I got an email last week from a fan of my “Politically Correct” books, asking me about my Washington Insider parody of “Puss ‘N Boots.” Julie S wrote:
Do you not see any similarities between President Elect Obama’s campaign and your retelling of Puss N’ Boots? So interesting since you wrote it before his Senate run and you are from Chicago. What do you think?
So I had to go back and check the story, since I wrote it so long ago. Wow! There on page 57 of Once Upon A More Enlightened Time was the sentence:
Their optimistically simple campaign slogan–“It’s Time for a Change”–seemed to strike a chord with the optimistically simple voters.
Should I send this to my buddy at the Center for Free Inquiry-Los Angeles, who conducts all sorts of tests for people who claim psychic talents? Hardly. This was written in 1994, when Obama had only just graduated law school and was a junior lawyer in Chicago. No, it just looks like simplistic slogans don’t change much through the years. (And with a natural talent for inspiring yet vague slogans, it looks like I neglected a career that would’ve been far more lucrative.)
Although I can’t tell from the writer’s email, I think she’s angling for me to say Obama is as shallow and opportunistic as the young cat owner in “Puss N Boots”, who just keeps his mouth shut and lets surrogates drop slanders about his opponent and allows the system elevate him at the other’s expense. If this isn’t the case, I apologize, but more than 3/4 of the fan mail I ever get comes from the Right or the Extreme Right, who think they have found a kindred spirit in me. My characterization of Puss ‘N Boots as the schemer and media manipulator behind the throne was an amalgam of many real politicos, including Lee Atwater, Dick Morris, and James Carville.
And the shallow, opportunistic young master? While there are no jokes about bed spelling or deer-in-the-headlights expressions, I modeled him after J. Danforth Quayle.