When Barack Obama appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon the other night, he walked on stage and gave Fallon a quick pound hug, that handshake/one-arm hug that we cool guys do these days to express a sentiment something like, "It is good to see you again, my friend; we know and like each other, but are not so intimate, nor have been apart so long, that a full two-arm hug is warranted." When I watched it, the first thought that came into my head was, "Mitt Romney has never done that with another man in his life." Which is fine, of course—Romney is 65 years old, and the pound hug really only came along only about 10 or 15 years or so ago. And let's face it, even if he was a lot younger, it's just not his style.
Mitt Romney is many things, but "cool" is not one of them. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is pretty cool. He has the ability to move easily among people of varied generations and backgrounds, without doing awkward things like blurting out "Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof!" when he finds himself amidst a group of black teenagers. Women find him appealing. He has a grasp of contemporary popular culture. And most appallingly, he sometimes engages in activities that could be considered "fun" or "light-hearted," particularly with people who are considered cool by many other people (i.e. musicians, actors, comedians, etc.) and this is plainly evidence that he does not take the responsibilities of the presidency seriously. Thankfully, Karl Rove is on the case. Here's a new ad from Rove's American Crossroads, featuring that pound hug, among other things:
So once again, we have to wage a campaign of the cool kids versus the squares. This all started in the 1960s, when people like Rove and Romney watched their contemporaries smoking grass, listening to music with electric guitars, and dancing wildly about with adventurous girls in sheer peasant blouses, and thought to themselves, "Gosh darn it, I hate those guys!"
It may take a little different form today, but have no doubt, Republicans going after Obama for being "cool" is the same conflict, just updated to 2012. So if you're a Baby Boomer, and you recall vividly how you watched Woodstock on TV and thought to yourself that somebody ought to drop a bomb on all those hippies and fornicators and wipe them out once and for all, Mitt Romney is the candidate for you. Not that you didn't know that already.