Purple State Colorado

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The "Media Bias" in the election

Now it is official: there is a study out that demonstrates the media reported on the McCain-Palin ticket more negatively than the Obama-Biden ticket, and vice-verse with regard to positive coverage. This shows once and for all that the media is biased, and they have helped the Obama ticket.

How Fox and AM talk radio are not counted as main stream media is more of a mystery to me than what a pool of third tranche loans is. But that is another story.

Reporters report on news: weather, sports, and of course, politics. When Katrina wiped out New Orleans, did anyone complain that the coverage was "unfair" and "too negative"? Was Katrina jealous of "that one," you know the sun, who is always getting good press? Okay, that is a bit extreme. Lets talk sports. Let say that the Phillies swept the Rays in the World Series this year. Further, lets say that the Phillies pitched two no-hitters, hit several grand slams, made two triple plays and several doubles while committing no errors, and every one's batting average, including the pitchers, was over .400. Meanwhile, the Rays scored only 3 runs in 4 games. Several starting pitchers walked in runs with bases load. Defensively, they made 15 errors. No one batted over .100, and the manager made a record 30 pitching changes, to no avail. Get the picture? Would Rays fans be complaining about the unfair media bias? No, they know there team sucked and got out played.

McCain has run a terrible campaign. William Kristol and Peggy Noonan agree with me, or at least they agree that he has made serious errors. Meanwhile, Obama has run an impeccable campaign. Maybe there is some truth to that 'community organizer' charge that the GOP has levied against him. Right now I am laughing my ass off at the radio prank called made to Palin by a couple of DJs from Montreal pretending to be Nicholas Sarkozy. They had her going for 6 minutes. And now, VP Cheney has endorsed McCain-Palin. And why should his fellow Americans vote for McCain-Palin according to Cheney? Because Obama-Biden will "undo" all of the work he and Bush have done. When Bush's ratings are sub-20, Obama-Biden are thinking "if only we can undo all that work." Sure, Obama said something about 'feeling vindicated' by Iowa. And he has an aunt living here illegally. All of this I heard on MSNBC and CNN. This stuff just doesn't compare.

Lets talk about the complaint-of-the-week from the GOP: the media is not investigating Obama's 'associations' enough. Apparently, we have not hear enough about William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Rashid Khalidi. However, have we heard much about the G. Gordon Liddy, the Alaskan Independance Party, or the U.S. Council for World Freedom and McCain's relation to them? I guarantee you that Obama's associations have been reported on much more than the last three.

Note: since you probably know little of these last three, here is the relevance:

G. Gordon Liddy:
convicted of conspiracy, burglary and illegal wiretapping. Famously said of US Federal Agents: "Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. ... Kill the sons of bitches."
Liddy hosted a fundraiser for McCain in 1998.

The Alaskan Independence Party: Todd Palin was a member for several years, Sarah Palin has spoken at their meetings. Their founder famously said "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

U.S. Council for World Freedom: a group associated with former Nazi collaborators and right wing death squads in Central America. McCain supported the group, and 'resigned' from it in the mid 80s.

Yes, the media is biased. Fox , the New York Post, the Washington Times and all of AM radio is biased to the right. MSNBC is biased to the left as well as CNN and others. But when you run a crappy campaign and make tons of stupid mistakes, the press is going to have negative things to say.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why people like Joe Biden and not Sarah Palin--buying the VP candidates on ebay

A lot has been stated by the right leaning media--yes there is such a thing--about how Joe Biden has been 'let off the hook' for stupid things he has said, while Sarah Palin has not.

I submit that this has little to do with media bias, but rather everything to do with the perception of authenticity and the integrity of the marketing of the candidate with the 'reality' of the candidate.

Lets pretend we are buying VP candidates on ebay:

First, Sarah Palin.

Her ebay description page has the following on it:

- A reformer
- A maverick
- Someone against irresponsible spending
- A Washington 'outsider'
- a family type candidate
- attractive
- tough
- a rising star

Notice we were told she had no negative qualities.

So we bid a lot, and when she was delivered we found the following:

- A bipartisan Republican majority ethics investigation begun before she was chosen involving 'abuse of power' in what came to be known as 'Troopergate.'

- The fact that she took $$$ for the bridge to nowhere, lobbied heavily for federal earmarks for her Wasillia, and comes from a state that takes more federal $$$ per capita than any other.

What was delivered was not what was advertised. Notice, there are a lot of other qualities about Sarah that still true: she connects with people, loves her family, is attractive, is a winner, etc. But we still felt misled by the item description on ebay. We would be asking for a refund or threatening to leave bad feedback for this seller. We don't trust this seller now.

Now take the case of Joe Biden.

Take a look at his 'item description' on ebay:

- An expert on foriegn policy and
- has a moving personal story
- a common blue collar guy
- Prone to saying stupid things

Whether you agree with Biden's positions on foriegn policy or not, it is clear that he has put a lot of time into thinking about them. So he comes off as an expert. His personal story and blue collar roots are verified as well. So do the stupid remarks.

He shows up via UPS as described. You didn't pay as much for Biden as you did for Palin, but you were expecting less and you would not be asking for a refund.
You would leave good feedback for this seller as the item was 'as described.'

