October 17, 2008
There is no disputing that the decision to nominate Sarah Palin as the Republican’s vice presidential pick was certainly a surprise, causing the press to have one of the biggest political field days in history. But in the end was she strategically a gain or loss for the McCain campaign?
I think that this essentially is the problem: what is a gain, what is a loss, and what was Palin meant to do — things certainly debatable but not entirely clear.
But nevertheless, the centrist point here is that John McCain is (in his own words) “Running to win, and winning to govern.” What this is perceived to mean is that McCain is essentially running for the oval office and frankly doesn’t mind whoever contributes in getting him there.
So with this mindset the question can be more or less tackled, starting with the concept that Palin’s effect on the press was positive or negative.
I think the answer to this is yes and no. As explained a countless amount of times, Palin’s immediate burst into the political media was very much a success off the bat, but the (to be theoretical), the chaos that Palin threw at the press has in a sense died down — to the point where Palin is at the point of strategic questioning. And as we have seen lately, this has been proven to be damaging to the McCain campaign in the long run.
And how has this happened? Palin’s immediate political success can be largely credited to timing. Announced the day after Barack Obama’s final democratic convention speech, the McCain camp essentially used the general political media attention to their advantage, and in doing so not only sweeping away both parties’ attention from the Democrats, but also setting an extremely flammable fictional wildfire in the media. And this I ultimately credit to Palin’s extreme demand in the first few weeks she was in the political spotlight.
I, as many other people also pointed out that while the Sarah Palin “wildfire” was burning, Palin wasn’t actually conducting much press herself, shown in the fact that she has yet to break ten television interviews.
And although this may have been extremely efficient for both Palin and the McCain campaign, it hasn’t politically helped the McCain campaign in the long run — both sides of the press are now politically and strategically questioning Palin, in my opinion one of the factors in McCain’s deficit in the polls.
So I ask the commenters, has Palin helped John McCain strategically and politically — and has Palin truly solitified the base and gained votes not possible by McCain himself?
Overall, has she been worth it?
October 7, 2008
In what many would call a fascinating debate intellectually as well as strategically, I will say that I am completely shocked by the lack of political and strategic performance that John McCain put forward.
In my opinion, this debate for John McCain held a huge importance — McCain was in need of a breakthrough, and he as well as I knew that it would need to come with negative attacks.
But McCain simply didn’t pick the right fights — he picked all of them. In almost every question and issue, McCain choose to attack his opponent. And this simply did not (and is proven to have not) provoke a positive reaction from the audience.
And this is essentially what part of the outcome is for McCain’s slip in the polls — he has chosen a proven strategy, in this case negative campaigning, and has abused it — both in this debate and in his campaigning in total.
“You don’t want to hear politicians pointing fingers, you want to know how my or senator McCain’s policies will affect you.”
This quote was both the closest point to a knockout punch that this relatively motionless debate held, but also a show that McCain was not pointing his finger correctly at Obama. As a democrat and Obama supporter myself, I will say (and you can quote me on this) the Obama won the debate from a policy standpoint. But as a thirteen-year old American and political blogger, I will also say that McCain lost a debate on the strategic side that he very well could have won if he simply stopped attacking.
And this is essentially because although McCain had very little momentum coming into tonight, the debate’s town hall-style favored him — he purposely holds his campaign events as town-halls because he knows that it is his strength.
But despite this, McCain, instead of capitalizing on the town-hall format by directly answering the questions asked, seemed anxious to put fourth a knock out punch question after question in the form of a political attack towards Obama.
And because of this, McCain left Obama the momentum door a jar and Obama exploited it, using his strengths to please the crowd with his policies, ignoring the sometimes off-topic McCain points. His ratings instantly increased and as an effect, the normally non-commenting people I watched the debate with pointed out that Obama clearly had a strategic and political edge.
And in the end, McCain never got his chance for a knockout punch. Why? Obama never gave him another chance — using his earned momentum to both answer McCain and present his point in the way he wanted to.
And so I think that McCain fared as more anxious in his portion of the debate than Obama, and that is why he clearly lost.
September 28, 2008
Politics played center stage in the United States on Friday night, once again occupying the front page of press outlets everywhere, and hitting hard in the blogosphere. But in plain words: we won’t see anything until we see the Vice Presidential debate.
And this is essentially because of Barack Obama and John McCain. After a debate of their own that was close enough to produce mixed feelings along the left and right press, both senators have simply set the grand stage up for the rest of their respective tickets.
But what I really am yearning to see is Sarah Palin.
Because for the first time, I believe that she is under pressure. Since her “blindside the press” entrance into the national stage, I have been fascinated by her stardom that has caused a wildfire inside the media. But most prominently, I have been in awe of her difficulty to interview.
And this raises a great point that has gone unnoticed — Sarah Palin’s vice presidential debate could very easily end in a complete disaster for the Republican party, mostly because no one knows what to expect from her, including me. Why? She has avoided the press, only occurring in three formal interviews, which is a sharp contrast to her debate opponent: Joe Biden has appeared in nearly one hundred.
But what I do know is that what we have seen from her rare appearances is that she is not very good at thinking on her feet. There is no disputing from either party that (I’m not about to get partisan) that she has fumbled in all of her interviews, sticking with her proven false points. But there are two very large differences from an MSM interview and a debate — one being that it is for much higher stakes.
