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One City

A Slight Difference in Tone

I’m guessing about 30% of you saw Barack Obama’s half-hour infomercial last night. It’s worth watching as an example of the gentlest, most inviting, come-in-and-have-a-freshly-baked-cookie political propaganda that has ever been created in the history of political propaganda. But propaganda it was, with swelling Americana strings and a down-home folky blues guitar score that played under three vignettes of Ordinary Americans struggling to get by. In between stories, Obama would address the audience directly, reiterating the policy proposals he laid out (verbatim) during the debates. It ended with a live broadcast of the final three minutes of Obama’s stump speech, where his rhetorical gifts were on fine display. Even Joe Biden was impressed
I thought he spoke effectively about policy, but taken as a piece of film or television, it was unmitigated visual schmaltz. 
As an Obama supporter, of course, I ate it up like candy on Holloween (spilled all over the living-room floor out of the hollow cranium of a plastic Jack-o-Lantern).
Both campaigns have been making their closing arguments this week (or in McCain’s case, his closing growls, scowls, and eerie, molester-type smile/grimace), and I thought Bill in Portland Maine‘s Thursday “Cheers and Jeers” summed up the difference nicely:


Closing Appeals

Dear America,
Mine mine mine.
Me Me Me Me Me Me Me!
Mine mine mine mine mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine!
In conclusion: Fear fear fear fear. Very scary fear!
The Republican Party
P.S. If you liked Joseph McCarthy, you’ll love us!

Dear America,
Us. We. Together. Americans. United States.
Hope compassion equality inclusiveness competence.
Brains common sense community respect hard work accountability.
Action change responsibility. More viewpoints, smarter solutions.
In conclusion: Yes we can.
The Democratic Party.
P.S. Vote.

Damn. I’m still undecided.

(note: lifted straight from Daily Kos.)
So, there you have it. Go vote you happy voting voters!

Comments read comments(4)
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posted October 30, 2008 at 9:58 am

i actually didn’t catch the broadcast, although I had intended to.
i think the comparison of the closing arguments sums up the past 2 years of campaigning nicely.

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Julia May Jonas

posted October 30, 2008 at 4:22 pm

I agree, Stillman. Schmaltz city. I can like Obama and I do, but I don’t have to like that commercial. I actually found it a bit condescending in how manipulatively (word? Sp?) emotional it was. Ugh. Pop culture is depressing.

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posted October 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm

yes, it was schmaltz, but i totally teared up like the dork that i am.

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Emily Herzlin

posted October 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm

the last comment is me. didn’t mean to post it anonymously. although maybe i should have, to save myself the embarrassment…

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