It’s probably not surprising that a columnist who’s boldly liberal enough to declare "I don’t support the troops" and mock Christianity as a "death cult" would talk family members into supporting Barack Obama for president. In this week’s Time magazine, columnist and "humorist" Joel Stein writes about how he worked to convert his liberal Hillary-favoring grandmother in Fort Lauderdale into an Obama voter and puzzled over how Obama can win over Florida Jews. He was "elated" he won his grandma over for Obama:
As I sensed Mama Ann was changing her mind for no good reason, I started to wonder what my good reasons for supporting Obama were. Did I really think that he'd get us out of Iraq all that much faster, that he could actually deliver health care to everyone or that he'd erase the anger between the parties and races? This is a guy, after all, who is no better than I am at stopping his grandmother from saying racist things. Sure, I like that Obama makes people feel optimistic and willing to give, but if I really liked that, I'd have a better attitude toward Scientologists. The truth is, I like Obama because he's young and eats arugula and knows who Ludacris is. Because he's the closest thing to the person I'd really like to vote for: me.
Feeling pretty good about that self-realization, I asked Mama Ann if I had persuaded her to vote for Obama. "Yeah," she said. I was elated, until she added, "I'm fine. I have to go for blood work again. They keep me waiting for an hour. I'm all sunburned like a berry. I get in the water, and I forget to get out. I get in conversations."
I rephrased my question, this time much more loudly. "Yeah," she said. I cautiously asked why. "You gave me his good qualities. You ought to run for something as a politician." That's when I realized Obama's Florida strategy should be based on the fact that a Jewish grandchild is never wrong. He needs to set up phone banks where kids call their grandparents, say they're for Obama and just talk nonsense, as I did. Even if it doesn't work, would it have killed them to pick up the phone?
Joel Stein was also the columnist who mocked Christians by proclaiming "Jesus was just a cool guy everyone liked because he died young. And even 16-year-old girls eventually take down their James Dean posters." Stein doesn't think you're ever too old to put up an Obama poster.