General Question

seekingwolf's avatar

Why is America so fascinated with the daily habits of Obama and his family?

Asked by seekingwolf (10410points) December 18th, 2008

Sorry, this seems like a stupid question, but I’m curious.

This was my first election that I was a part of (I’m 19) and I was utterly surprised by the almost celebrity status of obama during the whole election. I’ve never seen anything like it before and honestly, I don’t know what to think of it.

Like, I remember the COUNTLESS articles about who he is, what his life story was, blah blah. OH and then the issue of a “puppy” in the white house, and not a day would go by where he’d be standing on his podium, talking. I’ve NEVER seen so much hype about a person, seriously. The books, the interviews, the hype, the baby names…in the local paper one day, the top story for a few days was “WILL OBAMA QUIT SMOKING?!?” Seriously, give me a break.

Why is there such hype? Is it because he’s the first black president? Or the lofty promises he fills our minds with? His charismatic ways?

He’s just a very liberal democrat in my eyes. I couldn’t give a crap about his skin colour and I’m upset that much of this election came down to such a stupid factor as that. Is that the reason for all the hype?

Again, let’s not make this a political debate/his views/McCain’s views, we’re just talking about WHY America (at least the media) is so obsessed with him.

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25 Answers

Mtl_zack's avatar

There were far more stories in the news about Sarah Palin and her personal life.

seekingwolf's avatar

@mtl zack

I highly disagree.

Look at the timespan. Obama has been in the news ever since he entered the race and he’s STILL top news…everyday, every time, ugh.

Sarah Palin is long gone in terms of news coverage

RandomMrdan's avatar

seriously? Palin ruled SNL ever since she was the running mate for McCain. I haven’t heard anything about what you’re talking about so far in the entire question. This is the first I heard about Obama smoking, or puppy, or whatever.

seekingwolf's avatar

Are you serious? I’ve heard SOOO much about all these things…

maybe it’s because of my liberal campus…

dalepetrie's avatar

@seekingwolf – I believe Obama became such a megastar was because he is something we Americans haven’t seen in Presidential politics in most of our lifetimes…no, I’m not talking about a black candidate, I’m talking about someone who is both HONEST and INTELLIGENT.

I don’t buy the idea that he was elected for being black. I think there is a fringe element that voted for him because he was black and a fringe element that voted against him because he was black, but all the evidence you need that it really wasn’t the be all end all are the accounts of canvassers for Obama who knocked on doors in the whitest areas of Appalachia and were confronted with exchanges such as:

Canvaser: “who are you planning to vote for?”
Woman: [hollering to other room where husband is watching TV] “who we votin’ fer?”
Man: “We’re votin’ for the nigger.”
Woman: “We’re votin’ for the nigger.”

So yes, being the first “anything” will get you some notoriety, and he WAS the first black candidate to win a primary, to win the nomination and to win the Presidency. But what else was he the first person to do? Well, he was the first to shun big money, that was a pretty bfd. He was the first Honest to God liberal to run in a LONG time. He was a HUGE contrast in every possible way, from ideology to literacy from the asshole we’ve been stuck with for 8 years.

Obama was a big deal from day one, because he spoke of change, and he meant it. If you read his books, you’ll understand.

seekingwolf's avatar

So I guess his lofty promise of change that makes him such a celebrity? Fair answer.

Although I do believe his race pays a part in his fame, perhaps there are some other factors.

As for his books, no. Just no.

jholler's avatar

Kerry, Gore, and Clinton aren’t liberals?

AstroChuck's avatar

@jholler- Bill Clinton was not a liberal.

jholler's avatar

Hillary, not Bill.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@dale, somehow I doubt that seekingwolf will read his books, he would probably sooner get his news from, or any such material.

I have heard nothing about any sort of publicity about Obama, the only thing I remember seeing were ads from the McCain campaign slandering him and putting him in ads with Britney Spears and other celebrities.

Of course he’s famous for being the first black man to be elected president, and all that business, but nothing about his personal life really.

@seekingwolf, if you don’t mind my asking, what was it that prompted you to vote for McCain? what part of his plan for the country appealed to you the most?

