Thursday, August 21, 2008

Politico Thursday

I have consciously taken a break from politics since June when Barack Obama secured the Democratic nomination. The primaries were so long that I had to pace myself to make it to November. Now as we approach the Democratic and Republican conventions in next couple of weeks and Obama and McCain are about to choose their nominations for Vice President, I am gearing back up for the sprint to the end.

Here are a few good political reads I have come across in the past few days....

The first is a light piece from Slate on the parallels between the Obama campaign and Pepsi.
Perhaps more significant, the prevailing theme of Obama's campaign meshes well with Pepsi's corporate messaging. Pepsi's marketing has for decades tried to exude youthful energy, from the early '60s attempts to adopt baby boomers as the "Pepsi generation" to the '90s fantasy commercials depicting Pepsi as a veritable soda fountain of youth, transforming nursing-home residents into skateboarders. Pepsi's advertising slogan not too long ago was "The Choice of a New Generation," which could almost be Obama's. Certainly his strategy in the general election, as it did in the primaries, will rely on youth support that is almost as fanatical and fantastic as the fictional version in Pepsi's ads.
Personally I am a Coke-drinking Obama guy, but I digress....

The second read highlights the trend in the past few days where Obama is starting to go on the attack against the McCain campaign. National polls released this week have shown McCain pulling even with Obama, erasing a strong lead with a steady stream of forceful (I'll use that word instead of "negative") ads -- see Paris Hilton. The Obama campaign is starting to fight back. I wish I had the problem of not knowing how many houses I owned....

"Dems Pounce on McCain Admission He Doesn't Know How Many Houses He Owns"

Sen. John McCain said in an interview that he did not know how many houses he and his wife own, a comment that Democrats immediately seized on as evidence that the Republican nominee is out of touch with the economic plight of most Americans.

"I think -- I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told reporters for the Politico. "It's condominiums where -- I'll have them get to you."

Finally this blog post from a London Guardian writer hits hard, and personally I think there is a lot of truth to it. Republicans have always attacked much better than Democrats. Look no further than 2004 when John Kerry's perceived strength of serving in the Vietnam War was turned into a liability against a candidate who haphazardly showed up for his Air National Guard duties due to political connections of his family.

"Why GOP attacks are more effective than Democratic ones"
The McCain attacks, by contrast, are almost all aimed at character. Obama's a celebrity, he's like Britney, he's a lightweight, he's a hypocrite and so on. They throw in some policy stuff for good measure – he's gonna raise your taxes, he's to blame for high gas prices. But the gist of the GOP strategy is to turn the other guy into a person that most Americans just wouldn't want to have as president.


For example, we now know that John McCain wears $520 shoes, owns an obscene number of homes (variously placed at seven to 10) and has probably never written a check to a utility company or a home contractor or a dentist in at least 26 years (since he married La Hensley). And Saturday we learned that he thinks someone with a net worth of only $4.9 million is not rich. He can be painted as – and indeed is – out of touch with what regular Americans go through every day.

If he were the Democrat, everyone in America would know the above. The Republicans would have run ads featuring those Ferragamo loafers and aerial photographs of the seven, eight, nine or 10 houses. For good measure, the script of these ads would have cleverly made sure that viewers knew that this emasculated sissy-man didn't earn a penny of the fortune that purchased all this. He married it!


In general: Democrats try to turn the Republican into someone you disagree with on the issues. Republicans try to turn the Democrat into someone you wouldn't want to live on your street or let near your children. Is it any wonder the latter is more effective?

Finally the Veep picks are coming in the next week. My prediction is an Obama/Biden ticket on the Democratic side and a McCain/Pawlenty pick for the GOP. Speculation is heavy that McCain will pick Tom Ridge or even Joltin' Joe Lieberman (who is speaking at the Republican convention). But I can't see McCain sticking it to the social conservatives with either of those picks. We'll see.

Veep predictions in the comments?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No comments on Veep pic but I do wonder how McCain gets such a following when he so often speaks and says confusingly little. He is either uninformed or misinformed (?) GJ