June 4, 2008

McCain Watch #4: Candidate Rundown

Clinton: I can't believe she didn't withdraw from the race. I don't want to hate her - some of my first political memories are of the sexism in '92, and I want her to be the person we were so excited about then - but damn. She's making it hard.

Obama: While, like a friend who said this, I'm weary of being excited about Obama, I'm still really excited that he actually got the nomination.

McCain: In his speech last night, he committed one of the classic blunders, right up there under "never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line." (Come to think of it, McCain does want to get/keep us involved in a land war in Asia, so I guess more blunders are unsurprising). He criticized Obama extensively, and at the end of many paragraphs said, "That's not change we can believe in." It's a mistake to do that: it reminds his audience of Obama's slogan, in the same way that telling someone not to stick beans in their ears would bring up the idea in the first place. Moreover, when you hear an instruction like that, your brain has a tendency to edit out the 'not.' All McCain is doing is giving Obama a bunch of free publicity.

As an aside, it's pretty impressive that Obama's slogan is now so well-known that McCain can use it freely in his speech and assume his audience will know it. The other candidates certainly don't have that kind of recognition for particular phrases.

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