Guess which seller you are going to do business with you when you are in the market for President?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Red state values: visiting the family farm in Idaho

When I was young, my family would take vacations to visit my mother's family in the middle panhandle of Idaho, where she had been born to German immigrant farmers. Her two brothers dry farmed wheat and other crops known to grow on the Camas Prairie.

The drive from San Jose, where my father worked for IBM with his degree in metallurgy helping to invent the "platters" used for hard disk drives, took two days.

My mother would always be offended when a Silicon Valley friend would ask her "How was the trip to Iowa?" Millions of rural Americans were offended by the urban/suburban ignorance. I remember when my parents had bought a Cadillac for my mother, and we drove it Idaho. My father had also bought a Porsche. I could sense the awkwardness when my father and uncle would complement each other on their lifestyle. My uncle complemented the car, and my father responded, awkwardly, that he would probably die earlier because of the stress of his job.

Karl Rove would capitalize on this and win elections. In doing so, he would drive a cultural wedge in our country. He, rightfully so, identified an elitist attitude of the 'coastal' liberals versus the rural conservatives. However, I believe that the strategy has played out. Moderate rural conservatives are tiring of this divisive strategy. Sarah Palin dividing America into the 'real pro America' versus whatever is the opposite is not playing well. Oh sure, her 40% would elect her Queen of America if that was possible, but the moderates are beginning to feel duped. Most 'liberals' don't have antimosity towards rural folks, they simple lack understanding. Obama is polling even in rural areas according to some polls. The 'culture wars' were something created by the right to use to beat the left. Yes, the left has been ignorant and culturally biased. But they have never tried to use this as a tactic to win elections. The GOP has for 20 - 30 years, and now it is played out.

Visiting my uncles and grand parents on the farm were some of the fondest memories of my childhood. As I grew up and became liberal myself, I would always look forward to heart felt conversations and arguments with my conservative uncles. We used to joke that if there was any solution to getting unity in the US, it would come from these conversations. I get teary-eyed every time I hear the national anthem. My uncle served as a Marine. Neither of us would ever question the patriotism of the other, or suggest that somehow one of us was more American than the other. Neither of us would accuse the other of being anti-American.

Now that Karl Rove has left the conversation, there is hope of bringing America together, and Obama represents that hope better than Sarah Palin does.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

McCain's strategic sales blunder

The political discourse currently includes phrases such as 'close the sale,' 'make the case for,' and 'how does he respond to that?' These phrases are, or have analogies in, the profession of sales.

Essentially, there are several elements to a sales conversation. The salesman must identify the need, present a tangible solution, show how the solution will benefit the individual as related to the need, and then ask for the money. Then he must handle objections and revisit the earlier parts of the conversation to put himself in a better position to get a 'yes' answer when he asks for the money again. Most sales experts say you need to ask for the money five times, at least. One such expert, Dale Carnegie, said that there is an emotive as well as a logical process that the buyer goes through. He also said that the emotive process weighs much heavier on the decision than the logical component does. The best salesmen, in my experience, quickly identify the emotive component to the sale and close on it. In the meantime, they build a logical framework so that the individual can reach an intellectual 'yes', as well as an emotive one. Once the objections have been handled and the buyer sees the benefit and value in the tangible solution/product being offered, the buyer then logically comes to the conclusion that the best course of action is to buy.

A million and one books have been written on how to sell effectively, and different tactics to deploy to achieve the result: being positive, saying yes, building trust, etc. Once such tactic is the assumptive sale. The idea is that the salesman right off the bat assumes that the buyer will be buying--even if they know nothing about the customer except that they have walked onto the car lot. Another tactic is the consultative sale. This is tactically opposite to the assumptive sale in that the salesman leads off by assuming that they don't know if the buyer needs the product or not, and only through consultation, needs analysis, value building, etc. can it be determined if the buyer should buy. The two are not mutually exclusive, but can appeal to different types of buyers at different times.

Politically, the buyers are the voters and the money is the vote. Additionally, there is an 'almost zero-sum' collective dichotomy to politics in the US in that for the first 80% of the votes, you either get one voter (conservative) or the other (liberal), based on the platform and party you are running for. If you bring up Roe v Wade, you just made an assumptive sale, and there is not much to talk about with regard to that. You are appealing to people on their prior stand on Roe v Wade--you are not trying to argue that people should change their minds about Roe v Wade.

Before the GOP convention, McCain had a simple choice: assume the sale with the middle and be the consultant to the base or assume the sale with the base and consult the middle.

