September 30, 2008
It seems like the press is now convinced on two topics — the economic bailout that has cost us one trillion in a day — and everything about Sarah Palin. Because I am no economics professional and am too young to have a bank account, I have become more or less obsessed with Palin and her press craze.
Very early this month, I found a small blog offering that John McCain’s campaign should ask Palin to step down as running mate, in what seemed like a drunken tone, which I had very little interest for mostly because the blog’s credibility and links were nothing less than bogus.
I then started seeing more and more blogs pop up with this topic, along with the occasional webzine posting a opinion piece with similar views to the original blog. But I was extremely surprised to see the story go all the way to CNN’s Jack Cafferty File, a very prestigious, and to me, credible opinion blog. So as I sifted through the hundreds of comments, some (let us say) “interesting” points came up. This is one that I will center my analysis around — written by “erica”:
If he [John McCain] has half a brain he will – but I think we know how much brain he has, based on the fact he chose her in the first place.
I originally noticed this comment because it was so overly partisan that it triggered dozens of follow up arguments, but after staring at it for quite a long time, I saw something different in it — it was completely true…without the “brain” comments.
In truth, McCain made a smart decision, but a very important one in his acquisition of Palin. And many can agree that it has not paid off.
In my perspective, Palin was chosen in the most part for a nation-wide press boost and to collect outer right conservatives who otherwise wouldn’t support McCain. It is widely disputed if they intended to also herd in former Hillary Clinton supporters, but that is completely off topic.
In short, for whatever reason John McCain choose Sarah Palin, he cannot avoid the fact that he has chosen her. He also cannot avoid the fact that he has backed her up and called her “the best running mate I could have chosen” multiple times. So this now brings me to a revised version of the comment I saw.
John McCain is now feeling his Sarah Palin press fire burn out in the midst of the economic crisis, and although he and his staff know that Palin does not have a good chance of coming out of the debate (or really any public appearance) with an increase in the polls, he has chosen her. He cannot replace her.
He simply can’t. Sending Palin into a debate that now seems impossible to win and hard to stay alive would prompt any political writer, commentator, strategist, blogger — anyone to think that it would be a good campaign move to replace her. But he can’t.
Palin, in her VP beginnings, was a literal press flame although she barely ever choose to enter the media. And I, as well as many liberal and conservatives alike thought it she could carry that media flame all the way to the White House. As a Democrat and teenage citizen of the US, I was terrified by her, but as a political strategist I strongly thought that she could eventually carry her stardom all the way. But I forgot one thing — she had to debate. I stand corrected.
The McCain campaign has found themselves in a trap. Their favorite baseball was hit as a home run, but instead of clearing their fence to their friendly neighbor’s yard, it was hit too hard, landing in the haunted house that Joe Biden lives in.
In more simple words, Palin was a genius idea that worked, perhaps too well. The conservatives just didn’t look far ahead enough politically and tested all available traps to see that this could happen. Palin started off brilliantly, but then she made some mistakes and the press as well as many others have exploited them. Hence her “Bridge To Nowhere” claim that everyone from Bono to Keith Olberman have capitalized on. Her two failed interviews that are now legendary on youtube, being smashed to pieces by comedian Tina Fey. But most of all, it is the few information that has been given out, most of it called lies.
So as Palin limps into the debates, there is a very low chance she will make it out. And there is literately nothing John McCain can do about it.
September 21, 2008
When the first concepts of blogging were tested, no one could have imagined its impact on national press and its credibility. But furthermore, blogging was not imagined (and certainly not intended) to not only effect the way we look at the political center-stage, but slant it all together.
But how has blogging done this? The answer is simple and obvious, but otherwise a genius long-term formula that has overblown its projected stardom. Blogging is everywhere, in politics, sports, health, cooking, business, schools and education. But more importantly, its everyone.
And this essentially has two meanings. Anyone who wants a say in their interests has a blog, and if they are credible and truthful, people in higher places will recognize that by quoting and linking them, thus sending the blogger up the ranks. And because blogging has this concept of rising through the ranks, every person who has an interest in something can try it, while being anonymous or not. And this has not only created great bloggers, but famous bloggers. Hence bloggers like Matt Yglesias, who have risen through the ranks based on their credibility and their ability to pump out interesting posts. Then there are also strike-it-rich bloggers like Perez Hilton, but then again this post is about politics.
The second meaning of this would be the necessity for all high-up people and corporations to have blogs. For example, although blogging is truly headed towards the destruction of credible news, Rupert Murdoch is forced to have his own blog. Why? Blogging is not just a trend, it is truly the future of media, and everyone is grabbing their share of stock. And furthermore, hence online webzines and newspapers like The Huffington Post and numerous other smaller magazines, created and run by bloggers.
