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Michael Moore's Threat

By Jon Keller

The long wait is nearly over! Grateful voters will soon be able to read "Mike's Election Guide," by movie maker and deep political thinker Michael Moore. Fortunately for the impatient among us, Rolling Stone has excerpts posted on-line, and they are riveting.

In his "blueprint for losing the most winnable presidential election in American history" (geez, really? More than FDR's landslide 1944 re-election? ), Moore begins with a familiar angry-left litany of laments: Barack Obama is giving far too much credit to John McCain for being, among other things, a war hero; is being far too hawkish by talking tough on Iran and supporting Israel; and is in general brandishing a "peashooter" at a "gunfight." Intriguingly, Moore predicts fallout from all that genteel centrism in the form of ennui among Obama supporters, whom he characterizes as beer-swilling, trash-TV-addicted couch potatoes. (We are left to imagine his view of McCain backers, although an educated guess seems possible.)

But Moore doesn't stop with imperious contempt for the followers and candidate of the campaign he claims to support. He offers Obama a fail-safe political solution, one that could only have been devised by a totemic member of the "me" generation - drop what you're doing and embrace...ME.

Moore imagines that the press will inevitably ask Obama if he really welcomes Moore's endorsement. And what if the Democratic nominee should be so unwise as to downplay his association with a figure on the political fringe? Moore recalls the trauma of watching 2004 nominee John Kerry tell a TV interviewer he had not seen and had no plans to see Moore's anti-Bush polemic, Fahrenheit 9/11. "But he had indeen seen it," claims Moore. "I sat there watching him say this, and I just felt sorry for him and for the election he was about to lose." Yes - that's the same moment we all remember thinking Kerry was toast.

And Moore concludes with that indispensable kicker to any extremist screed - a threat.

Should Obama seek relief from Moore's shadow, "it's not really me you're distancing yourself from -- it's the millions upon millions of people who feel the same way about things as I do. And many of them are the kind of crazy voters who have no problem voting for a Nader just to prove a point. Elections have been lost by just 537 votes. I don't want that to happen to you."

In the spirit of Moore's shamless self-promotion, allow me to note that my book "The Bluest State" (just out in paperback, by the way!) deals at length with baby-boomer political narcissism and its toxic effects on Massachusetts and the national Democratic Party. I wish I'd had Moore's tract handy when I wrote it. I can't imagine a better example of boomer egomania than the sight of one of the nation's fiercest critics of Republican rule threatening to extend it out of sheer vanity and self-serving spite.

Jon Keller blogs regularly for WBZ-TV Boston at Keller @ Large