The Cool Kids Versus the Squares, Yet Again

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.


No. Women do not find Barack "appealing"; they find him "appalling." Let's just write your error off as a typo.

You're right of course, it takes a special kind of woman to think the Mom Jeans Obama wears are appealing.

Seriously? He's cool because he's on Jimmy Fallon? I guess unlimited drone strikes that have killed many civilians is pretty cool. Running guns to Mexico and having those guns kills hundreds of civilians is cool also. Presiding over a horrible economy and doing nothing much more than blaming it on the other guys is a cool way to lead. Its also cool that he submits a budget that his own party can't support. I mean that's way cool. And of course, if we are talking about dogs, proudly consuming dog meat is so cool it hurts. Of course, gays find his public opposition to gay marriage pretty cool, but then again they really believe he's just lying about it so that makes it even cooler. And those marijuana clinic raids are cool amongst the 60s set. And his secret service detail is cool with the hookers.

But then again, he's so cool that none of this is his fault because he's out playing golf as much as possible so that the adults in the administration can run things while he is out campaigning.

Way cool man...

Those of you who still value being cool--what is it? Do you not have families? Responsibilities? Have you never been poor? Threatened with failure? Perhaps failed and gotten back up? What insulation has wrapped you so well that you would value the way people view you this late in life? I'm assuming you're an adult but, you know it kind of seems like those are harder to find these days.

Nick D'Orazio
Conservative troll and ex lib

I'm a woman and I think he's cool (though not nearly liberal enough for my tastes). Lizeu does not. Let's call it even.

Meanwhile, generalities are foolish and coolness/uncoolness started way before the 60s. Think Jack Kerouac.

Check out Rick Perlstein's Nixonland. In Perlstein's view this cool kids versus the rest of us meme is the key to Nixon's paranoia.

Having read the book, I see the Republican election strategies as being largely an elaboration of what Nixon did in 1968, over and over again. This theme of hating and envying the "cool kids" is part of it. So is the not so subtle Southern racist dog whistling theme.

Obama cool? He is a beta dork and his beard wears the pants in that family give me a break.

Bush was a party boy fighter pilot so doesn't that make him one of the "cool kids"? Just sayin'.

He would have stolen Obama's lunch money.

This whole thing is so dumb. Obama is drone bombing other countries and assasinating US citizens and children, and yet all you can go on about is how Obama is cool because he does a fist bump? BO can act cool all that he wants, those of us paying attention knows that he's little more than a nasty bully who acts cool to the public at large.

So, so stupid. I can't imagine how uncool you'd have to be to think this guy is a modern day Arthur Fonzarelli. And no offense Paul Waldman, but judging by your pic something tells me the cheerleading captain in high school wasn't exactly throwing herself at you.

Obama is "cool" in the sense that the guy with the most elaborate costume at comic-con is "cool". Which is not cool at all.

His voice sounds like a black comedian doing an impression of a white guy and he bowls a 37 with the coordination of Lamar Latrell.

PS if you wear a bike helmet over the age of 12 and aren't in the tour de france, you aren't cool.

REALLY, Mr Waldman??REALLY?? You consider yourself cool?? You consider Obama cool??This is a battle between the cool and the squares??How old are you??? 15??
It seems to me this is a “battle” between the grown-ups and people living in a Peter Pan fantasyland. We have a nation wallowing in a never ending recession. Unemployment at horrible levels. A stagnant economy. Underemployment. Bank failures. Foreclosures. But our president finds time to go on one of the lowest rated late night comedy shows and you somehow find the time to do battle for the “cool” kids.
You are beyond pathetic and very uncool.

Obama is cool. Waaaay cool. He is one of the cool kids that get invited to all the cool parties that have adventurous girls in sheer peasant blouses dancing the cool dances to cool music.

And yes, Karl Rove and Mitt Romney DID more than likely feel a twinge of envy while they knuckled down, put their noses to the grindstone and worked hard. That requires self sacrifice and it's not easy to sweat and toil while your peers are passing around joints and partying like it's 1999.

Fair enough. But, one can't help but notice that more and more, there is one question that has surfaced that encapsulates the Obama Administration in a way no soundbite could. Quietly at first. But now it's being asked all around the net, on the talk shows of cable news. Even your article here asks it, albeit indirectly.

"Where are the adults?"

The sad thing is that this is the only factual, positive thing that you could possibly say about the failure-in-chief. I've got news for you, Paul, cool doesn't get the job done. Obama parades himself like some 20 year old with no intention of upholding the office of the President. It's appalling. I'd rather have a "boring" or as you put it, "square" president that actually wants to get something done than some "cool" president who goes golfing every other day. This article reeks of unintelligent criticism from a mindless liberal. Kudos.

