Political Disappointment

So, it’s done. On or about January 20th, Barack Obama will become the President of the United States. I am half tempted to lower myself to the level of those who have the bumper sticker that says, “He’s not MY president.” However, I was not raised to be that arrogant or selfish. I will respect the duly elected president. We survived Clinton, I’m sure that this great country will survive Mr. Obama as well. I do think it is unfortunate that we will not have the chance to see Mr McCain serve as president. I believe he would have been one of the great presidents.
At the end of the day, I believe that the McCain campaign was it’s own worst enemy. Many of the video pieces that campaign ran were sophomoric and mean spirited. Much of the message coming out of the McCain campaign focused on belittling Mr. Obama and not nearly enough time providing proof that Mr. McCain was the better candidate. The McCain campaign spent far too much time defining itself in the context of Mr. Obama. What it desperately needed was to define Mr. McCain in the context of his many years in government. That’s a pity.
The McCain campaign failed to exploit new media (web 2.0, social networking, twitter, Digg, Facebook, etc.) effectively. I believe this is actually a fundamental problem that the Republican party as a whole needs to address and quickly. In the months after the primaries when it had been established that Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama were the real contenders, most social networking sites showed a strong Obama presence while McCain supporters were clearly a minority and poorly organized. There are a number of articles in the main stream press that talk about the Obama campaign’s capitalization of new media. Having numerous people on the floor with video cams and then posting video to YouTube within minutes. The McCain campaign had nothing close.
Hopefully, Republicans will learn for this experience and make a greater effort to enlist the younger, more tech savvy members of the party to make better use of this powerful communication venue in the future. To be sure, Democrats have a significant advantage. Social networking is one of the primary tools of activists. New media in the form of documentary style content production using handheld pro-sumer video cameras, iMovie and Final Cut to produce propaganda which is then released on YouTube and similar sites is a core competency of any activist worth his salt. Republicans are definitely playing a serious catch up game.
The real pity of it is that John McCain lends himself so well to these forms of communication. It only required the campaign to actually enlist the services of technically savvy individuals. Had the campaign managed to take control of the message rather than depending on MSM to do it for them and allowing the Obama campaign to capitalize on the less flattering moments, I think he would have done quite well. I believe it was an opportunity lost.
Should be an interesting two years.

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