Thursday, October 16, 2008

No more debates! Yeah!


Matt Yglesias explains why the debates have been a win for Obama and a disaster for McCain:

What Obama's good at doing is redirecting conversations to things people care about. He's good at conveying both with words and body language that when the subject shifts to something people don't care about, that he'd rather be addressing the things people care about. He'd rather be talking about something else, but unlike McCain he's not personally affronted that the other side criticizes him.

It's not about how he feels or what he wants but about what normal people want to hear about. By contrast, McCain's key campaign theme is that McCain is awesome and that the government should spend less money, neither of which have anything to do with real problems in real people's lives.

McCain hasn't got a message for the majority of us who aren't looking for a grandfatherly alternative to the upstart Black man. He's not speaking to us at all. And he doesn't even know it.

When I teach campaign basics, I hammer a maxim: just about the moment when you are bored to tears with repeating or arranging for repetition of your main message, the people you want to reach have finally noticed that message. Keep repeating it.

McCain never got either an attractive message or the discipline to stick to it. This observation suggests that he never had to run a truly difficult campaign before this one.
***

This video is not for the faint of heart. The whole world is watching the U.S. election. A goodly fraction of it is watching on the Al-Jazeera TV network, based in Qatar, a Gulf oil state. Their correspondent interviewed some of the poorly informed, frightened people who attended a Palin rally in Ohio and an Obama supporter who tried to influence them. No further comment from me.


3 comments:

Kay Dennison said...

Just a disclaimer on behalf of the citizens of Ohio:

Those people in that video aren't representative of Ohio. Those are the rednecks down on the river -- Appalachian types -- most of whom have never known a black person -- and a perfect foil for Sarah Palin's antics. For obvious reasons, the black population in SE Ohio is quite small. The citizenry there is mostly poverty-stricken and inbred and their rage is fueled by fundamentalist preachers who make Jerry Falwell look liberal. Heck! I doubt if half of them even vote.

Most of us in Ohio aren't like that. We want a good life in a better America and we like positive change. We need and want jobs and health care like everyone else in this country. Yeah, there's racism in Ohio -- just as it's alive and well everywhere else in this country -- but not the viciousness demonstrated in that video.

janinsanfran said...

Kay -- thanks for sticking up for Ohio. I know you are right. I've actually worked a little in Cincinnati and those folks sure are not the whole story. (I know - SE Ohio is a slightly different place, but it is not that far away.)

What horrified me about that video was almost less the people in it (we all know those folks exist, but are not the majority in this country) but the fact that this is what much of the world is seeing -- more even than we are.

Border Explorer said...

Jan, this is sad, sobering, and sickening. The video is a shocking slice of a reality that is not normally so overt. How sad that this is the vision of the U.S. that is being exported.

My own city felt the embarrassment last week of a "prayer" which was devisive and pejorative being delivered before a McCain rally. I don't blame Ohio here. There is plenty of raw material for finger-pointing to go around.

I am quoting you and linking here and embedding the video on my blog.

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