August 26, 2008
After two days walking and cycling - on free bikes! - around downtown Denver, I've seen Obama's face on just about everything. T-shirts, sometimes next to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and even next to Abraham Lincoln. Buttons. Magnets. Foam fingers, except it's two fingers - for peace - not one. Posters. Framed portraits. Playing cards. I have a million questions for a street vendor when I get a chance. Where do they get this stuff? Do they actually care about Obama, or are they just making a dime? (I think I know the answer to that one.) What's the best seller? But the overall point is clear - Obama is not just a celebrity, he is now a product. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, he became a sensation. At the 2008 convention here in Denver, he became a heck of a sale. In front of the convention center and performing arts center downtown - two hubs of DNC events - vendors hawk items like beer salesmen at Coors Field. Should Obama lose the election in November, I wonder if warehouses of unsold merchandise will be shipped to Third World countries, like the Super Bowl champion T-shirts made for the team that lost.