Wednesday, October 8, 2008

10-8-08: Formulaic Politicians

I'm really getting sick of the campaign season. On my way home from grad class last night, I listened to about 15 minutes of last night's debate. Honestly, it's sickening how these guys just hammer back and forth with the same stuff over and over again. And don't call it a debate, please. It's hardly a debate.

But then I wondered: is there a set formula that these camps (not just the politician; they have entire teams of people behind them) use that is supposed to work? Do successful campaigns all use the same core set of tools and methods to get the job done? I think there have to be some similarities amongst successful politicians, even across party lines.

One thing I've noticed is that, no matter how many people say they don't like it, negative campaigning and smear ads do work. And the catch-all "distraction" excuse isn't really any better. This week, Obama said McCain was simply distracting America with his negative ads, and would rather "tear our campaign down than lift this country up." Great words, but they don't really counteract whatever it is that McCain said. You'd think a simple "Let me set the record straight here" along with an explanation of how the other candidate is skewing the facts would work. I guess that's just not in the formula. Instead, just say THE OTHER GUY is even worse than what he claims you to be.

I think what people might want is just a refreshing attitude towards all of this. We're so stuck in the two party system. I got a phone call the other night from "The Republican Majority Campaign." The woman on the line asked me the following question: "If the election were held today, would you vote for John McCain or Barack Obama?"

My response: "Are those my only two choices?"
Her response: "No, you can say 'Other Candidate' if you'd like."
Me: "Other candidate."
Her: "Thank you for your time, sir."

I really can't wait for this to be over.

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