Has the world gone completely insane? How did this article get published? "Oh Boy! A guy can fist bump! I'll vote for him!" Is that all he's got?
Four wars, raiding marijuana dispensaries, and opposing gay marriage, not to mention the basic violation of human rights by the TSA and other government agencies since he entered office, but he's cool because he does a mean pound hug...

Cool people don't go into politics at all, because cool people don't presume to tell others how to live their lives. By that standard, Obama might be the least cool person on the planet.

You want a cool president? This is a cool president. Obama's a squinty little brownnoser by comparison.

"that we cool guys do"


What kind of pathetic loser goes out of his way to insist he's in the "cool guys" club? If you were ACTUALLY cool you wouldn't keep a mental list of things "cool guys do".



Oh.....come on! Nothing says "cool" like having to look up "pound hug" on wikipedia! Waldman is a regular Steve McQueen!

"He has the ability to move easily among people of varied generations and backgrounds [...]"

Yeah, most pickpockets do.

That national debt is cool. Those entitlement programs hurdling toward bankruptcy are cool. Lavish vacations on the taxpayer's dime while millions of Americans are unemployed -- that's cool. That "stimulus" thing worked real cool. Libya was pretty cool, but leaving Syrians to be slaughtered is even more cool.

Yeah, Zero is a real cool guy. We oughta re-elect him so we can have four more years of cool stuff.

Chauncey Gardner was cool, with about the same smarts as The One.

Oh man, the comments here are gut-busting. Why are so many people so incredibly enraged by the idea that Obama is cool? Face it: he is. It's a social thing, not a political thing. Obama being cool doesn't mean he's a great president, nor does it mean he's liberal or anything like that. Y'all jealous or what? I mean, I dislike Obama's policies on so many different fronts. But I am able to step back from my own ego for a second to recognize that part of his appeal is his coolness. Whatever. George Bush was easygoing and likeable (or at least gave that impression). Doesn't mean his presidency wasn't a disaster. Seriously, people. Get a grip.

I'm sorry to persist here, but did you not realize perhaps after your first child was born or maybe the time you and your spouse had to wait 3 weeks to find out if the tests showed cancer or maybe when you lost the father whose opinions you never really took the time to ask him about... Didn't you realize that whether people think you are cool or not is not a matter worthy for an adult to consider?

Nick D'Orazio
Former east coast lib

Oh yeah--dorks are cool these days. Guess y'all missed the memo.

Seriously, no one who saw him throw that first pitch would ever think he was cool. I throw better than that, and I am a middle aged woman. And the Jimmy Fallon thing was so lame it was cringe worthy. And, no one is enraged, just contemptuous.

It seems to me that the most essential characteristic of "cool" is authenticity and realness. Cool may come in different forms, the single element NEVER associated with cool is pretense or affectation.

Does lack-of-affectation describe a man who consciously drops his g's and inserts "y'all", depending on the audience? Does lack-of-pretense describe the man fond of fuzzy Newspeak-style euphemisms? Let's face it, Obama's the antithesis of "cool", he's a run-of-the-mill glad-hander who happens to be a little more conscious of "what's in" than the average politician.

Aping "what's in" is like signing a petition, being cool is more like writing a manifesto.

Cool's no guarantee of intelligence or virtue, the most that can be said for it is that it at least signifies a certain sincerity.

"Pound Hug", so it has a name?? First time I ever noticed the 'pound hug' was after my husband came back from Iraq. Every time he met a soldier he'd been over there with, I'd stand back and watch the pound hug thing in action. I thought it was just something soldiers did. They'd been through hell and all that. I haven't noticed it being done much in the civilian world.

Anyway, my husband will be glad to know he is cool. We will put aside the fact that only last year, after catching a ride with a young employee and listening to his music; my husband called me to share the earth shattering news that rap lyrics contain....wait for it....bad words that perhaps aren't fit for the tender ears of our daughter. I was like, what??? No!! I must do research on this phenomenon!".

Well actually it is GOP who claim that Obama is a celebrity so first they depict him as "cool" and then bitch about it...
Probably that is the way how they want to turn stiffness of Mr Romney into an asset, but I'm really not sure if it works
However after some consideration it may works since Republicans actually successfully depicted a guy who almost always seeks compromise as divider in chief...

Seriously, no one who saw him throw that first pitch would ever think he was cool. I throw better than that, and I am a middle aged woman. And the Jimmy Fallon thing was so lame it was cringe worthy. And, no one is enraged, just contemptuous. أقسام منتديات ترانيم الأمل

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The choice is very limited, you can elect a dumb man or a moron . There was never an option like coll, intelligent or atleast ordinary man.

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