March 25, 2008

My latest Clinton conspiracy theory

Watch today's CBS News report with the sound off (as I have been in The Week's offices all day). After all, everyone knows that in our postmodern campaign, images count more than words.

What do you see? Hillary Clinton looking presidential and pro-military. If the Clinton campaign had called CBS News and said, "Can you run that footage of me in Bosnia from 1996 over and over again -- and provide it to every other network too," they would have laughed in her face. And yet because of one "misstatement," that's exactly what's happening. The girl even looks a little like Kirsten Dunst.

Voters aren't that dumb, you say? The anecdote Clarence Page citedSunday in a different context seems apt here: "When a woman exclaimed to the former Illinois governor that 'Every thinking American is voting for you,' he responded, 'That's not enough, madam, I need a majority.'"

Posted by Daniel Radosh


And yet because of one "misstatement,"

You're playing into her narrative. It was at least four "misstatements"...

Except younger Hillary with her bunny rabbit overbite doesn't look all that presidential. Older Hillary with leprechaun scarf looks like same-old double talking Clinton.

Luckily, Sinbad is there to keep it from being funny.

The first time I saw this I had a similar feeling when I saw the armored vehicle firing. But I just can't...I just can't...I mean Sinbad.

What really gets my goat is her bourbon-y, seen-it-all, drama 101 matter-of-factness (I'm pretty sure I wrote that monologue in high school). Her voice is rapidly rising to the level of Bush and some local pols in terms of sheer unlistenability.

You're right, the images win. Especially when contrasted with Obama playing with his children in the pool. I doubt it was intentional, but the Clintons must be gleeful at how it's turned out. It's the same reason McCain's blunder (about Sunni insurgents training in Iran) got no traction -- he said it on an image tour of war zones and important foreign countries.

Ernest, let's not kid ourselves. If Obama had been on "an image tour of war zones and important foreign countries" and had said something confusing Sunnis and Shiites, his candidacy would be over. The image aspect is big, but not as big as the fact that the press is, by and large, in love with McCain.

Vance, you may be right in a way, though I doubt a gaffe about Sunni vs. Shiite insurgents would mean Obama's "candidacy would be over." My point was to agree with Radosh, the words don't matter nearly as much as the images.

Of note today, the ad man who created (and voiced) Reagan's "Morning in America" campaign, Hal Riney, died Monday. Reagan's team figured this out early and even bragged about exploiting it -- it doesn't matter if the newscaster is droning on about high unemployment and rising prices so long as the B-roll shows a strong, presidential leader in monumental settings.

Viewers (note we don't say "listeners") disregard the words, considering it the same old political chatter, while the images go straight to the cortex.

A pro-candidate commercial is different than an embarrassing news story. Not many people watch the bogus Bosnia bit over and over without the sound. Most people watch it narrated by the talking head they are most in tune with. Hillary haters will mock her, supporters will find way to excuse her. There is a narrow band of people still trying to decide about her and I believe most of those will have a negative view of the lie about being under fire and the lame attempts to gloss it over. Whether that amounts to any movement is the election, I don't know.

That was me, sorry, didn't mean to be anonymous

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