This Election Cycle

November 13, 2008

inspector121This election cycle, more than any other before, has been influenced by New Media – the internet, blogs, social networking, and other things that have only become wide-spread in use and access. With how new these things are, anyone has been able to comment on anything and everything, and many more people are getting attention from people around the world.

Many events have influenced this election, but I’d like to highlight a few that showed how the internet and new media have changed the election process.

3. Bridge to Nowhere/Alaska and Russia

Palin’s statements have been a dominate meme since the Republican National Convention – especially these two. Even after the election is over (albeit for just more a week), jokes are still made about bridges and “I can see [insert country] from my house!” We’ll have to wait and see how long they will last, but I doubt that they will fade quickly.

2. “The fundamentals of our economy are strong”

While not as prevalent a meme, this phrase made its own circuit of the internet and the blogs and eventually moved to the more traditional media outlets. It continued to be pulled back out during debates and the worst part of the economic crisis – beit an economic or a political “worst”, however you personally interpret it.

[A related cirulation was the idea of suspending a campaign (or, for joke purposes, homework, assignments, break times, or any number of things), but this was not a new media centered event, it deserves only a mention, but not its own entry.]

1. “That One”

round-sticker

In one of the greatest moments of new media and this election, mere hours – between the end of the debate and the next morning, easily – www.thatone08.com was up and running, selling T-shirts and showing videos using the phrase – and making fun of it, of course. While, in the end, it might not have played that large of a role in the result of the election, it was a perfect example of new media commenting on and affecting the political process, specifically media made of people working from home – people who were perhaps not professional bloggers or writers and were just politically active and aware, and had the tools and put in the time to do what they could.

As a student, a writer, and a blogger, this has been an amazing experience – both to watch the amazing things that people like myself have done, and to do a small part myself in working within the democratic process.

But, to end on a different note, I would like to send a thank you to Rachel Maddow for sticking up for those of us who blog in our pajamas from home – though I must say that not everyone has basements. They are a little impossible in coastal areas when I lived until college. 

Thank you all for an amazing election cycle, and goodnight!

-Inspector 121

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Let Them Eat Candy

October 31, 2008

I’ve spent some time counting (you know how much I love to count) after Cookie Monster and I conversed about Halloveen and the vonderful viral marketing campaign possibilities and I have some numbers for you to ponder, ah ah ah.

Instead of spending money on television ads, McCain might have better spent it creating some custom M&M’s to hand out to children on Halloveen. The Mars Candy Company has a vonderful vebsite vhere you can create candies with custom messages.

Let us start by counting the money McCain spent this past week in Florida on television advertisements. Let’s see, one, 100 thousand. Two, 200 thousand. Two hundred twenty-eight, 228 thousand dollars, ah ah ah. Now ve take this number and count the packages of specially created M&M’s that could be purchased at $1.79 each. Five, five thousand. Thirty-five, 35,000. One hundred thirty-five, 135,000, McCain can buy 135,000 units, ah ah ah. These could then be dispersed amongst households to give out during the vitching hours of Halloween night.

Compared to the measly 416 units of ad time McCain bought vith that 228k I think the M&M’s would be much more effective, creative, and tasty vay to penetrate a target audience who is no longer paying attention to political ads.

-The Count


McCain/Palin – Nearing the End

October 28, 2008

The race is coming down to its last few days of early voting, and is only a week away from the climax of November fourth, and I felt the need to take a look at the latest statements from the GOP candidates, kupo.

First, after learning about the $150,000 spent on clothes and accessories for the Palin family, McCain says that Palin is “frugal”, kupo, and that a third of the money was given back and the clothes will be auctioned for charity. Now, even if they gave back $50,000, that is still a huge amount of money, kupo. Enough for my guild to pay for supplies for years, so imagine what it could buy for the regular citizens – the soccer moms and “Joe Six Pack”, if you will, kupo.

And it’s very different to say such things when you talk about where you shop, kupo. Some places are insanely expensive, while others are more reasonably priced for the exact same thing – or at least something comprable. Frugal is defined as “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful” by dictionary.com. If we’re determined to not “waste money” on grizzly bears and other earmarks, let’s not waste money on clothes and accessories either, okay, kupo?

Secondly, two big, important words, kupo. International crisis. I’m not sure if I’d call it a complete gaffe, kupo, but Sen. Biden’s rather unpolished phrasing was at one point the McCain camp’s new message, kupo. McCain came up with a retaliation that potentially could have worked, but unfortunately hasn’t been able to control how the new message has been used, kupo – and, taken out of context (like Sen. Biden’s comment) – sounds a lot worse for the person speaking than they would normally expect. And it really doesn’t help that National Security experts agree with your opponent. Kupo!

And lastly, it also really hurts when the people you thought you could depend on desert your cause, kupo. It’s not just a few either, kupo! It’s people who are at the top of the party, have most of the information, and those with political power who are jumping ship quickly. I hope that my guild never ends up like that, kupo.

