Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I beg to Differ

Ahab thinks the linked corner piece below is almost self parody. I'd disagree, if you go to the corner's link--this Newsweek piece entitled

Obama's Official Blog is Boring. McCain's is Enjoyable. Why That's Bad News for the GOP.

you get to some real, serious, self parody. I don't even think the Corner can touch it, frankly. After reviewing the careful construction of Obama's outreach to that rather large number of people known as potential voters the author, a toddler apparently from the picture appended and the reasoning displayed, offers these counterintuitive gems: More...

The important thing here is that this personal tone and personal scale isn't limited to McCain's blog--it's reflected throughout the campaign. Obama's venue of choice? A 25,000-seat stadium. In contrast, McCain prefers the push and pull of a town-hall meeting--and has, in fact, challenged Obama to join him on stage. While a fixed, frictionless inner circle of aides runs Obama's massive, efficient organization like a successful private corporation, McCain is relying on a decentralized network of 11 "regional campaign managers" stationed in places like New Brunswick, N.J. and Royal Oak, Mich. to handle his affairs. Obama has 700 staffers blanketing nearly the entire nation; McCain employs only 250. Finally, McCain still invites reporters to cycle on and off his bus for face time and interviews, and top aide Mark Salter regularly responds to unfavorable reports with lengthy personal letters--unlike Obama, who interacts with the media only when necessary. "That's not how you win an election!" a McCain associate recently told Time. "McCain is about the only person left who thinks we ought to keep the bus going. Obama keeps the press at a distance. Why? Because he's trying to win!"

I think Julie and I in comments, and others over at SteveM's blog were just discussing the probability that McCain would successfully poormouth his way to the presidency by marketing every necessity as a choice and, of course, as a choice springing from his authentic, maverick, down home, shit kicker, fly boy, manly roots. This came up in the context of McCain's stunningly arrogant demand that Obama and he share Obama's plane to ride to shared debates. On the one hand, we cried "What, he can't borrow a corporate jet from his corporate cronies or his rich wife?" On the other we saw the thin end of the wedge in constructing the visual argument that McCain was the poor man's choice who willingly got out of his old clunker of a bus, exhausted, (my god the man can't lift his arm over his head! didjaknow he'd been a prisoner of war?) to fight the good fight against that *&^% limousine liberal Obama in his fancy shmancy jet. The articles not only write themselves they have already written themselves and are lying neatly stacked before they publish themselves.

I think the argument that Obama is just some kind of elitist rockstar who prefers big stadiums and large crowds because he's some kind of nutty egotist while John McCain "prefers" the "push and pull" of a town hall meeting is the tip of the iceberg for this. Oddly, the most recent McCain speech was certainly in a small venue but it wasn't a "town hall" meeting since, as I recall having used that thing called video, no questions were asked or answered but rather a canned speech was delivered. If that was not McCain's "preference" can we find out who in his small, taut, tanned, sincere and authentic mini crew of believers is forcing his preferences on the candidate and fire him?

But what I really came to say is isn't this exactly the political stratagem I pointed to here ("Its Maverickly Delicious") where McCain, unable to get any actual votes in a straw poll, tried to argue that he actually renounced in advance any interest in getting votes in deference to our Commander in Chief and his apparent need during wartime for a show of clapping hands. This "act which is not having an act" has been so debunked in the last few months and years that its pretty astounding to find someone in the real world over the age of five who doesn't get that its an act. Here's a clue, little Newsweek reporter: "when your mother says she loves you: check it out." If McCain could drag Bob Hope's rotting corpse from the grave to headline for him before thousands of screaming people he'd do it. But he can't. And if McCain had as many reporters lining up to spend some quality time alone with him as Obama does he'd have to turn them down because there wouldn't be any time for actually campaigning and talking to the voters. Its not because he loves each and every one of those reporters that he lavishes his attention on them--its because its a strategy that works for him and because he has no other choice since no one but reporters wants to turn out to hear him speak.