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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Obama/Biden Taps Glinda

In October, 2008, there are really only two issues that anyone is interested in discussing. One is the global economy (or lack thereof) and the other is the campaign for the presidency of the United States of America. I'm no economist, but I've lived through enough up markets and down markets to know that civilization as we know it simply can't exist without a global economy. I also know that as long as greed ranks within the top three human vices, no economy can stay bearish forever.

Besides, the media likes to harp on "the worst economy since the Great Depression." What more could I possibly add to hype like that? Especially when half of the talking heads were five years old during the 1987 market correction?

Of course, what those talking heads are experienced in, all they've ever known, is what the rest of us like to call the Culture of Fear. This is why they continue to "report" every news story as if it were the next Black Death. They simply don't know any better. I've written quite a bit in this blog about the Culture of Fear. For those of you who aren't familiar with its effect, it's the reason why people switched from marketing their goods with "Be the first on your block" to "Don't let is happen to you!"

Living in fear is an awful thing. You're afraid of eating the wrong thing. Saying the wrong thing. Doing the wrong thing. In a fearful environment, terrorists are always just around the corner. The other driver is never careful. And politicians aren't who or what they seem to be.

This is why negative campaigning has, until recently, been so effective in politics. It's a whole lot easier to cast suspicion on the other guy than it is to work hard on being a better alternative to that guy. I suppose negative tactics work to an extent. After all, nose-diving jetliners into American real estate is enough to add credibility to just about any perceived threat. But decades of xenophobic fear-mongering does take its toll. Which is the secret to Barack Obama's latest brand surge.

If you look carefully, Obama and Biden have chosen their tactics quite judiciously. The closest they ever get to disparaging McCain and Palin is by associating them with Bush and Cheney. And even then, they don't bring out the warning lights. They simply let the truth speak for itself: "If you actually like where Bush and Cheney have brought you, they maintain, you're going to love McCain and Palin." Other than that, neither Obama nor Biden have done anything to strike fear into the hearts of Americans. In fact, they've striven to do just the opposite.



Just as Glinda the Good Witch reassures the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz, Obama and Biden have replaced the fear factor with reassurance, positioning themselves as the messengers of good news:

Come out, come out, wherever you are,
and meet the young lady, who fell from a star.
She fell from the sky, she fell very far
and Kansas, she says, is the name of the star.
She brings you good news.
Or haven't you heard?
When she fell out of Kansas
A miracle occurred.


Okay, so Glinda was off by one state. But by enlisting the perspective of Glinda, Obama and Biden become the harbingers of the best news possible: At last, we have someone in control who can solve our problems. The accusations and finger-pointing to which the American public has become numb is being displaced by two guys who are actually offering up answers and suggesting positive solutions. It almost doesn't matter if their solutions don't work. The fact that they're not fear-based is new, fresh and something for which the voting public has been aching.

And, unfortunately, something of which neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin seem to be aware.

6 Comments:

Blogger William & Susanne Waites said...

Rob:

I'd be interested in two things.

One is how you reconcile the value of global economy with Obama's calls to restrict free trade.

The second is what your take is post the debate. From a conservatives standpoint, I think McCain phined it in. But you can't accuse him of being "hopeless". He speeches were filled with we "can do its."

5:32 PM  
Blogger Rob Frankel said...

Bill, what everyone seems to overlook is that before capital, the economy is driven by human beings. I think conservatives and liberals alike would agree that where's there's confidence, there's growth. The converse is also true: where there's no confidence, there's no growth.

At the moment, there's an enormous amount of capital on the sidelines, but there's been a huge erosion in confidence. Again, it matters little if you're left or right, the fact is that the world has no faith in the current American administration. However, when the rest of the country -- and in turn, the rest of the world -- feels its confidence restored, the capital will follow. For that to happen, America has to deploy a real shift. And that means Obama. That's why Obama resonates so deeply with the public.

So even if you believe Obama would restrict free trade (which I personally don't buy), at least we would have restored free trade and the economic engine would be kick started.

As for the debate, I am simply amazed at how awful McCain has been advised, but not shocked at why: All along he's had failures and out-of-touch executives at his side, including Gramm and Fiorina. Serious flaws there.

