Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bugs, Daffy, and That Looney Campaign Tune

Jeff Greenfield, over at Slate, wrote this piece, arguing that Obama will defeat Clinton in the end because Obama is Bugs Bunny and Clinton is Daffy Duck:

Bugs is at ease, laid back, secure, confident. His lidded eyes and sly smile suggest a sense that he knows the way things work. He's onto the cons of his adversaries. Sometimes he is glimpsed with his elbow on the fireplace mantel of his remarkably well-appointed lair, clad in a smoking jacket. (Jones once said Cary Grant was his inspiration for Bugs. Today it would be George Clooney.) Bugs never raises his voice, never flails at his opponents or at the world. He is rarely an aggressor. When he is pushed too far and must respond, he borrows a quip from Groucho Marx: "Of course, you realize this means war." And then, whether his foe is hapless hunter Elmer Fudd, varmint-shooting Yosemite Sam, or a raging bull, Bugs always prevails.

Daffy Duck, by contrast, is ever at war with a hostile world. He fumes, he clenches his fists, his eyes bulge, and his entire body tenses with fury. His response to bad news is a sibilant sneer ("Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin!"). Daffy is constantly frustrated, sometimes by outside forces, sometimes by his own overwrought response to them. In one classic duel with Bugs, the two try to persuade Elmer Fudd to shoot the other—until Daffy, tricked by Bugs' wordplay, screams, "Shoot me now!"

Now here's the Obama-Clinton parallel: In every modern presidential election in which the candidates have personified a clear choice between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Bugs has prevailed.
Never mind whether the political analysis is astute or absurd, let's go with it for a minute.

If Obama is Bugs and Clinton is Daffy, who else is who? Bill Clinton, it seems to me, has made himself into Yosemite Sam. Confused, Maybe Not, I believe was correct when he said that John McCain is Elmer Fudd. Joe Biden would be my nominee for Foghorn Leghorn and Dennis Kucinich would be the little smart chicken with glasses who accompanies him. Marvin the Martian, too easy, Ron Paul. Rudy Giulliani as Wile E. Coyote? Not sold on that one. Chris Matthews = Tazmanian Devil. George W. Bush must be Pepe Le Pew.

Who else gets a character?