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, I can understand why you (seekingwolf) would not want to read The Audacity of Hope, but Dreams of My Father is a non-political autobiography about an interesting person, I’d HIGHLY suggest you read it if you truly wantot understand what makes Obama such a charismatic and fascinating individual. Unless of course you really don’t honestly care and are just venting because your guy lost and you can’t understand and are hoping you can just pin it on the novelty of his race (I however have read the books and I know you couldn’t be more wrong).

And Clinton was not really a liberal, liberals tend ot refer to him as the best Republican President we’ve ever had. His policies were VERY business friendly, his administration pretty much screwed over gays via Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA, he forced many single mothers off welfare in the name of reform, even though it often means they pretty much work all the time just to be able to afford the child care they now have to pay for, he created many loopholes for the wealthy to avoid taxes, etc. etc. etc.

Gore is a liberal, but he did not run as one in 2000. He didn’t distinguish himself in any real way. He did not take the mantle of the environment and run with it. And he proved himself to be no better than any other politician. Basically he did win Florida and we would have KNOWN that and that result would have been certified if he did not try to cherry pick in counties that were favorable to him, if he’d just said, we need to recount ALL the votes, he would have won.

Kerry was a liberal, yes, but, like Dukakis, Hart, Mondale and many of the other true liberals before them, what distinguished Obama from them is that these guys were weak, they just rolled over and played dead when they were attacked. Perhaps I misspoke when I said Obama was the first REAL liberal we’d seen in a long time, I should have said, he was the first liberal with any fucking BALLS. And that, my friends, is something I sure have never seen in MY lifetime, not running for national office.

tinyvamp's avatar

I’m going to answer this question with my opinion of observation and i’m not going to bring in many political facts because quite frankly america isn’t obsessed with him because they agree with all his political stances.

obama is an enfp link, what does that have to do with anything? he’s a charmer that brings out inspiration and hope in others. i’ve heard that man speak and its hard to not listen to him and not be touched because he makes us all feel like we’re on his level when he speaks.

this sounds so stupid but think about it…. America is the land where people come to make themselves because they can. we’re about the underdog, the average joe because we feel we are them.

think of people like britney spears, whats so fascinating about this girl? she doesn’t sing very well, although she dances better than most she isn’t the absolute best and she is pretty but she isn’t drop dead gorgeous. why has she sold 2x the amount of records as christina aguilera whom has an amazing voice ?

christina aguilera doesn’t have any appeal to us because we can’t sing like her, we don’t look as polished as her and we aren’t as cutting (as in personality and confrontational) as her. so we side with britney because she never attacks or makes anyone feels bad even though she is abused in the tabloids.

also marilyn monroe ( a lot of people are going to hate me for this ) but back in the day marilyn was not considered the best actress for her acting skills but mostly because she was so beautiful and people were like yeah she’s not bright and she doesn’t have a college education, etc but she is beautiful and its human nature for us to flock to beauty and something we think we can achieve.

through out this presidential election i agreed with a lot of mccain’s policies, he has really beautiful values but he isn’t something that the new generation wants. he lost because obama had an edge, he used technology to the fullest to captivate not only the educated older audience but the young kids.

seriously, i was driving past king soopers during the election there was two 10 year olds holding signs and chanting “a vote for obama is a vote for change” as they rode their bikes next to my car, my mom started cracking up because wtf do these kids now? they know about obama because of all the publicity

come on, i’m sure you’ve heard of the obama girl thats enough to get young men to look and also he was endorsed by oprah, which many people hate but she is in millions of peoples’ home daily and for years they have trusted her.

now why are we fascinated with obama, britney and marilyn? because they are people we relate to and the press confirms this with every article, interview, etc that they do and it makes us feel like we are them.

also think of adolf hitler, do you know women used to actually get wet over this dude? yuck.

EmpressPixie's avatar

For my money, I’m mostly fascinated with things like when he gets to work and when he leaves. Because I’ve been caught in Obama traffic a few times lately and at the worst possible moments.

seekingwolf's avatar

@dale, I’m not reading them because that would require me to buy them. Thus, giving Obama money, and I don’t want to support him. One of the guys I know from the College Republicans read the Audacity of Hope and said it was pandering crap. Sooo I’m just going to take his word for it, thanks.