Fundamentally he assumed the sale with the center, and used precious resources and choices to consultative close the base. By choosing Sarah Palin, he essentially was saying to the base, "Look, I can see how you might not be sure that I am the best candidate for you. Lets take a look at the kinds of decisions I am going to make in my Presidency, and then you decide, Okay? First off, I am choosing Sarah Palin." Thus, with his most important decision of his Presidency, his first decision, he consultatively used his VP pick to demonstrate to the base why they should choose him, because he could not assume their vote. Meanwhile, he assumed that the middle would be there for him, even though the Palin pick would hurt all of his 'middle' credentials. When the polls indicated that the middle was not there for him, he began to panic and simply insist that he was the best candidate for the middle because he said so. To do this, he had to talk about his record--never good for a Senator-- and since then has been hammered incessantly by the "I voted 90% of the time with Bush, more than most in the GOP." His 'erraticness' has been his attempt to objection handle and reidentify the needs of the middle by 'going back' and starting over, repeatedly. Additionally, the Palin pick was so transparently a political pick that it greatly diminished his "I always put country first" motto. And now, in the closing days of the campaign, moderate Republicans are jumping ship, and the only surrogates he has left are the extremists like Bachmann from Minnesota, who famously called for a media expose into the members of Congress to find out who is 'pro-America' and who is 'anti-America.' Guys like Charlie Christ in Florida have been conspicously absent, electing to go to Disneyland rather than campaign for McCain. In other words, the only surrogates he has left are the same people who love Sarah Palin, but are useless in trying to convince the middle to support McCain.

Imagine where he would be now if he had chosen Lieberman. He would have definatively solidified his 'Maverick' image with the middle. He would have shown that he truly is a change candidate as he has a former Democrat as his running mate. He would definatively win the experience argument. He would have shown true leadership and burnished his reputation as a man of principals by politiely having told Rush Limbaugh early that he is wrong about some things. His support at this point amongst the base would be much weaker than it is now obviously, but he would be in a strong position to bring them back. He simply could assume, correctly, that the thing that the base is the most scared of is losing. Losing the Senate, the House, and the Presidency completely to the left would scare the base, probably more than it would scare McCain. In fact, this fear factor would only get more intense the closer the election became with McCain being behind in the polls. He would be the underdog again, but with his main closing argument becoming more powerful as the growing possibility of a Democratic domination began to dawn on Limbaugh, O'Reilly and their listeners. Limbaugh and company would not be able to resist in the last minute being the king-makers, even if Limbaugh had not supported McCain until the last two weeks of the elections.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain can't win even when McCain wins

Poor John. Even when he is winning on points, he looks like he is losing.

Here are a couple of 'instapolls':

CNN: 58 percent thought Obama did the better job versus 31 percent for McCain. CBS: 53 percent for Obama, 22 percent for McCain.

He had the best zinger of the night.

The topics the moderator brought up were in his 'wheel house:' taxes, Bill Ayers, abortion, offshore drilling.

He had Joe the Plumber.

He had an opponent that did not seem to want to attack at all.

Yet still, people feel like he lost.


Two reasons: 1) John McCain's verbal and non-verbal communication style and 2) The public 'repudiation' of the core of modern Republican policy platforms

1) The 'Monet' perspective. When one views a Monet, it is best not to stand too close to the painting, as Monet's style was to paint with dots, rather than lines. If you stand too close, the painting does not make sense--it looks like a bunch of splotches and dots. McCain looks a lot better on paper than he does in person. Is this a function of his age? Yes and no. Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan (do your physical therapy Nancy), are examples of people who have looked charming on TV and in person as elderlys. John McCain has been described as the 'angry old guy that yells at you to get off the lawn.'

To me, he looks like a brat and a punk. In all three debates he has appeared like a frustrated little boy whose parents won't agree to let him play ball in the house. In the first two debates, he could barely even look his opponent in the eye, or call him by his name. In the third, there was much improvement, but there was still the strained look on his face, like he was trying to conceal his intense hatred of his opponent. He looks like he is asking for approval from the moderator--like the moderator is some sort of father figure or the one who is going to make the judgement. He reminds me of myself and my siblings when we would get in some fight, and then have our mother or father referee it. He looks snide, condescending, and self righteous. His repeated remarks of "My friends... ." and "I know how to.... [get bin Laden], [win in Iraq], [win in Afghanistan], come across as vain, condescending, and weird. Vain, because the emphasis is always on the "I" and not on the issues. Condescending because he knows, obviously, how to do these things, but his naive opponent (like the rest of us apparently) don't. Weird because he is again pleading to the moderator for some sort of validation. Even when he speaks, his words don't come out the right way. He butchered the "health" of the woman argument on the topic of abortion. I know what he was trying to say, but it came accross as belittling to woman. When he says, "My friends.." he sounds like an outdated politician who should be selling used cars. Barack knows that the Americans he has never met that see him on TV are not his friends--they are fellow citizens who share the concerns he does--that does not make them friends. He makes weird facial expressions that are scary, he has shifty eyes, and he looks anxious.

2)The GOP's ideology is bankrupt. As a senator who has been in office for three decades, how come things are not working better right now? As someone who won the GOP nomination and picked Sarah Palin to excite the base, how can he pretend that the GOP's old messages of smaller government and lower taxes are a) authentic or truthful, or b) assuming the truth of (a), going to work? The GOP has had the Presidency for 8 years, and Congress for 6 of 8 years. They have grown government and help bankrupt the country.

McCain does not have the charisma--in fact he has the opposite of it. The GOP does not have any new ideas--they have been hearing from Bush that 'smaller government and lower taxes' will bring us to the promised land.

They haven't, and Americans can't justify putting their faith in McCain and Palin.