Regardless, what do you think of the building party-desertion, and the early voting exit polls, kupo? Too bad no one cares to do exit polls in Texas, kupo.

– Moogle


The Race Tightens

October 20, 2008

With only fourteen days left until America elects its next president mainstream media (sans some huge political disaster) will be hyping up anything that shows the race is tightening between John McCain and Barack Obama.

Why? Because a tighter race means more viewers of course. More viewers equals more money for networks, money which will be needed when the networks start to get squeezed post election season due to the tanking economy.

It will be interesting to see how McCain and Obama react to this “tightening” in the race for the White House. My guess is they fan the flames and use the MSM message to whip their volunteers and voters into gear. The outcome is anybody’s guess, but some are already cashing in their bets. I just hope it doesn’t come back to bite them in the ass…

-Mr. Ed


Some Days You Just Can’t Get Rid of a Bomb

October 18, 2008

I can’t help but think that John McCain and I have some things in common.

-Batman


The Message Doesn’t Matter Anymore

October 16, 2008

I hate to say it, but this race isn’t about issues anymore. It’s all image and the debate last night should be more than enough to prove that point. McCain had Obama on the ropes most of the night hitting Obama hard on his economic policy. McCain did so well in fact that many of the pundits said McCain won this debate before the snap polls were released half an hour after the debate had finished.

But turn off the sound during the debate and you get a totally different image.

Yet again (for the third time), McCain failed to control his image, rolling his eyes Obama and even gawking while Obama remained composed and collected. The polls show this (even Fox news said they liked Obama’s delivery much better than McCain’s) giving Obama the win almost 2 to 1.

McCain’s problem from the start is either he or his team don’t understand that this political cycle is different from four years ago. He’s been running his campaign like Hillary Clinton did against Obama pushing old strategies into a new arena. Undecided voters that McCain and Obama are fighting for can be split into two different categories: informed and uninformed. To both of these groups image is extremely important, but for two entirely different reasons.

In a media saturated, American Idol America, it’s more about how you do than what you do. Television has taught the uninformed masses that image is important because its the only thing you can use to differentiate between competitors. There is no doubt that anyone who gets on American Idol has talent, so what do people vote on? Image. Image is the only difference the contestants share. And even when a contestant has more talent than another it’s the contestants with the better image that end up with the big record deals and endorsements.

Uninformed voters don’t have the time to filter through all the information being thrown at them. For the most part these voters are going to look at Obama and McCain as two contestants vying for presidency. Both of their policies sound like they’ll work (and both probably would in the long run). Both say they plan on changing government, so how do you decide? Who looks more presidential. The YouTube Wars don’t matter to these people, in fact; I can bet the only time they’ll actually see the candidates is on the news and during presidential debates. In both the news and the debates McCain looks very un-presidential when contrasted with Obama and the undecided, uniformed voters are reacting accordingly.

Those that have the time to sift through all the information being crammed down their throats, the informed voters, have a different reason for relying on image. In this new media arena anything you say can immediately be rebuked. As soon as a candidate says, “I am this. My opponent is that” or “I did this. My Opponent did that” someone is going to be checking the validity of that statement and I guarantee you every time someone is going to find an instance where the statement is false.

If informed voters are judging the candidate on how truthful their statements this puts candidates in a difficult position. These statements are how a candidate normally separates themselves from their opponents and forms a connection with the voter. When these statements are constantly brought into question the message breaks down and the only difference between candidates is how they deliver their message.

McCain has been playing the “I am this. My opponent is that” or “I did this. My Opponent did that” a lot during his campaign and every time the message has been thrown back in his face by someone who checks the facts. Obama on the other hand has had a fair amount of backfires, but his primary message of “Hope” focuses on the future and what Obama will do instead of what McCain did or what McCain is. In this era of new media Obama’s message is harder turn against him because of Obama’s young record and the “I will do this” as opposed to McCain’s “I’ve done this” message.

Within the last week McCain has begun to move away from negative attacks on Obama to more Obama-esque hope for the future messages. A recent shift in the polls shows that this tactic is the way to go, but does McCain have enough time to turn the race around?

-Hunter S. Thompson


The Final Debate

October 16, 2008

So, in order for McCain to have more than a snowball’s chance on Tatooine, he was going to have to pull out the Ultimate Trump Card. Seems like it really doesn’t exist (not surprised, personally). Can’t say that I wasn’t thinking that it was possible that McCain had been sitting on something this whole time, but it seems, if Nate Silver is to be believed, it will take some kind of miracle for the vote to swing back his way.

Now, I’m often one for betting on high risk, high payoff situations, but while the odds are against McCain, and, if I were to bet on him, the payout could be good, I don’t think this is an overall “high payoff” situation. While I’m all one for deregulation of certain things – you know, perhaps gambling or bans and such things – that isn’t what we need right now. Even out here in the Outer Rim, we’ve felt the financial troubles that are affecting everyone.

Regulation is what we need, and it looks like I’m going to have to stick with the pirate title.

-Han Solo