Roger’s Rules

Do symbols matter? The case of the Obama's campaign plane and its missing American flag

As of July 29, Barack Obama had raised some $340 million for his campaign to be President of the United States. (John McCain, by contrast, had raised something less than $150 million.)

Even today, $340 million is a lot of dough. What do you suppose Obama does with all that cash? One expense was having his chartered Boeing 757 made over for the general election. He made many changes. For example, there’s a new private section with first class seating for Obama and his staff while the press gets the standard 3-seats-to a side cattle-class accommodation.

But the most noticeable alterations are on the outside. When the plane was repainted, not only was “Change We Can Believe” and the address of Obama’s website emblazoned on the sides of the place, but the American flag on the tail was replaced with Obama’s campaign logo: you know, the circle with the Yellow Brick Road or whatever it is supposed to be in the center.

Obama’s new tailfin

Maybe this is Obama’s little rebellion over his capitulation to pressure to start wearing a flag pin on his lapel again.

In any event, it is no wonder the plane has been dubbed “O-Force One” by observers. Personally, I am glad that Obama and his campaign managers are so liberal in dropping hints about what really matters to them. For voters who are paying attention, it provides a vivid sense of Obama’s priorities.

Air Force One proudly displays the American flag on its tail, just as Obama’s plane did before its make over.

Were he to become President, of course, that might be one of the first cosmetic changes he made: replacing the American flag wherever it appeared with the Obama O–or is it the Obama zero? Experts have yet to render a judgment about that.