August 28, 2008
I missed a good deal of the first two nights of the Democratic Convention and only caught last night's action on the radio after the Mets game ended (which conveniently was right before Biden went on) plus some TV highlights of Bill Clinton's speech, so I can't really speak to the growing sentiment from pundits on both sides of the aisle that the Convention is lacking in a coherent theme and unlikely to produce the kind of post-Convention polling bounce enjoyed by dynamic campaigns like the Dukakis campaign in 1988. I will say that Biden last night was fiesty, if scattered, although his alternative/revisionist history of the Iraq War, in which the success of the surge proved Obama right in opposing it and calling for a complete withdrawal by March 2008, was positively surreal. And the clips I saw of Bill Clinton suggest that the man still hasn't lost his flair.
But if Obama was looking to come off more like a rock star than a potential Leader of the Free World with his (apparently) impromptu appearance to steal the scene from Biden last night, he certainly did a good job of it, barking that "If I'm not mistaken, Hillary Clinton rocked the house last night" and talking about moving the party elsewhere (specifically, "Mile High Stadium," which no longer exists -
the 72-year-old Obama must be borderline senile). While a certain ebullience and fire is of course to be expected on the campaign trail, it was not exactly presidential in the tone or tenor of Obama's remarks. Also, he pointedly said that he was "proud to have Joe Biden and Jill Biden and Beau Biden and Mama Biden and the whole Biden family," thus rather amusingly excluding only one member of that family, the Senator's Washington lobbyist son.
Meanwhile, we shall see how well John McCain's campaign tonight avoids what tripped up Obama in keeping a secret of his VP pick, scheduled for rollout Friday in Dayton Ohio - the need to move the candidate and his or her Secret Service detail into the location. Then again, (1) McCain hasn't made a big deal of promising his supporters a text message in advance of media reports (McCain's more interested in the voters who go to bed after the evening news) and (2) if word somehow leaks and steals some of the spotlight from Obama's speech tonight, I'm sure the McCain camp won't be heartbroken (ordinarily I'd consider that cheesy to step on Obama's big day but with only one business day between the two Conventions, it's a necessary evil).
The point of the text message is actually simple
1. Build some buzz
2. Actually reach the generation under 30.
Crank, this one you don't get because your kids are too young, and I only got this the last 2 years. People under 30 don't generally phone, they text, even when they can speak. They don't check their voice mails, and they check their Emails only sporadically, unless they have to for work. Texting and Instant Messaging. How misunderstood is it? Texting shows up as a misspelled word here.
So what it does is continue to promote a message to a large group of the electorate that traditionally doesn't vote, and maybe because it's never been reached right. TV ads are important, and you need boatloads of money because so many people watch so many different things. And now, so many people watch shows (look at the Sopranos) where there are NO commercials. So how do you reach them?
The internet is important, and we are its tween years now, thanks to Blackberry and Apple, the true portable computer/communicator is now here. And you have to reach them. So you mock Obama because he figured out how to actually reach a generation of people in ways they've never been before. And that includes McGovern, who basically told me if I voted for him I wouldn't be going to Viet Nam. And how important is that "Dukakis bounce?" Well, ask Mike, not much help at all. This is baseball, a long haul.
Is the post convention bounce even real? Not talking just this year, but at all. My assumption has always been that the bounce is largely attributable to a near monopoly of media coverage for a week which tends to skew the poll numbers for a few days afterwards.
As far as timing of McCain's VP pick, I think the classy thing is to do as much as possible to avoid a leak before tomorrow morning. Let Obama and the Dem's have today. I understand the media's obsession with being first. However, is there really an overwhelming need to stake out potential VP nominees to break the story before the announcement? As a political junkie I wanted to know Obama's pick and I'm anxious to learn McCain's pick, but is that reason enough to release the info earlier than planned by the campaigns?
The text messaging was arguably a good idea if they could have made it work, rather than bothering people with a message at 3 in the morning telling them something that was already on the news. Not to mention it kind of snubbed the more traditional voters Obama needs to court in favor of the cool kids he's already got.
What Jerry said - The problem with the text message thing was the execution. They promised people they'd be the first to know, they weren't, and it arrived in the middle of the night.
You are right Crank, it's always the execution that gets you. Like, say, oh I don't know, the execution of a war in Iraq, or maybe the execution (literally in this case) of a budget surplus.
If the 3AM timing was intentional, the campaign should have considered that almost everyone's answer to "Who do you want answering the 3AM phone call?" is "Not me".
I'm hoping to wake up to a McCain/Hillary ticket. Then we could have tax cuts as well as increased spending on the military -and- social services. Who wouldn't want more government debt?
Text message, I think, was to get text message agreements from everyone, and to have that list...could be amazingly helpful to have everyone's cell #...which is precisely why I didn't sign up...also, he sent it to Facebook too, and I got it that way...
McCain/Mittens...enough to make a Republican...proud? Ick.