As the races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia hit the home stretch, Barack Obama is spending a little political capital to help the two beleaguered Democrat candidates — incumbent John Corzine in New Jersey and Creigh Deeds in Virginia. Corzine is virtually tied with Republican Chris Christie in a tight race, while Deeds is 10-15 points behind Republican Bob McDonnell. Deeds’s plight is so dire, in fact, that Obama pulled out a secret weapon that seems to have served him well in the past, particularly with black audiences — “Cousin Pookie.” Obama told a crowd at Old Dominion University to “go out and get your cousin who you had to drag to the polls last November, Cousin Pookie — you go out and get him and you tell him, ‘You got to vote again this time.'”
So who is this “Cousin Pookie”? Back in 2007, when Obama trotted out the phrase, Jonathan Tilove at Free Republic wrote, “Pookie emerges as a stock character of the black popular imagination, a name that has come to personify the kind of layabout kin who, if endearing, is also a source of some embarrassment and consternation to his more successful relations. And, it turns out, in his use of Pookie, Obama reveals something about himself.” He then quoted South Carolina writer Kevin Gray, who said, “Pookie means a whole lot of different things; none of them are good. Pookie’s always the foil.” To our way of thinking, “pookie” is just about the perfect word for Obama’s policies; we invite him to trot it out any time he wants.