Before blogging, political press would take their time publishing articles about what they wanted to point out, and now the web has completely changed this habit into a thing of the past.
An example would be the simple gaffe of the McCain campaign’s economic adviser Carly Fiorina, who pointed out that both McCain and Palin wouldn’t be fit to be the head of a major corporation. The gaffe, routinely covered by think tank Think Progress, was literately handed to bloggers by the press. And the bloggers didn’t leave any mercy — the liberals blasting McCain on how he can’t even pick a loyal campaign advisor and the conservatives lashing back with anything they can find.
What blogging really can accomplish is unlimited, and this is what has created a new dimension in politics. Both parties know that they can’t get away with anything blatant, and they have to play the press as well as the bloggers.
This is comparable to playing table tennis with a backwind — it can both help and hurt you, depending on if you fight the wind or let it play your shots. And in a sense, all you need to do is let the bloggers bite on something juicy and you have hit a genius spin shot carried to the other side of the table by the wind.
Hence the vice presidential pick of Sarah Palin, which has created so much noise in the press and blogs that every blogger has featured their own “credible” opinions on, dividing lines in both parties and more importantly creating story after story, claims after claims, and rumors after rumors from everyone on the web. And meanwhile, the McCain campaign, sitting back in their Arizona headquarters had the press and blogs outdoing themselves head over heals, while all they did was simply make a pick and dream up three stump speeches.
So what’s my point? Blogging, whether you like it or not, is the new media, and the political world knows that they can’t fight it. They need to run with blogging if they want any victory.
August 25, 2008
The first day of the Democratic National Convention, even without Barack Obama, was a very successful one. Though many suggested it was just a warm up for the senator’s big appearance on Thursday, August 28th, it really had a more important vibe to it, different that many people — including me — precluded.
Some of the things I noticed included the fact that very few politics were discussed, making the event more about showcasing and introducing Barack Obama, in which Michelle Obama took to her advantage. Throwing out a speech with emphasis on her more personal points about Obama’s history, story, and the hurdles he had to jump to be where he was today. It was a very effective speech that loosened up the previously uptight crowd of delegates to near tears. And not only was the speech powerful, convincing, and persuasive, it also helped out the Obama campaign in a strategic way, too. It in a sense gave the convention, politics, and the Obama campaign a more relatable feel, which both parties are hard-pressed for. Nevertheless, the speech not only may have convinced many would-be non voters or die hard Hillary supporters to punch in Obama’s name on the ballot in the near future, but it really was an attack in itself to the Republicans, proving that Obama had the family and comfort appeal more than they have. Matthew Yglesias may have missed this attack for something literal, as he claimed the only one who really pulled out a true attack was Claire McCaskill.
Nevertheless, this first day has really set the tone for a convention of the ages that well-suits this very different election year. Hearing Barack Obama’s very anticipated speech on Thursday will definitely be something to look forward to.
August 24, 2008
As a recent media spike (which has consumed most of my blog), Barack Obama is heading into the Democratic National Convention — and the rest of the world is keeping their eyes open — and their noses up. The question have popped up everywhere — what would be Obama’s perfect ending to the “official” primary season? Now that Hillary Clinton, virtually guaranteed 2nd place, has recently pledged to give up her remaining delegates, the experts have made their predictions and suggestions over the web, giving the public different angles to look at.
But what really struck me was lingering in a news source that I normally stay away from — Fox News. They posted a very interesting view on Obama, not exactly as a political tactic to pounce on, but as a general state of mind — being aggressive. And what really took my attention about this was the fact that it was very simple, true — and genius. Obama — held under mercy by Hillary Clinton (which made him politically weak) — has now been released by her grip, not only relieving himself to his normal political standards, but giving him the chance to go back to who he was when an unknown presidential candidate years ago — fight.
And in a sense that is really where he is best off right now. Fox argues that the 2004 convention was more or less lost by John Kerry because he gave a very “passive” argument – later letting the Republicans speak undisturbed, without answering the Democrat’s attacks, during their convention. Although I don’t agree that this was the main cause for George Bush ultimately winning the election, I thought it was a very important and well thought out point by Fox.
This also leads me think being more aggressive would be something that Obama could use to his advantage, not only in the convention, but also in the general election. Let’s face it — Obama is an incredible speech writer and speaker, so furthermore it wouldn’t be very hard to incorporate some attack points geared toward the Republicans in his acceptance speech Thursday. He could later (if those points are indeed effective) pound them into the press during general election debates with John McCain.
So, all in all, this is in fact a very crucial convention which can be overlooked by anyone without a credential dangling from their neck. And if Obama effectively pursues these ideas, he could have a boost toward the elections, which will be a daunting task.