Is Barack in Charge of Campaign Obama?

He is the fresh face of a new political movement, but who is really making the moves?

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Albert Murray was the as-told-to author of Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie (1985). He first met Basie in the 1970s, though he'd followed Basie's band since the 30s. In 1958, he wrote this about Basie to Ralph Ellison. (It was published in Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray in 2000.)

[Basie's] got a wonderful band, and he spends most of his time playing warmed over Woody Herman type arrangements! Man, I'm scandalized. At least 75 or 80% of this stuff these days is written by white boys, ofay academicians...Barry Ulanov writes on Basie's own album that he has FINALLY found THE arranger-composer in the person of Neal Hefti. What with the promotion it's getting I'm not even sure that Basie even owns the band anymore. (Trading Twelves, 199)

With that in mind, the question arises: Does Barack Obama even own his campaign anymore?

Never mind the well-documented push to the right on issues like FISA and whatnot. (Who is really behind this rightward shift?) Never mind the (backfire-y) knee-jerk response to the unfortunate cover of The New Yorker. Never mind the knee-jerk acceptance of Jesse Jackson's tortured apology for the castration wish.

But the disinvitation of war-hero and Rove victim, former Sen. Max Cleland from a campaign event, fundraiser or not? This because Cleland is a "registered lobbyist."

Lobbyist? Who really cares? No, seriously, who really, really cares? According to Ben Smith of Politico, it was an "Obama aide" who told Max Cleland that he would not be "welcome" at the event.

An Obama aide? Shouldn't that cruel unwelcoming have been made by Obama himself?

Way back when Obama tossed Tom Coburn over the bus, he called poor Tom himself to apologize. Is it the case that a former senator could not get the personal treatment, but a sitting senator can? I doubt it.

I think there might be too much delegating going on. Too important, you see, is a presumptive nominee! Bob Shrum recently "expressed unwavering confidence" in the Obama campaign to the The New York Observer. Uh oh. If Shrummy is confident, it's over, senator.

Like Count Basie did with his band, it's time to take back your campaign. Otherwise, don't hold your breath on those July fundraising numbers.

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