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18.7.08

Obama more “exciting” than McCain—why this matters 

This is no surprise given the promotions that has been getting in the media: ‘Obama elicits more excitement than McCain’, according to USA Today.
   I want to be the voice of reason but 21 years in tell me that this is important. If your , or organizational, elicits excitement among its constituents, then you have a greater chance of mobilizing those people when you need them.
   Even when it comes to , to get messages across to voters, one has to resort to the tried and trusted techniques of and .
   There are few in the present generations who will, as many bloggers do, investigate someone’s voting record or dig deeply into their histories. It would be nice to say that presidents are not elected based on how much excitement they can generate. Or that we should place greater emphasis on other qualities like honour and sincerity.
   While some might point to exceptions, such as the Tory victory in the UK of 1992, I beg to differ. That was hard fought by the Conservatives and depended on party unity—which was sorely lacking in 1997 when Tony Blair was elected. The National victory in New Zealand of 1990 was a result of the cry for change and the belief that Labour was leaderless.
   And the cry for is such a powerful message in politics, because politicians understand our nature: even the vaguest change is better than the strongest, best defined policies if a party has been in power for too long.
   Labour in the UK in 1997, National in New Zealand in 1990, Labour in New Zealand in 1999, Clinton in 1992—all these are examples of that message. And that, too, “excites”.
    should not pursue an excitement route himself, but he should capitalize on mistakes that the Obama campaign is making with greater regularity. The New Yorker gaffe—where Sen. Obama felt the need to comment rather than appear presidential and above satire—was an opportunity missed. Meanwhile, I wonder if people appreciate the maverick, go-it-alone style of John McCain, which plays well in the Senate, but could be symptomatic of future Cabinet divisiveness under his administration.
   A winner is by no means clear, and a week remains a long time in politics. Months, as Sen. Clinton will attest as she went from dead cert to second-best, are an eternity.
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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