I must say, I never thought I’d be dictating the rhetorical direction of the Democratic primary back on February 27th of this year, when I suggested that Barack Obama take The Rock out on the campaign trail with him to close the Senator’s stump speeches with a little “If ya smell what Barack is cookin'”. And yet there it was, Monday on the special 3 hour RAW on USA, Barack Obama himself closing his pre-taped message to the rasslin’ fan voters with “Do you smell what Barack is cookin'”!
I would have to say, in all humility, that tonight was a validation of my long-running position that politicians and their aides would do well to incorporate one of the primary tenets of professional wrestling if they want to rejuvenate American politics – cut promos. And yet, at the same time, these three particular politicians perhaps discredited this position, because these three promos were freaking terrible. (You can watch excerpts, including “Do you smell” here) Stiff delivery was a big problem, for one. Seriously, you could almost physically see the following thought floating across Obama’s face: “Who in the aw-shucks heck is Randy Orton and why did I just bring him up?” (Points to Orton, though, for being mentioned twice, by both Democrats) And Hillary, good Lord. A for effort because she really did seem to be good-humored about doing this, but she had even more tortured wrestling allusions than her opponent did. “Hill-rod?” I don’t even know what that meant.
Also, both of the Democrats were smiling! You do NOT smile when you’re cutting a promo unless you are the cocky heel, and you don’t play the cocky heel if you’re trying to win an election! And not only did Barack smile, he broke kayfabe at the end, but I think I’ll blame his video editor. This is basic stuff, people. Lincoln never would have pulled a hayseed move like that.
McCain had his own problems but, amusingly, his cadence, facial expressions, and tone of voice indicated that he was definitely trying the hardest to sound like a real wrestler. I think he also had the best catch-phrase drops, referencing Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, and Stone Cold Steve Austin all within about 20 seconds. Memo to McCain though – when you’re the establishment white guy Republican going up the first black Democratic candidate for President, or the first woman, I wouldn’t call yourself “The Man.” He did have the line of the night, however, when he aped the Hulkster’s famous “Whatcha gonna do when Hulk Hogan and all the Hulkamaniacs run wild on you?” and turned it into a hilariously codgerish “And whatcha gonna do when John McCain and all his McCainiancs run wild on yeh.”
While the promos might not have been the strongest, I can ultimately take deep satisfaction from the fact that in a historic national election, all three major candidates felt compelled to assume the pulpit of American professional wrestling and reference the following men in an attempt to win the nation’s highest office:
For the record, Senator McCain also promised to introduce the terrorists to this man:
Best foreign policy idea I’ve heard yet.