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September 13, 2008
DOING THINGS I USED TO DO, THEY THINK ARE NEW: Okay, it's not the campaign-killing disaster that some G.O.P. types hope it is, but Obama's lame "can't send an email" commercial, as I think about it, sums up lots of things that are wrong with the Obama campaign.
Consider: In a single not-very-compelling ad calling McCain a clueless geezer who can't even send email, the Obama campaign managed to draw attention to his war injuries again, to show that it doesn't even know that the 2000 McCain campaign actually pioneered the insurgent Web tactics that Obama used in the 2008 primary, and to produce an ad that seems tailor-made to alienate voters more than a few years older than Obama, all without providing any actual reason to, you know, vote for Obama. That's a combination of cluelessness, sloppiness, and narcissism -- it's clear they can't conceive that McCain could have pioneered anything on the Web, and they're probably too young to actually remember the 2000 election -- that seems emblematic of where that campaign has been lately. Hubris coupled with poor execution is not a recipe for success.
UPDATE: Related item here. "How toxic is Obama's callous attack? His supporters are scrambling to Obama's defense. Some are pathetically weak."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Some thoughts on toxic politics from Justin Katz, including this: "Whether Obama wins or loses, the output of the American Left is likely to be intolerably toxic. Of course, if he loses, at least that toxicity won't have a man in the White House."
On the other hand, here's an argument that the Obama ad was a piece of brilliant political jiu-jitsu. "Who benefits from an extended Web-wide discussion of John McCain’s physical incapacities – McCain or Obama?"
And a musician reader who requests anonymity emails:
A thought occurred to me regarding the McCain-can't-email ad: doesn't the Obama campaign realize that 80's-retro fashion and music have been very trendy now for the past few years with a lot of people under 30? Those big clunky glasses McCain is wearing in that footage are back in style again among some hipsters. The ad also shows a record on a turntable, as an example of outdated technology. Surely the candidate who is going to make government cool again is aware of the resurgent vinyl craze this year? Tell me again which campaign is square and out of touch?
It's true. The '80s are cool again!