Obama Courts the Juggalo Vote. Seriously.

Imagine yourself on February 5. It's caucus time in Colorado and you and your fellow Obama supporters have gathered at your local Democratic Party precinct and are ready to start making your argument for why the Illinois senator is right for Colorado, right for the Democratic Party, right for America.

The leader of your cadre of Obama supporters stands up and belts out the first line of the group's practiced call-and-response platform speech.

"Who's going titty fucking?" she shouts. "We're going titty fucking!" cry the ardent Juggalos and Jugglettes for Obama supporters.

A Clinton supporter stands up, beginning to argue the virtues of his candidate, but the Juggalos and Juggalettes for Obama quickly interrupt with a rousing chorus of "Bitch, you's a ho! And ho, you's a bitch!"

It's a surreal scene, but one that someone at the Obama campaign seems to think might help their candidate on his way to the White House.

Leaving no stone unturned and no voting bloc untapped, the staff at Barack Obama's campaign (or at least his campaign website) are reaching out to an incredibly unlikely constituency. I'm not saying that your average Faygo-swilling, fuck-Eminem-chanting, clown-painted lover of the Detroit rap(?) duo Insane Clown Posse isn't an informed and active member of the American electorate ... okay, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Reading like a term paper for the strangest of political science classes, this August 18 blog posting on the Obama campaign website lists the reasons why those who believe in the Juggalo creed (is there such a thing?) should vote for Obama. After admitting the ICP's lyrics "feature boastfulness, belligerence, vulgarities of every nature, blasphemy, and a rejection of all things normal," blogger Robert Tidwell works his way to this clumsy thesis statement: "I will argue that the tracks that focus (directly or indirectly) on their political and spiritual views are cooperative with the goals and ideals of presidential candidate Barack Obama."

Breaking his argument up into sections that address such key Juggalo issues as prisoners' rights, health care reform, ending the Iraq war, and fighting poverty, Tidwell creates what the campaign surely felt would be the manifesto around which the then-newly-created "Juggalos (and Lettes) for Obama" group would rally. So far, no other blog entries have been posted under this heading.

As cynical manipulations of pre-existing social groups by political candidates go, this one deserves a wax statue diorama in a Ripley's museum. The otherworldly absurdity of it it moves well beyond what any irony-loving Obama '08 intern would try to slide by her boss. You can just picture whatever web focus group was called together sitting around a conference table feverishly brainstorming which subcultures and social groups they could tap for grassroots organizing.

But this one is, of course, a total non-starter. Tapping a group for grass-roots political support whose basic rallying cry is, to paraphrase, "fuck the establishment," might not garner the kind of support you want. Let's hope, for their own sake, the big brains at Obama headquarters can get beyond the rationale of "we can't get the Evangelical vote, let's go for the Juggalos," no matter how interesting it would make the convention. -- Sean Cronin

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