. The Cubs are living proof of that.”
And here’s where things get interesting. See, according to Wentz, when the underdog wins, expectations get high and the audience is suddenly paying attention. “There is a microphone hissing and feedback,” he said. “When that happened before, it was quaint and authentic. Now it’s annoying and unprofessional.” Recession, war, mounting unemployment, history to be made, people are expecting results now, blah, blah, blah.
“At the risk of extending the metaphor,” Wentz continued, making us sigh in relief that he does actually understand how far up in the trees he is on this one, “President Obama faces a challenge like Lauryn Hill after her album [The] Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won five Grammys or the Coen Brothers after ‘Blood Simple’ won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Will it take awhile for his own ‘Fargo’ or ‘No Country for Old Men’? Or will success come early and often?”
Or, Wentz forgot to add, will Obama lose the thread, act in an erratic, bizarre fashion at concerts, wander around Jersey in way, way too much makeup, squander his talent and end up an interesting, if sad, footnote to history with one brilliant album — er, policy — to his credit? OK, maybe Hill wasn’t the best example. Let’s try Amy Winehouse instead. Hmm, forget it. How about Norah Jones? Maybe we’ll just stick to the movie metaphors.
“Either way I, for one, am glad the underdog got a shot,” Wentz concluded. “Underdogs are the ones who are hungry, who will transcend convention and will break barriers. Just when it’s at its worst … it gets better. As long as he just keeps up the pace he has so far, I have a feeling we will keep rooting for him.”
Quentin Tarantino? Guy Ritchie? Whatever, Pete, we’ll get back to you on this one.