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Are We There Yet? Long Campaign Devolves Into Party Favors?

It seems impossible to remember a time BC: Before Campaign. That may be because we've been at this game seriously since 2006. By the time the US votes, it will be a vote two years in the making (at that rate, isn't it time to start the 2012 campaign?) Perhaps because of this stretched out schedule, the capacity for substantive debate has been also stretched — to the snapping point.

Whether a function of the campaigns themselves running out of ways (gimmicks?) to keep themselves in the public eye for an interminable amount of time, the media's fatigue with covering yet another town hall in yet another town, or the public's appetite for newer, better, flashier, the campaign we're seeing now, well it's a little stinky.

Case in point: the Obama Energy Plan tire gauge. I admit, I saw it and winced. Because now that we've seen it all, every move, especially during these lazy days of summer, is heightened in import to a major event — and when McCain is actually out there and talking about his plan in a more conventional way.

Now, the gauge itself, kind of funny. Obama did say we should inflate our tires. The doohickey just takes a statement and gives it legs in a party favor format. And I don't doubt it was meant as a joke — McCain is famous for them, like when Obama was on his big trip abroad, and the McCain team handed out gag press credentials to the domestic-bound crew traveling with him that read "JV Squad: Left Behind to Report in America." I mean just using the word "JV" in an adult setting is inherently funny — but what does it say about the discourse? To find out, and see Paris Hilton's response to the celebrity ad with an energy plan of her own,


Here's the rub: even though stunts like this and the celebrity-filled ad get picked up and talked about, I question whether they might do more harm than good. McCain has an energy plan, the Lexington Project, and it's not too shabby. Obama's got one too and there are substantive comparisons out there, in addition to the candidates' own websites that spell out their entire energy policies. I have faith that there is room for levity and gravitas in the campaign, but given the duration of constant scrutiny, one tire gauge can be spun as the sum total of a plan when that's far from the truth.

Do stories like the tire gauge and the celeb ad make the campaign lighter than air — or simply lighten the mood?


