Posted by Brad @ 8:04 pm on October 29th 2008

Barack Obama: Buy My Product

His thirty minute infomercial is on right now; tune to just about any major station.

18 Comments »

  1. Thing to be struck by: the language and rhetoric here is distinctly…conservative. Lots of talk about tax cuts, not growing government, not looking for handouts, “government can’t solve everything”, “usher in a new era of personal responsibility” etc. The policies are pretty left to center-left, but he certainly isn’t uninterested in the conservative bent. John Edwards this is not.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 8:08 pm

  2. In tone and format and general ephemerals…this really is the first 21st century Presidential campaign. The contrast with your usual clips of stump speeches replayed ad nauseum or campaign soundbytes (or even Ross Perot’s infomercials) could not be more stark.

    I have to say, I wasn’t sure this was that great an idea…seems to flirt with Obama fatigue or looking too inevitable. And it does indeed play a bit like his first presidential address. But this is effective stuff.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 8:13 pm

  3. It does go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that this is schmaltzy and populist stuff. But as well done as it can be done. Every time we’ve said that previously we were wrong.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 8:15 pm

  4. Pretty powerful stuff. Hard to not give that a solid A. I’d recommend anybody who didn’t see it give it a look.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 8:33 pm

  5. I watched it, but it didn’t offer a second salvation for free if I ordered by midnight tonight.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 8:40 pm

  6. I thought it was a bit over the top, but very good. No big surprises, but moving.

    There was an emphasis on family, both in the traditional sense of the word and the big sense. Taking care of each other, brothers and sisters, etc. It was built out really nicely, going from his own personal biorgraphy to other families to smaller communitites that are facing tough times (like the southern town with the Ford plant) to the American community. An interesting marrative device that really strung the whole thing together and managed to give it that conservatve feel even in the face of liberal policy.

    Comment by Liz — 10/29/2008 @ 8:44 pm

  7. In tone and format and general ephemerals…this really is the first 21st century Presidential campaign.

    Good grief; the century borders are entirely arbitrary and as we are only 8 years into the Century and have no idea what will characterise political campaign for the rest of the Century (if anything), you are damning with the faintest of nondescriptive praise.

    Comment by Adam — 10/29/2008 @ 9:04 pm

  8. Uh. Jesus Christ man. It’s an expression used to denote the next generation of modernity. I.e. “this politician is doing it the new way, making everybody else look old fashioned”. I’m not sure how you can possibly construe that as me being literal.

    Stop being so British and physic-y.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 9:12 pm

  9. Adam is cranky these days.

    Comment by tessellated — 10/29/2008 @ 9:34 pm

  10. just watched it. wiping away the tears.

    this man’s going to give me back the america i dreamed it could be.

    Comment by weltschmerz — 10/29/2008 @ 9:48 pm

  11. I’m just pleased he can pronounce words and, like, stuff.

    Comment by Jack — 10/29/2008 @ 10:03 pm

  12. weltschmerz just made me feel a lot better about my decision.

    Comment by James — 10/30/2008 @ 12:52 pm

  13. Uh. Jesus Christ man. It’s an expression used to denote the next generation of modernity. I.e. “this politician is doing it the new way, making everybody else look old fashioned”. I’m not sure how you can possibly construe that as me being literal.

    I am not sure that the promise of reading blogs over enduring the vapidity of the commercial news media is getting to read a bunch of imitation.

    There are, of course, a lot of genuinely interesting analyses of Obama’s campaign strategy to be made (best done without the use of panegyrics or fanboy enthusiasm, of course, so that rules people like Sullivan out). In particular, it’ll be interesting to me to see how much is actually new and how much (most, I would suspect) is old, cleverly adapted to the context.

    Adam is cranky these days.

    I’ve always been irritated with that (and other) turns of phrase. As, indeed, I was with the enthusiasm for the millenial New Year.

    Comment by Adam — 10/30/2008 @ 2:01 pm

  14. Also, the expression doesn’t just mean ‘this is new’, it has implications of trend-setting. Which is why it’s best applied some considerable time into the future.

    Comment by Adam — 10/30/2008 @ 2:35 pm

  15. I think a great many things about Obama’s campaign are quite arguably trend-setting. Whether or not they will endure through this century is unknowable, but I don’t think that is what is being said. It’s interesting to contemplate, anyhow, the effect this election will have on future ones. Campaign financing is an obvious point. Less obvious maybe but still important is Obama’s massive volunteer base. I imagine we’ll hear more about this during the campaign post-mortem.

    Comment by tessellated — 10/30/2008 @ 4:20 pm

  16. Other (possible) trends:

    – The central role of the internet to campaign operations

    – A shifting electoral map, will it last?

    – politicians further and further removed from direct access to the press (both campaigns have engaged in this)

    – presidential ad penetration of new markets — e.g. Obama’s ads in video games

    Comment by tessellated — 10/30/2008 @ 4:25 pm

  17. Also, the expression doesn’t just mean ‘this is new’, it has implications of trend-setting.

    And that is how I meant it.

    It is an updating of “how things are done” for the new context of big money campaigns, new media, national politicing on an unusual scale (given that now Americans are more connected than at any time previous and the political conservation is national more than regional or local), and a certain tone and message fluidity and polish the likes of which we have not yet seen, but which I expect this will be a major benchmark for. In all those senses, to use another trite phrase I’m sure you’ll love, the Obama thing last night was very much the campaign commercial 2.0.

    Yes, talking about trends is much easier to do in hindsight. No kidding.

    Comment by Brad — 10/30/2008 @ 5:11 pm

  18. Tesselated #16:

    I think that internet will obviously be more important. Obama’s the next step from Dean’s campaign, in that regard (and I guess that before a major candidate did it, a lesser candidate would have had to have done it). Paul’s internet campaign happened in parallel, too.

    The question of a shifting electoral map will, I guess, depend on which states he turns and why. VA, which might be the biggest prize this time, could well stick but it’s been trending Democrat so that wouldn’t be Obama’s to own. NC, however and for example, would be a biggie if it stuck (ie, wasn’t down to Obama’s unique appeal to, and enthusiasm generated in, black voters). CO has also already been trending towards Democrat as has much of the rest of the Mountain West.

    I think that keeping the press at bay is something that we saw in 2004 (and, indeed, throughout the Bush presidency, for good reasons). That seems to me to perhaps be cyclical, as once voters get fed up with it, it could turn back.

    I am sure that there’ll be more avenues explored for political advertising; that’s a natural continuation of an oooold trend and is really more about the vector becoming maturer than anything new, as such.

    As I said, I sort-of suspect that a lot of Obama’s success — the stuff that isn’t just about being a Democrat running in a Democrat year, so a lot of what’s interesting is actually about the Primary campaign rather than the General Election campaign — is about clever adaptation and continuation of traditional or logical tactics. That should actually be reassuring to Democrats, because it suggests that the gains are more stable (and also ease some of that paranoia I’ve heard from some Democrats about their effective inability to compete; the answer may just be that they weren’t competing well, which Obama has done).

    Brad #17:

    And that is how I meant it.

    And thus my criticism.

    Comment by Adam — 10/30/2008 @ 5:13 pm

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