McCain doesn't understand that the "aw shucks", toe-in-the dirt thing that was new with Reagan has been overdone by George W. Bush. It's played out to the point that Americans realize it's nothing more than a dodge. Palin's version of it ("Hockey Mom") is no better. As such, both come off as ill-prepared and "covering," giving the perception that they think they can charm and slogan their way into office. The public isn't buying it, and no amount of cheerleading ("we can do it") will help.

Finally, McCain and Palin are still playing the Culture of Fear game, trying to instill fear among voters as to Obama's inexperience, when Palin's is proving out to be far more dangerous (at least in the public eye).

So for McCain/Palin, not only is the message hollow, the messengers aren't delivering it well. It's over. And probably by a larger margin than most would imagine.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Stevie said...

having just had a long conversation (actually I listened) with someone who is huge on McCain because he has the experience and so does Palin.
while they have some experience. and so does Biden (his outweighs McCain on a vote per vote basis imho) and definitely outweighs Palin particularly in foreign policy, I feel that the experience that Palin has is lacking in consistency.

Given that McCain has talked about cutting Medicare in the trillion dollar area and had talked about privtising social security via the stock market--can you imagine what would be happening right now had someone actually DONE that? Imagine if he is in place in the White House and he does that-- what happens to the people on medicare and SS? Where is the safety net?
The Hilary factor really needs to be played MORE by Hilary and Obama/Biden need to use her to convince those out there who were for her to switch to Obama.

This Glinda factor is being played and it's being done well. They aren't name-calling. They are sticking with issues but start playing some of the key people cards: Gore, both Clintons, Kennedy, and others. They *need* to come out and speak up for Obama. Solidify that we need a serious FDR New Deal infusion of leadership because otherwise this boat isn't going to float.. it's going to be the Titanic

12:30 PM  
Blogger Rob Frankel said...

I agree. And the Glinda factor is one that transcends American borders. Remember, foreigners view the last few American administrations as "cowboys" who shoot first and ask questions later. Faced with the prospect of gentlemen who ask first and shoot later, those same foreigners are required to re-think their own tactics and strategies.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Celtic said...

Rob,

Just read through your recent posts and, man, you have flat missed the boat.

1. If McCain wins, it will be because of his choice of Palin. Since McCain is more of a Democrat than a Republican - a RINO - Palin gives the right at least something to vote for rather than just hold their noses and vote for McCain to vote against Obama. Before Palin, it was purely a case of the lessor evil.

2. Obama may win, but I doubt it. If he does win, we are in for a horrible 4 year run. You may think that he will energize us and make other countries like us, guess again. Moving the US closer to pure Socialism certainly isn't going to help free enterprise. I would have voted for Hillary, even though I can't stand her, because at least I know she is strong and can lead. So can McCain. Obama is neither, he is essentially an American hating idiot who has been annointed by the media and embraced by blacks and white liberals suffering from guilt. Some of these folks are going to come to their senses before the election. I will admit that other countries will like us more because we will become much weaker.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Rob Frankel said...

I disagree, If McCain wins, it will be because someone, somewhere will have dropped a huge negative bomb on the Obama campaign just before the polls open, before Obama has time to clear his name. ALL the polls -- and the national sentiment -- are playing against McCain. As for Pallin, even the most generous polls show that as of October 20, 2008, no fewer than 55% of Americans feel she's unqualified to take over as president should anything happen to an elected McCain.

Quite honestly, there appears to be a Bradley Effect, but for Palin, not Obama. The choice was flawed from the beginning. She's the Edsel of the Republican party.

As for Socialism, that's almost laughable, especially when you consider that America's most conservative president ever, George W. Bush, is behind the corporate welfare that we've come to know as bailouts. If that isn't socialist, what the heck is?

It's all about change, Celtic. Neither you nor I can stop it. Just as people feared the election of George W. Bush, none of them left the country. They all survived him. And we'll survive Obama, if he gets elected.

Even as conservative as you appear to be, you'd have to admit -- nobody could do more damage than W has done. And we're all still standing, even after eight years.

6:44 AM  

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