Join The Conversation
Jillness Jillness 8 years
That is hysterical Juju! I agree the tire gauge stunt was completely immature, and just...stupid. As Obama said the other day, they are making fun of something that works. As a Presidential candidate, it REALLY is disrespectful to discourage citizens to do something that could actually help them. We need someone to lead us to real answers, not away from them if they happen to come from the wrong party. As with the gas tax holiday, it seems that McCain will endorse a bad idea for a political edge. How can anyone trust that? Nurse, I think after the debates you will be happy it was limited to 3. ;) Obama has every reason to have wanted to introduce himself to people one on one...I don't think it is that big of a deal that he didn't want to join McCain. Not to mention, townhalls are the places where John tends to stick his foot in his mouth the most. Do you really want to draw more attention to that?
True-Song True-Song 8 years
No worries. You are perfectly clear without little cartoons.
stephley stephley 8 years
I knew that stupid thing would fail me.
stephley stephley 8 years
Ah, can you imagine the outrage if he did that!!! :rofl:
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Oh, that is hilarious. I don't want Obama to do it, because it would bring him down to McCain's level, but that is very funny.
juju4 juju4 8 years
I think Obama should send out little plastic bombs printed with the words "McCain's Foreign Policy Plan". That would be hysterical. :-)
NurseDeAnna NurseDeAnna 8 years
Too bad we'll only be getting our standard three debates this fall since Obama has declined all the town-hall debate challenges from McCain
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>I can't wait until the debates, when (maybe?) we'll get some actual policy talk I'm afraid all we'll get are sensational quotes. Remember how much play "change you can xerox" got?
azulsky azulsky 8 years
Stories like the tire gauge and the celeb ad distract from the campaign and the issues at hand. I enjoyed the Paris rebuttal. McCain needs to stop with the 'it's humor' (when he knows very well its not) and get back to his strengths, because when the celeb you're mocking (Paris Hilton) is looking more intelligent then you, you have got a serious problem. I also found the McCain Campaign response from Tucker Bounds ironic, "Sounds like Paris is taking the 'All of the Above' energy approach that John McCain has advocated. A person you dismissed as not important, irrelevant and just a celebrity is now supposedly relevant. Yeah okay.
stephley stephley 8 years
I'm afraid that Paris Hilton is going to emerge the only winner from this - it's boosting her image in ways the bible and jail couldn't.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
The tire-gauge thing is so immature — and what's more, Time magazine says Obama is right on this one. I can't wait until the debates, when (maybe?) we'll get some actual policy talk. On a less serious note, the Paris video was indeed pretty funny.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
i think the paris video is pretty funny... but this whole thing makes me sad. its a waste of time and money.
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Just watch this, Keith Olbermann is much more articulate than I am. By the by, I thought Paris Hilton's video was surprisingly good. It was intelligent and funny and it seems she has a good sense of humor.
suziryder suziryder 8 years
I agree with organicsugar, McCain is just a bitter old snarky old man who just needs to grow up. Properly inflating your tires and getting routine check-ups for your car WILL save you gas, it will decrease our overall consumption, and it will have an effect well before off-shore drilling will (as in, right now as opposed to 20 years from now - and even then off shore drilling will only have a slight impact on fuel costs). Obama was smart to recommend this, and CORRECT - this is an idea that has been recommended by NASCAR, by Arnold Schwarzenegger, even by the Bush administration! McCain is showing his true colors (and it ain't pretty) by pouncing on this idea and mercilessly ridiculing it and mocking it and by making it seem like the ENTIRETY of Obama's energy plan is the tire gauge. It's ridiculous and just shows how low McCain will stoop. Let's not forget that McCain received, what was it, $2 million in campaign funds from Big Oil AFTER he came out saying he supported off-shore drilling. The man is in Big Oil's pocket!! McCain's low, foul, mud-slinging campaign continues to infuriate me.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Ugh, John McCain needs to grow up. Whenever people make fun of Barack, it really makes me mad. There is no room for humor in this presidential campaign. We're talking about the future of our country here.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Well IMO two years is two damn much. The Presidential campaign should be limited to one year. As for the tire gauge incident like I've said probably a hundred times before over the two years of the campaign the voter really needs to be smart & recognize the use of smoke and mirrors. Recognize motives for a statement or action of a campaign. For instance if you are a Sen. McCain supporter what you should be asking your self is, is the tire gauge mockery to illustrate Sen. Obama's lack of an energy plan or is it to draw your attention from a very good point? Do your research and find the real answer. Watched Paris' ad this morning on the Today show and loved it, very cute.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I hope you're kidding NurseDeAnna!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Thanks Citizen. It wasn't clear to me that McCain was the one who created them at first! I agree that McCain seems to be spending too much time making fun of Obama instead of making a case for himself. I thought the Hilton video was pretty funny myself.
NurseDeAnna NurseDeAnna 8 years
Well, Obama took Paris Hilton's advice and changed his position on domestic offshore drilling. What does that tell you?
stephley stephley 8 years
All McCain's 'humor' shows is that he has more clever ideas on how to mock Obama, and apparently thinks it's more important to mock Obama than it is to press his own ideas for the country. To me, it says nothing good about his priorities and his respect for different opinions but it does explain how a once well-respected politician has squandered that respect.
zeze zeze 8 years
ha, right, Lindsey and Paris have been laying low too...while Sienna Miller is doing all that she can for the British pound.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Maybe that's why the economy's in a slump? Because Britney's clothed and generally behaving?
zeze zeze 8 years
With how obsessed the world is with this campaign, I bet your idea would have a devastating effect on the economy, Torgleson. (I read once that Britney Spear's "crazy-time" was a 700 million dollar industry from paps to magazines to blogs.)
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Sometimes I wish we had super-duper regulated campaigns. Like I wish each candidate got two hours of tv time per week, only they could appear on screen, and that was it. Just look into the camera, make your case.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 8 years
Sorry for the confusion — I meant more conventional way compared to handing out tire gauges, not compared to Obama. I know he's out there too. :)
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