Jeff Blodgett, former campaign director for Barack Obama, is in town for the Labor national conference. Blodgett is probably a guy who gets stuff done, and in the world of politics if a guy can get stuff done and still serve his ideals then he’s doing well. Kudos for that Jeff. However, there are two points that Jeff has made while in the antipodes that it would be remiss of his fans, myself included, to overlook. One point relates to candidate authenticity, the other to passion in politics.
Appearing on ABC’s Lateline on Friday, 31 July 2009, Blodgett instructed wannabe Obamas that they must be authentic to win the hearts and minds of the citizenry. Well, maybe more hearts than minds. There is only one problem, duly noted by host Leigh Sales: What if you’re not ‘authentic’? What Leigh really meant, as she appended to the question, was: What if you’re short tempered or you just lack the charisma of an Obama?
This gives one cause to wonder what authenticity is. Is it to be liked? to have conviction? to believe in the policies you propose? One thing seems certain: authenticity and contrivance should be mutually exclusive.