Obama's commandeering of prime time television pulled in 34 million viewers. The warning label should, however, read "only in America"
You will shocked, I'm sure, to learn that
The Obamamercial has been and gone, at a cost of somewhere between US$3m and US$5m. Kerchiingg! The only bit missing was a voice screaming, “but wait, send money now”. Of course the campaign doesn’t need to go on the telly and implore the masses for more cash—even after splashing out for the O’mercial. This was not about bringing in more campaign funds. This, as with any infomercial, be it the guy with the computer programme, with the steak knives, or the best diet in the world, was to sell something. This commandeering of prime time was to sell the product Barack Obama, and his campaign was doing so in the infomercial capital of the world.
In a pure, unadulterated, perfectly produced pitch, ‘President’ Obama looked cool, calm and collected in a wood paneled office designed to evoke an image of the Oval Office. It was not a fireside chat because he’s a new type of ‘President’. This was about the image the Obama campaign wanted to flash into the mind of anyone who might, for a split second, doubt Obama’s fit with the White House. Remember, he faces the possibility of the Bradley Effect, which means voters may say they are going to vote for the black guy, but when they are in the privacy of the voting booth, don’t. Ed Bradley when he was running for Mayor of Los Angeles was the surefire winner in every poll. He was black. He lost. Hence the vernacular now has a neat little package to explain what could happen to Obama. It is a real concern, and one which the Obama campaign has had hanging over its head from the beginning of the primaries.
Obama said his presentus-uninterruptus was aimed at undecideds, but added that it was also a message to—that's right—Republicans! He wants GOP voters to know that he's not their enemy. Obama's beef is with those who have been “kidnapped by a highly ideological subset of the Republican party”. He says he’s now talking to Republicans who may also be uncomfortable with the ideology that has brought
However, were you to watch the Obamamercial, you’d be forgiven for thinking the wealthiest country in the world is a place to be avoided. Those who meticulously put together the softly lit, perfectly paced, 30 minutes of propaganda had no problems wheeling out the ill, the uninsured, the under-employed, the under-educated, and the struggling, to the point that they would have been downright depressing had they not delivered it in such a serene, non-offensive way. Is this really the
There is a schmaltz level at which
The reality is had McCain access to the Obama cash, he’d have done exactly what “That One” did. And here’s the reason. Thirty-four million people tuned in to the half-hour which was shown on seven networks countrywide. It is entirely possible some of them were a captive audience as they waited for the start of the second part of the rain-interrupted World Series (baseball), but nevertheless en masse they represented an audience any politician, especially one consistently lagging behind in the polls, dreams of. Ask Winston or Helen.
Instead McCain is left trying to whistle up a plumber—literally. Trouble is his pet plumber “Joe” (not his real name, and he’s not a registered plumber) seems to have gone almost overnight from working stiff to rock star, and isn’t exactly on call. McCain has found himself in the ignominious position of, in front of a huge campaign rally, calling for Joe, who obviously was supposed to be there. "Where’s Joe?” McCain asks his adoring crowd. “Joe, where are ya?” the increasingly ill-at-ease-one asks. “Joe, I thought you were here with us today…(uncomfortable; no show seconds seems like hours)….well, you’re all Joe the plumbers,” McCain manages to stammer out to the crowd. Indication: campaign in meltdown. With seven or eight houses he should know plumbers are difficult to find. His Joe can no longer be whistled up at whim anymore. He’s signed up with a PR firm to manage his interviews, which may be a clue to his absence.
Next thng you know, Joe the Plumber will be Palin’s vice-presidential pick in 2012, because in case you hadn’t heard, she’s in this for the long run. McCain’s camp says she’s already gone “rogue” and “off message” and is a “whack job”—whatever the American interpretation of that is. Joe, it seems, is learning from the Mooster, in their Eliza Doolittle kinda way. He’s been caught on network cameras proffering policy advice on all number of things to fellow Republican groupies. His field of expertise so far seems to be the danger Obama would pose to the
If it is a Palin-J Plumber ticket in 2012, book publishing will be the industry to invest in. The presses seem to have rolled red hot with tall tales and true of the baby Bush regime. Publishers would salivate at the potential of the ‘P’s to carry on at least that part of the Bush legacy. In the meantime, we can look forward to Maverick McCain’s guide on how to not run a campaign, how to not pick a running mate, how to not be angry all the time, and how to not try and interfere in issues such as the economy when you don’t know what you are doing. Then of course there will the third Obama autobiography, all before he’s 50.