@RandomMrMan fox? haha. I don’t watch TV to get my news, I only use the internet, usually Reuters. When I’m at school, I read the New York Times (yuck!).

And for the last freaking time, I’m not discussing my reasons for voting McCain/political views on this thread. Read my original post please. >: (

I’m really surprised that you haven’t heard of all the obama hype. Again, maybe it’s because of the liberal college I attend so everyone actually cares about all that stuff…but seriously, I would turn on CNN or pick up the paper and it would always be there. :p It’s just nauseating.

@tinyvamp, thanks for your answer. I liked it the best

EmpressPixie's avatar

Okay, so no one has brought this up yet (seriously, why not) but part of why Obama is in the news everyday and on a podium everyday is confidence. We’ve got a president who can’t do anything (lame duck) and a guy who isn’t actually president yet, but with the market and financial situation we’re in we can’t afford to not have at least the appearance of leadership. So Obama gets up every day and does what he can to instill confidence, remind people he’s there, and generally try to comfort people. Because there isn’t much else he CAN do until he’s president.

As to the puppy and kids—we always go nuts over kids in the White House. It’s not new. And the puppy thing was something Obama could talk about RIGHT after being elected—a time when he couldn’t really talk about appointments or other things because, despite massive amounts of work done “just in case” on the transition, he still had to hit the ground running and start absorbing all sorts of information and deciding what went where.

He couldn’t hit the ground running with the big stuff, so he talked about the little stuff. In some ways, he still can’t really get into the big stuff because he’s not president yet, so he’s still encouraging the fun stuff. Like the other day, he talked about the cabinet’s basketball playing ability.

dalepetrie's avatar

Ever heard of a library, seekingwolf?

seekingwolf's avatar


The library of my hometown doesn’t have many books (Not even Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde). It’s pathetic.

oh, and I forgot, I just don’t want to. I dislike obama, why would I want to read about his life? I’m not watching the inauguration either. I have better things to do.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well then, I feel you fall under the category of the type of person who just wants to know information if it fits comfortably with your worldview. Not to be combative, but you ask, why is America fascinated by him (you posit the rather racist theory that it’s because he’s black). You clearly view him as an uninteresting stuffed suit, and you have no desire to really know the answer to the question you asked. Because people have told you that if you WANT to know why he’s fascinating, it’s because of his story, who he is and how he made his name, and his first book is a fasinating account of that. Had he never run for political office, this would have just been an interesting biography of an incredible man, and it seems to me if you really want to know WHY America is fascinated by the man, not the politician, you can forget ALL about his political, post-1995 life and just read this autobiography of an intelligent, articulate and fascinating American man. But you dont’ really seem interested, you dislike him, and you’d rather spend your time trying to besmirch him, questioning if being black is all he is, trying to sew seeds of doubt as to whether or not he might be a closet Muslim…basically regurgitating all the unresearched and completely manufactured Republican talking points that do nothing but dumb down the political discourse to a level that is painful to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.

I posit to you, if you want to just forget your personal dislike for the man, and if you are even ONE iota sincere in your intellectual curiousity about what makes him a fascinating person, you can go to your local library, no matter how hard it might suck. Chances are they will have a copy of that, but if they do NOT, there is something called an Inter Library Loan, they can get it for you, no matter how backwoods and remote they may be. And if that fails, it’s readily available at used book stores, at very little cost in paperback, and he would get no money from you. But my wife being a librarian, I can tell you that the one sure way to get your library more money so that it might some day actualy become a decent library is to use it, check books out…every book you check out increases the funding they get, the more funding, the more books they can buy. Or borrow a copy, surely someone you know or work with must own one.

Or just continue to be dishonest about your motives for asking your questions, ask questions you don’t REALLY want to know the answers to, and then shit all over the answers because they’re not what you want to hear. If you do the former, people such as myself are more than happy to engage in discussion and even respectful debate with you. If you do the later, we tend to discount you and write posts like this one.

seekingwolf's avatar

I just asked why America finds him so interesting. It really has nothing to do with his political beliefs. You had to go on and make it into something political, which I never intended. The only answer I didn’t want to my question was yours because it didn’t really answer it.

