Grand Rapids, MICHIGAN—Struggling to understand and counter the inexplicable surge in momentum from rival John McCain, Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has begun reaching out to independent voters who will almost certainly decide the November election. Obama’s challenge, political analysts agree, is to get into the mindset of these voters and truly connect with them.
It’s a daunting task when one considers this voting block’s belief that, among other things, Sarah Palin is awesome and just a regular down-home gal qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, John McCain wants to change Washington and stand up for the little guy, helping poor people through community organizing is stupid, teaching creationism in school is probably a good idea, anyone who’s smart and reads stuff is an elitist, drilling for offshore oil is the best way to bring down gas prices, global warming is a hoax and polar bears can swim anyway, government regulation is worse than Hitler unless you can go back in time and regulate the reasons why we are now on the hook for $700 billion to bail out corporate gamblers, and Osama Bin Laden is lurking in Obama’s underwear.
That’s where the stupidity goggles come in. The goggles, recently greenlit by Obama’s R&D department for Beta mode, decode the million-plus indicators of stupidity, digitalize them, then translate them into visual expressions that people of actual intelligence can respond to.
“It’s like an interactive English-Spanish dictionary,” said head Obama scientist Dr. Ralph Strandberg. “Except instead of Spanish, it’s idiots. Call it ‘Dummies for Dummies.’”
The turn to technology is nothing new for the Obama camp, according to spokesman Bill Burton. “We have been a technologically adept campaign from day one, whether for fundraising, reaching the youth vote, organizing door knockers, ordering pizza, whatever.” Burton added, “We’ll handle stupidity the same way.”
Obama scientists caution that the goggles only help interpret stupidity, not understand. “No one can ‘understand’ a person believing that God literally made the earth about 5,000 years ago and then planted dinosaur bones for us to find and gave us technology to make us believe those bones are millions of years old,” said Strandberg. “All you can do facilitate communication.”
The tactic seems to be working, if a recent campaign stop here in Michigan’s core undecided territory is any example. Meeting voters in a café, Senator Obama responded to a question about the need to stay the course in Iraq thusly: “Your economic insecurity here in unemployment-crippled Grand Rapids leads you to seek stability and fortitude wherever you can find it.” Obama then shook the questioner’s hand and added, “I will show that fortitude by going to get Osama Bin Laden and giving you a job making solar panels. And not stealing your wallet,” the senator added with a wink.
Asked later what he thought of Mr. Obama, the questioner, Ted Avers, a 46-year-old truck driver, replied, “He gets me.”
Obama, in a candid moment back at his hotel room, waxed enthusiastic about the technology. “I had no idea,” the candidate said. “I feel so empowered. And it’s not just working-class folks. I’ve used these babies in to raise money in Hollywood, chat with bloggers, fire up the foot soldiers in San Francisco…with Wolf Blitzer—they’re incredible.”
When a staffer added that politicians might be the best target for the new technology, Obama agreed.
“Can you imagine meeting with [Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom] Colburn with these on? It’d be like going to primate cage with a team of zoologists.”
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