Obama 'Whistle Stop' train ride
Barack Obama is taking a train to Washington, D.C. today. The whistle stop tour (actually only stopping in Wilmington, DE to pick up Biden and Baltimore) is meant to consciously evoke images of the Lincoln inaugural:
President-elect Barack Obama looks to President Abraham Lincoln for his inspiration, so it's only fitting that the president-elect would retrace Lincoln's 1861 trip from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., to assume the presidency.
Obama will appear Saturday at a town hall meeting in Philadelphia around 10 a.m. before boarding the train for its 137-mile journey.
The train will take its first "slow roll" in Claymont, Delaware, meaning the president-elect will wave at residents gathered near the tracks. Claymont is also the town where Vice President-elect Joe Biden's family moved in 1953 when he was 10 years old.
The train will pick up Biden and his family in Wilmington, Delaware. Obama and Biden are also expected to make brief speeches before departing again.
The next "slow roll" is expected to be in Edgewood, Maryland, 25 miles northeast of Baltimore, Maryland.
The tour then stops in Baltimore before reaching its final destination: Washington.
The entire inaugural has been one long ad campaign to try and get people to believe that the new president is some kind of Abraham Lincoln character. As Ed Lasky points out, this idea is being sold to the American people as his campaign - conducted as a Chicago advertising campaign might be handled - pours it on thick and heavy with the Lincoln imagery:
And he is using the Lincoln Bible for his swearing in ceremony. I have said it before and will say it again, Obama does not just come from the Chicago political machine but also from the advertising, marketing and packaging industry that is a center of life here. He was sold to the American people.
Indeed, as Rich Baehr points out that while all political campaigns are marketing campaigns, this was the biggest ever a billion dollars of a new product introduction" - coupled with a ground game that was "like getting good shelf space in a supermarket."
All of this "much ado about Lincoln" is just more of the same. We can probably expect Obama's policies to be sold this professionally as well. That means that the stimulus, card check, national health insurance, and other bad ideas will have a rollout like a new brand of peanut butter.
Let's hope that it ends up being as succesful as New Coke.