My public library doesn’t have any new books, and I don’t want to give money to it either. There’s no demand and it’s never used. What a waste.

Why not go read obama’s gospel again if you’re such a big fan of it? I’m not reading his propoganda. I’ll read ABOUT him, but not his own words, because I feel that they would be self-grandizing and pandering.

Sorry you typed that up for nothing. :)

queenzboulevard's avatar

I heard much more about Palin than I did Obama. SNL, CBS, etc. The reason why we heard so much about him is because presidential elections are big deals. I don’t know how many times I heard the McCain war story (so many I could recite it I’m pretty sure). Same with Obama—he received a lot of coverage because he had the possibility of becoming the next President. I remember way back thinking to myself who is this guy MIt Romney all over the news? Who’s this Huckabee guy? Turns out they were saying they were gonna run for Pres, too; a lot of attention thrown their way.

I would say the main reason why it appears to you like he got so much more attention is because of all the lies told about him. “He’s going to have Ludacris paint the Whitehouse black!”, “He’s going to turn the Whitehouse bowling alley into a basketball court!”, “He’s an Arab!”, “Remember when he took his oath on the Koran?”, “He’s only going to help African-Americans if he gets elected!”, “He is best friends with actual terrorists!”, “He used to be Muslim!”

If it weren’t for the lies, and for people who hate him so much to give him so much attention, he would not have gotten it. I would not call that ‘celebrity status,’ rather I would call it liars who want to push him up higher so that when they tell you their lies, everyone tears him down. Without the lies, he would have been a regular presidential candidate.

As for his current press coverage, he is going to have some huge things to deal with in January, a lot more than most presidents in the past decades. I would be worried if I wasn’t seeing stuff about him, since he is going to be leading our nation.

And after reading your posts, I think I might recognize you :)

seekingwolf's avatar

Well the nearly all the press I saw about obama was good…I didn’t see much of the bad stuff on TV though…if it was on TV, it was on Fox and it was def there, but not TOO obvious. (I mean, it was considered politically incorrect to point out obama’s race unless it was to praise him for the historical election for African Americans.)
I just saw all the good stuff…:p

As for the youtube comment, hehe that made me giggle. Well I understand the poster’s dislike, I don’t see how you can argue his eligibility for being president. He’s old enough, he was born in the US…etc. I don’t think he has enough experience personally, but the eligibility laws don’t say anything about that.

RandomMrdan's avatar

To answer your question then…

Americans are interested in his daily life because it’s on TV and in the News. I have no intention of knowing his everyday life, I could really care less. But people will be fascinated because it’s on TV.

Why is it on TV? It’s probably because the News networks are tired of putting on TV non stop the market and how terrible it is, and how we’re in a recession. I’m more nauseated by that, than anything else. If it isn’t the economy, it’s probably GM or Ford that are in financial trouble and are going bankrupt and so on.

Another thing I’ll say about all of this. The great thing about the news, is you have a remote control. You can A) turn the channel, B) turn off the TV, C) Mute the channel, or D) complain on Fluther how nauseous you get from hearing about him on the news.

Though, I think D is probably going to be the wrong answer, and will result in you still getting nauseous.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

think that part of it is that there are tons of people counting on him screwing up (OBAMA’S FRONT LAWN IS OVERGROWN! DO YOU REALLY TRUST HIM AS YOUR PRESIDENT? and INSIDER CLAIMS THAT OBAMA FELL ASLEEP BEFORE PRAYING LAST NIGHT. MUSLIM!!!!) and part of it is just pure obsession. some people admire him so much that they want to know everything about him. some people just see him so much in the public eye and see him involved in some pop culture based things that they mistake him for a celebrity.

mij's avatar

He’s given the masses a glimmer of hope! Ok he may stuff up and not turn out to be perfect but I give him brownie points for getting up and having a go.
I like his style and hey his family seem to be ok, not that I’m an expert but his kiddies look pretty grounded to me.
And he can trot out a mean waltz with his good lady…

LostInParadise's avatar

It was the same, perhaps even more so, when John Kennedy was president, and for similar reasons. We have a president who is making us feel good about ourselves and offers hope in a time of crisis, and who is charismatic and youthful.

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