The other, (which as a democrat I must admit I am happy about) is the fact that she is debating Joe Biden. What I mean by this is that Biden is essentially the worst person she could dream to face — someone who (unlike Obama), will ruthlessly exploit her lies and attack with “brutally honest remarks” (CNN). And this is not just because he has this type of political strategy, but he can afford to.
Why? I believe that if Joe Biden successfully makes Sarah Palin look like a mayor again on national television, the McCain camp’s “cheater” and “darkhorse” cries will be overshadowed by Palin’s backlash.
And if he doesn’t succeed? I think that Biden will at least be able to recognize that his tactic is not working as he might have wanted, and go back to the subject where he can win — politics.
September 24, 2008
Today’s announcement from John McCain was more than what the press uttered, it was a strategic campaign move that more than took Barack Obama off-guard, but poses as a trap.
This morning McCain announced the suspension of his campaign and his proposal to delay the first presidential debate so he can participate in bailout talks, urging opposing candidate Barack Obama to do the same.
But to me this is no more than a genius PR stunt with a popular campaign trap strapped on as bait. By suspending his campaign, McCain has provided himself a chance to rebound from the political loss he was handed to by Obama’s bold economy talking point that was made out of the bailout plan when it first surfaced.
The most crucial word used in McCain’s statement is “suspend.” This is a popular strategic move which acts as a giant bait for the opposing party to jump on, and this has essentially already started. Similar to what McCain attempted during Hurricane Ike and the GOP Convention, McCain is taking the hint of the economy crisis and the bailout and stopping campaigning to help a topic that is popular with the America people, and most importantly, popular with the non-partisan mainstream media.
What McCain is essentially doing is getting himself into the press as someone who seemingly wants help with the economy, and furthermore give Obama enough bait for him to complain. And if this is successful, McCain could unleash a statement looking something like this:
I am disgusted over the selfish actions of senator Barack Obama for intervening politically with a cause that is posing a national crisis. I originally encouraged him to join with me and rise above campaigning to help solve this problem, but it seems that has ignored me and thus the rest of the American people.
And this could seriously injure the Obama campaign, hitting them with something they have never been hit before: a attack questioning their morals. And so far, Obama has been fast on his feet reacting to McCain’s decisions. We’ll just have to see for ourselves if he takes the bait.
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 30, 2008
After a long string of politics, I took cover by way of the local AMC, but in the end, I couldn’t escape what continues to surround me as well as everyone else — politics.
No, this time it wasn’t Wolf Blitzer or a fiery Fox anchor, but a dose of something rare – an American citizen who just let it slip. It was actually the most exciting part of the movie, (Traitor), and the film hadn’t started yet.
After a quite loud tribute to the soldiers overseas wearing the red, white, and blue via song by Kid Rock (somehow with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. thrown into it) a sole man seated across from me booed.
It wasn’t a scream, but it had meaning to it. Received almost exactly to the contrary by a enraged man in the row behind, the disagreement turned into a full-fledged political debate — all we needed now was Ralph Nater to show up.
And then there was me. From the outer shell, the innocent thirteen year old sitting with a friend for the sole purpose of enjoying a movie. But then here I was — the partisan, sometimes non partisan political blogger who is regularly mistaken for someone decades older. And that person, the late twenties or early thirties political mojo would almost certainly jump in, maybe even throw in a little dose of Anderson Cooper while they were at it. But no, of course not. I’m a kid. So I sat down.
Eventually the two men were calmed down by some security and the whole thing was over with, but the buzz in the movie theater was still alive. The previews rolled on and the movie started, which was conveniently centered around terrorism, hardly a theme that suited the previous argument.
So I didn’t move a muscle. Why? Certainly a highly opinionated and politically immersed person like me would have a voice, and this was definitely a time to show it. But in the end, until I grow over 5’10, lose my braces and higher-pitched voice, I would look like your average kid, associated with anything your average stereotypical annoying thirteen-year old would be connected with. But connect me with a pen and paper, and its a different world.
Another reason by blogging is the new media.
August 23, 2008
After glamorously introduced in Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, Joe Biden excitedly strolled up to the podium, addressing the thousands of screaming voices directed to him. And at the same time, across the United States, hundreds of thousands of McCain’s loyal supporters banned together, gathering for another swipe at the Democrat’s final campaign.
Its just another day in the world of politics, where bitter rivalries are settled by a public media death-match, and separate campaigns take whatever they can find and throw it into the fire. And this is precisely what is happening now on the web in both sides of the center, both officially and through amateur sources. JohnMcCain.com recently ran a section with pre-primary debate footage of Biden confirming that Obama was too inexperienced to be the president of the United States. This ad, which is now on a youtube thrill ride, has been both pushed on proudly by conservative bloggers and ripped up by liberal sources. It has been been debated on both sides the by the professionals and used by Obama’s extreme opposition (the ever so questionable McCain-Clinton group) in every possible angle that somehow attacks the senator.
And with campaign news like this, an explosion of opinions and analyzation all over the world was in a sense expected.
In my opinion, Biden on Obama’s ticket strikes many nerves. Politically, he is the best pick to support the candidate, with his impressive foreign policy insight and credentials, but at the same time he is the perfect person for conservative attack. Even though he is now on team Obama, his long line of gaffes and politically un-correct (whether taken out of context or not) comments will come back to haunt him, whether delivered by the press or by the opposing party.
But then again, that’s just a part of politics, and in the end, it will be America’s decision whether he is the overall best running mate for Obama, not McCain’s.