October 4, 2008
As an American, I have recently been surrounded at all angles by the financial crisis, both presidential and vice-presidential debates, and already interestingly enough, the ongoing saga of Sarah Palin.
So as I tuned in to CNN, passing through images of Wall Street, abandoned houses and OJ Simpson’s Trial, I knew it was only a matter of seconds before I saw Sarah Palin. And when that did in fact become reality, I was completely dumbfounded — not only did I see her, but rather I heard her.
What do I mean? CNN’s routine coverage of a McCain campaign stop in Carson, California showed Palin addressing the public, but not like I was used to. I’ll get to the point — she wasn’t delivering a stump speech.
Yes, a non-stump speech wouldn’t have been such a spectacle at any other campaign event in recent history, but the truth is recent history has never seen Sarah Palin. Although today I will lay off the long saga of Palin herself, I must point out something like this has not only been a rarity in the past few months, but to me shows a turning point in the McCain campaign.
Although I believe that Joe Biden won the Vice Presidential debate, I also will point out that Palin didn’t lose it. She fought, but was taken captive by Biden’s foreign policy credentials and successful soundbite gambles.
But what I think Palin accomplished in the debate gave her more long term firepower than any single thing she has done as running mate for John McCain (and sorry for the bluntness) — she is now no longer a joke.
If you asked strategists from both the right an the left on the morning of the VP debate, there would be no disputing from them across the board that Sarah Palin has been in the public’s eye a PR ploy. Whether that is what the McCain campaign intended to accomplish is another analysis in itself, but my blunt point here is that the Vice Presidential debate simply changed the way people thought of Palin.
She didn’t have any coupe-de-grace moments, she didn’t gaffe, and she certainly didn’t win, but Palin kept up. And in doing that she passed a certain point of public status — from more of a joke and PR stunt to a vice presidential candidate. This will admittedly not change opinions on her policies, especially mine, but as pointed out in a rather comic tone by one of my friends, “Palin achieved the expectations of stringing together multiple coherent and complete sentences.”
Although that comment wasn’t exactly correct, it was essentially in the right direction. Palin’s expectations were in fact incredibly low, and because she exceeded them in such a national stage, my guess is that Palin became a valid political figure to many people.
So what does that have to do with Palin not delivering a stump speech? In truth, a lot.
In more of a bold statement, because of Palin’s renewed status, she has essentially set herself into the position to carefully open herself up to the MSM and public alike. My point here is that because of her partial success in the debate, Palin was either herself motivated or given the green light by the McCain campaign to open herself up to the press.
And this of course temps the question: what would have happened if Palin had gaffed and knocked herself out of the debate?
In my opinion the McCain campaign would be very hard pressed to do virtually anything in that situation. They would face a press fire if they didn’t bring Palin to an event, but would also face a brutal media wall if they let her speak.
So I’ll let the commentators have a say at this.
October 2, 2008
In what was anticipated to be a debate of gaffes rather than politics, the first and only vice presidential debate was of more depth and quality than then its preceder — the presidential debate. I say this not in my political view, but of the nation’s vibe preceding the event. And this is essentially because of hype.
There is no disputing from either party that the preparation for tonight was unbalanced. The public, mainstream media, and bloggers alike were seemingly convinced two different ways: the first that Palin would gaffe, and the second that she would be surprisingly intelligent. In a sense, both were right and wrong.
John McCain had Palin prepared, but from any perspective he knew Palin would be Palin. The Governor, policies aside, has a distinct personality that he could not change no matter how much she was prepared. In a non-partisan sense, Palin has a not only unique personality, but a certain way of bringing out her points, and that is what has made her successful on the political stage.
However, the McCain campaign could and did save her from a gaffe. Again staying non-partisan, Palin has and is so closely examined that she (as a completely new national politician), could very well send off a misjudged point or flat out gaffe that would explode onto the MSM stage. My case in point would be Palin’s disastrous CBS interview with Katie Couric.
And because of this, one of the few things that the McCain camp had the ability to do before the debate is give Palin a response to Biden’s likely attacks so that she didn’t gaffe. That was definitely apparent tonight.
Biden came into the debate as an underdog to win. What I mean by this is that the press essentially predicted Palin to decide not the winner or loser, but rather if she would lose well or collapse. Biden, however, was never perceived to walk out of the door with a loss.
And this changed dramatically with the start of the debate. A main point that I would like to get out is the fact that I sensed a feeling of renewal. Despite the fact that the media had called for a one-edged debate with a gaffed ending, both candidates were place on the same level.
This is what gave Palin a boost out of the gates — no one expected anything, and because of this, Palin showed a surprising degree of fluentness in her points, something that took everyone off-guard. And in a sense, Palin used this to run away with the first topic — the economy.
Then came foreign policy.
The main turning point in this debate was exactly what Biden needed — a direct soundbite — coming after Palin’s first talking point on foreign policy in which she essentially backed up her ticket but never gave examples.
Biden answered in what I would call the best way possible — reading:
“With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan”
In this quote, Biden both found his grip on the debate and swept Palin off her feet for the first time. The quote itself was simple, but orchestrated what is essentially the biggest difference with both tickets as far as foreign policy — ending the war and winning it. He took advantage of a bad talking point from Palin, and then turned it into a much needed soundbite.
From then on, Biden rode the wave of confidence, further taking chances with the crowd and the public, in example — quoting that Dick Cheney has been the “worst vice president” the US has had, and later in the debate jumping on a softball question about what would happen if he would replace Obama in president if something were to happen.
In short, the debate showed its ups and downs, but in the end Palin lost not because of a gaffe, but rather through a single quote.
