Obama's Diversionary Tactics: Stickers and Straw Men

President Obama announced this week that projects funded by the so-called stimulus bill will receive a special emblem so the unwashed masses will be able to recognize the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I'd suggest a design that includes a toilet with a wad of cash inside, but Newsweek might sue me for "stealing" my inspiration from one of their more infamous news items back in 2005. Besides, a more tasteful and restrained design has already been chosen -- one that gives Americans more reassurance from that "official" look rather than the reality of hard-earned cash being flushed away.

Frankly, I'm surprised they don't either use the stylized "O" from the campaign (Pepsi seems to like it) or just use Barry's face. I mean, doesn't the whole scheme smack of free advertising for The OneTM? Not that he needs it, what with all the sycophantic coverage he receives in the mainstream press. Even his sipping a beer at a basketball game is cause for excitement. Perhaps Rahm Emanuel will organize a contest challenging us to guess which kind of beer Obama likes the most. Out of the correct answers, a drawing will be held and the winner will not only get a ride on Air Force One, but will get to sit next to Kathleen Parker. Apologies to the cheerleaders over at MSNBC: if you're employed by a media outlet you're not eligible to enter.

Obama's need to use special emblems may trace back to kindergarten, where he got gold stars or smiley faces on his chart when he shared his peanut butter sandwiches and his toys. Unfortunately he received frowny faces when he tried to appropriate everyone else's lunches and playthings and divvy them up on the playground as he saw fit, but he doesn't like to talk about what he calls "the dark days."

Actually, the whole thing brings to mind the "royal warrant of appointment," used in Britain and a few other nations that still have monarchies. Basically, if the royal family uses a particular product and really likes it, they give the company permission to put a special seal on that product, lending a certain level of prestige to the product and the company that creates it. Hyacinth Bucket can attest to the importance of the royal warrant when picking out new living room furniture.

All hail King Obama? It's beginning to feel like it. Perhaps the old European custom of being received at court will be revived right here in the United States. I'd better start practicing my curtsy.

Seriously, though, think about it: if you have to advertise that something is working, it's probably not. It's like putting a smiley face sticker on the gas pedal in your car. If it does what it's supposed to do -- make your car go -- then there's no need to call attention to it, as the car's moving down the road would be self-evident, just as an economic stimulus would be indicated by a steady rise in the stock market, a rise in consumer confidence levels, and a leveling off of unemployment.

The emblem and its unveiling is simply another diversionary tactic used by the Obama administration. "Lookee here, the stimulus is working. We have special emblems and everything!" Meanwhile the stock market continues to plunge up and down like a bucking bronco, with the American investor holding desperately to the saddle horn.