September 9, 2008

And if you believe that, she's got a bridge to sell you. On eBay.

Update: Joseph Romm explains what's wrong with the official Obama ad on the same theme:

Why does Obama's new ad use the word [maverick] 5 times?... You can't debunk a myth by verbally repeating it. This is basic stuff, so it is surprising that neither Obama nor his team understand it. It's why linguist George Lakoff titled his book, Don't think of an elephant. If I say that to you, you will think of an elephant. Negatives carry little rhetorical weight.

On the other hand, the Daily Show managed to pull it off.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Romm does have a point, but I think he overstates it - it's not as simple as Don't Think of an Elephant.

McCain-as-Maverick is already a well-established brand/cliche, and has been for so long that it's now expired. The negative of possibly reinforcing that is not of the same order as the idiocy of McCain repeating Obama's "change we can believe in" and thinking he's done something clever by adding "not" and "my friends."

Also, in his proposed language, "Seven of John McCain's top campaign advisers are old big-spending Washington Lobbyists" should have been (and may have been intended this way and he was just typing too fast): "Seven of John McCain's top campaign advisers are big-spending old Washington Lobbyists," which serves the purpose of reinforcing "old" but can be read/heard as "old Washington" rather than "old lobbyists." After all, whether or not McCain's lobbyists are old is really not that much of a hit.

This hits me where I live. I've long been hoping Obama actualy tries to re-brand McCain and begins flooding the air directly and though surrogates with the term "John mcCain, the once-maverick senator"...

If succesfull, he newly creates a negative based on one of their themes, and continued use of the singular term "Maverick" by the McCain camp would then serve to re-enforce that new negative. The hope being they'd have to eventually drop it to avoid association with the term.

Post a comment

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2