September 26, 2008
It would be put well quoting that tonight’s debate “almost wasn’t,” far exceeding my expectations of a full out brawl.
But before I start, in a nutshell, what really occurred the most to me is that there never really was a knockout punch, a home-run swing — a bold statement or attack that either tore off the roof or declared a real winner. There were really more or less small policy jabs, and in that respect I think that Barack Obama came out on top strategically.
A conservative CNN guest commentator put it extremely well, pointing out that in a social sense, there were truly two different people debating — a confident foreign policy candidate who will accuse, accuse, and accuse, and then an intellectual candidate who very acknowledges his opponents rights and points out his wrongs, playing out the debate on the defensive.
Although I am not sure that I agree with the statement on offense and defense, I think that the man raises a very good point — that Obama will win a debate through his policies, not his soundbites.
And this is really where Obama came right off the bat strong, starting by discussing the economic crisis. His first message was ripe and straight to the point, first throwing out the problem and what he will do to fix it, then proclaiming in a more subdued way that his opponent will take a different and less successful path more towards our president. And I also think that he brought out the point of: “Do you want the next four years under a president similar to ours, who is by the way the same person who you give approval ratings below freezing to?”
And I think that the general audience thought a second about that, liberal, moderate or conservative, and make their own decision.
And I think at the same time, McCain felt his grasp slipping. CNN provided a audience reaction poll (it obviously debatable if it is accurate) which showed a huge advantage out of the gate to Obama.
And this was a very decisive moment in the debate.
When the topic switched to foreign policy, I noticed a McCain taking chances. The pinnacle of this was a very bold statement from McCain about Russian President Vladimir Putin, quoting:
“I looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin, and I saw three letters — a K, a G, and a B.”
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.
September 19, 2008
As Wall Street sinks to new low, Barack Obama has seemingly found light at the end of the tunnel.
After a three week slump spent defending himself on a wide variety of attacks, Obama turned the strategic tables and went on the offensive, using brute force this time on John McCain, who wasn’t quick enough to respond to the economic crisis via a policy.
Obama’s proposal marks the left’s first offensive position of its kind in three weeks, since slipping five points in the polls and sparking question from many strategists.
But more importantly, this is a perfect time for the Obama campaign to get back on their feet and ride the momentum wave into the debates, which (in my opinion) will be the most crucial part of the entire election.
But in truth, Obama’s every move in the next few weeks will decide the election as well. Why? He now has options.
One of the posisitves that have come out of Wall Street’s Crash have been the fact that it has produced a complete press diversion, wiping away most Sarah Palin news and thus leaving both tickets on a clean slate, which benefits Obama and hits hard on McCain, who has recently ran a dirty campaign beautifully, gaining in the polls.
And now that Obama has been given a chance, it seems that he has planned to take it straight to the White House, coming right off by using the same brute force towards McCain that has been thrown at him.
In fact, in my opinion Obama is standing right in front of a locked pot of gold, with the key being in McCain’s hands. Obama must not take if from McCain literately, but persuade the public to make him hand it over. And in doing this Obama must take every chance he can get to attack McCain via the strategy he has proved genius at again and again — doing so in a way that lets the press stick a halo on his head.
September 3, 2008
Sarah Palin came out of the dark in her breakout speech at tonight’s Republican convention, removing any doubt that she was shy and unprepared — delivering (in my opinion) a speech more of attack than proposals, strike rather than progress. But then again, her speech, attack-dog or not, was something the Republican’s desperately needed in an already-short handed convention.
So I give you two views, the first of a center left kid from Los Angeles, aged 13, and the second from a man high in the ranks at the moment, Senator John McCain.
My liberal point of view is somewhat centered around a quote from one of CNN’s analysts, reading: “As a democrat, I am overjoyed with Sarah Palin running for Vice President, and as an American, I am horrified.” The quote refers to the very strong concern across the political board that John McCain is older than most and has hasn’t exactly spent his whole life in a comfortable Washington swivel chair, and if anything happened to him while in office, Sarah Palin cannot and (hopefully) will not be president of the United States, and leader of the free world.
And although I am far from agreement with the senator, I know him. And although he will not succeed in brining up our nation as much as Barack Obama can, I know what and how John McCain will carry out his presidency. And on the other hand, not only do I not know who Sarah Palin is, other than a hockey mom and mayor of an Alaskan town smaller than many Los Angeles public schools, I do not have a clue what she will want to do as the president of the United States.
And because of this, it is why she chooses to attack the democrats with such sure-mindedness and aggression that I feel threatened as an American to listen to a person who has a chance to be our next leader. And regardless of how taken out of context and misleading her accusations are, I can’t turn on the television and see her talking that my head keeps ringing and flashing me forward to Sarah Palin’s United States of America.
Now switch parties, and climb up the rickety latter of politics to the top of the beanstalk. Here you have John McCain, a patriot and lover of his country. And how sweet it is. Although his running mate is soaking up all the news and media, she has corralled all his fans and expanded his campaign’s horizon to new future voters. His dream is starting to click together, and he knows it is only a matter of time until the election kicks off, and he once again will become the spotlight, and battle it out the good old way — in a debate with his opponent.
He loves that the democratic press is comparing his running mate with the opposing presidential candidate, and knows that the way forward may sometimes be staying steady and soaking up the news attention. Although his convention has been reduced from a party to a business-only event, McCain has made up for loss press with his flashy running mate, Sarah Palin. But again, he knows that when the time comes, he will take charge.
So with this campaign and its news buzz, both my view and McCain’s have been shared, kept, and used for both attack and defense, but only the rest of the nation will decide which will represent and lead the United States.