Friday, January 11, 2008

Conceal vs. Reveal: Campaign 2008

It is apparent after two primaries behind us in the 2008 Election that there is more than ever the public relations campaigns bent on the dynamic of "concealing" truth about ones views versus that of "revealing" the truths about ones views to the electorate.

Be prepared for an onslaught of words like "change" and "special interest" being thrown out as if they somehow have some real meaning. Words like these in the context of any real campaign are meaningingless. They are meant merely as soapbox banter for superficial rallying and have somehow been orchestrated to replace any real vision for America to surface.

At least once I would really prefer a potential President to identify eaxctly what "special interest" he/she is referring. Its the painter and the large brush syndrome that we as voters seem to buy lock stock and barrel everytime. We allow leaders not so much to lead us as a partner in our pursuit of happiness but solely as the identifier as to whose to blame for our failures at securing it. The "special interest" is to blame. NO!

The members of Congress who allow themselves to be manipulated or permit themselves as parties to complicity are to blame. That includes those running for President currently holding office or seat in the Congress that whether Democrat or Republican has allowed the values of our very country to usurped by a Committee System that corupts the agenda of the process and results in the leadership finding themselves not answering the American people but the lobbyist machine that has overtaken the political will of our leaders.

The "interest" of the leadership in Congress should be those that sent them there in the first place. Based on our value and culture, which is ceetainly under attack, I find it striking that we use terms like "special interest" as if something or someone elses "interest" is somehow rates a "special" status. That interest is elevated to a level of importance over the electorate because afterall we are perceived as challenged. We do not know any better. We do not know whats best for us. We need somehow Government to tell us why it is things need to be a certain way and that somehow Government is the instrument that should be yielded upon the lives of all Americans as the stone in which our happpiness should be cast.

Running for President now more than ever is being orchestrated more by focus groups, marketing, and public relations teams that create the "brand" to be consumed by the electorate, no different than Walmart or Apple. Identity? The identity of a candidate is not as important as what the consumer "identifies" in the candidate. Is it a woman, a religious leader, a black man, or some other identifier that leads people to believe they know what someone is about solely by this fact. This is the nature of branding. These folks are not so much running campaigns in 2008 as they are building brands seeking enough people to buy into the brand to fuel momentum.
The key to political branding is too "conceal" and not to "reveal".

The act of concealing is apparent when ones record or views can be counter-intuitive to the brand itself. When a candidate comes out with a plan say for tax reform, it is not the candidate who presents the plan per say, but more so the intermediaries or the media and then the pundits are tasked with informing the People regarding its premise. It is apparent that candidates "must" come out with plans, but it is striking how many times in debates we hear about how one persons plan is very similar to anothers and then you never really get the dirt on just how they are different or alike. Its sad really. Debates are not really debates, unless you talking about Ron Paul who never is afraid to mix it up, but merely a marketing game being played by both the media and the Parties under the guise of a debate but with the real intent solely on reinforcing or promoting the larger brand; Red or BLue. Afterall, who is deciding just who is on that platform anyway for that so-called debate? Why is it that we allow people who will be on the ballot to be left out of these events? Is it just the Two Party system telling us that we just do not know better and a third offers very little? Gee I thought that should be what we as the electorate decide, not the establishment.

I recall a sound bite taken between Clinton and Edwards along the debate trail where she unknowingly was recorded talking about how the number of people should be "limited" in the upcoming debates. A reference that of course guys like Gravel and Kucinich should go. A striking message to our young people that if you have no chance than why bother, why fight the good fight, and if you are not pulling enough % your opportunity to grow that % should be prevented even if a year out from the primaries. Nice message. This reveals the mentality of the establishment. Its not about visions or messages, but about the brand.

The Clintons certainly have a brand. Obama is developing a "change" brand that seems poised to continue to resinate. You see the true nature of a successful brand is never really having to take it to the next level. "Change" thats all. Remember Nike's "Just Do It", ugh do what???did not matter in the least to Nike. "Change" simple right?

The problem I see with the "change" brand is the folks are banking on some very short term memories. I am guilty as charged on tis one. Flashback to 2006. Remember the whole "change election" of 2006. How many of us got bamboozeold with that ploy. Everytime I hear the rhetoric of change without substance on exactly what we plan to change and how we plan to do it and how much it will or will not cost or save us or reduce or deficit I flash back to the voting booth 2006. Trust me I will not make that mistake again. When we buy into brands or so-called movements and not hold alevel of accountibility to the person on the ballot we become the very pawns in this chirade.Do not get me wrong, I like Obama and he is to be commended but unless he comes hard with the substance, liberal or not, and begin to "reveal" specifics the light may begin to dim come convention time.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that though I never felt Obama would win Iowa I have nailed the Republican side hands down. I loved it when no one was talking about the Incredible Huck- a- bee. Thanks for the emails. Called his rise and the Thompson bust from the first debate. Why? Simple. Mike Huckabee whether you subscribe to his less than conservative legislative record of leadership is REVEALING. In every debate or bit he connects with people, whether you are aligned with his views or not most people will give the guy a listen regardless. He uses the content of the message to not only reveal himself but also attempt to reveal something about ourselves in the process...folk thats refreshing given the other stooges. Anyone who thought McCain was gonna stay down knew very little about NH. But just like against Bush in the South and the fact that he is being annoited by the media as the front runner he will fade while the Mayor actuallybegins his campaign in FL as he rises from the basement to the top three. Funny the more "revealing" Romney gets, by the way he has amassed more votes than any other Republican, the better he will hold onto his place in the fight but Michigan will be key.

Look for there to be alot more revealing and then some more concealing as we get closer to the conventions as these folks make the way back to the middle....of the respective Parties.
I just hope we do not repeat the same mistake as 2006 and re-examine just why it is we bought into the greatest scam committed upon the electorate ever. Will someone remind them please we are still in Iraq and that they are still funding the endeavor or has the media managed to forget that little tid bit.