I got a call from my dad this evening. He said he “had a proposal” for me. He proposed that I liveblog the upcoming half-hour of major-network Obama paid programming. (Wouldn’t you know, Dad’s a WitSnapper fan.) I said that was an interesting proposal, but I was unclear as to how that would be beneficial. He explained that, well, if I liveblogged it, then he’d be able to find out what was in it without being forced to sit through it.
“Ah. I see.”
The results of this conversation, and my estimation of the omnipresent Obama-worship how-to video and its genesis, below the break.
Intrigued as I was at the tantalizing prospect of acting as Dad’s human shield against 30 long minutes of cloying, oily, unchallenged glurge, I politely declined. There are people out there who are well-paid to subject themselves to such unpleasantness; I am happy to defer to them. (Miz Michelle is among them, as are the folks at the Corner. Hot Air is hosting an open thread.)
News roundups I’m hearing tell me I didn’t miss much: nothing new, nothing bold, nothing newsworthy. Despite rapidly tightening polls, Obama is still slightly ahead, and as a consequence is pathologically risk-averse.
I didn’t do the liveblog because it simply wasn’t worth it. The ad had all the earmarks of that oozing boil on the pimply buttock of the entertainment-and-advertising world: the infomercial.
Infomercials are insulting enough when they’re hawking herbal enhancement products, organic acne facials, or get-rich-quick manuals (“Just send me $49.95 for my amazing new book, How To Get People To Pay You Fifty Dollars For A Book…order now, and shipping and handling is just a nickel!”). When a politician buys up half an hour of prime-time airtime on CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, BET, and TV One — they would have been on ABC and CNN as well, but they were turned down — for an infomercial of his own, it is many times more offensive. Why not go whole hog and elect our leaders via call-in reality show? “Presidential Idol?” “Survivor: Washington?”
Choosing a president is a far more momentous decision than whether I buy a rotisserie oven from a barking man in a chef’s hat and apron. For Barack Obama to reduce his approach to assuming the role of Billy Mays hollering at us to make our grape juice stains disappear with Oxi-Clean demeans the time-honored tradition of picking a leader.
OK, I already know what the commenters are going to say: it’s way past time for me to be complaining about tactics that stain this tradition (woooo, grab the Oxi-Clean!), presidential campaigns are notoriously chock-a-block with dirty tricks and nasty smears, yadda yadda, I know. Here’s the thing: first of all, is that a reason to dream up new ways to degrade it further? Second, the Obama infomercial takes distasteful and tacky campaigning to an entirely new level, and here’s why:
- Half an hour? Bit of overkill, don’t you think? Especially for a truckload of retreaded talking points, none of which we haven’t heard before, making this whole venture essentially a waste of time and money. An efficiency consultant would have blood coming out of his ears by now; is this the man we’re to count on to cut Washington waste?
- How many networks constitute too many? Blanket commandeering of nearly the entire spectrum of major networks at a time when everyone watches is positively Castroesque in its megalomania. Even the State of the Union time bloc sets time aside for a response from the Loyal Opposition. And Obama isn’t even President! Plus, eating up the airtime for the World Series pre-game didn’t improve my opinion of him much, either. (My heartiest congratulations to the Phillies, by the way. I hope Pennsylvania remembers who pre-empted the evening with the political equivalent of QVC.)
- This unprecedented media saturation is the apotheosis of Obama’s brazen breach of trust in throwing his public-financing pledge out the window so he could rake in $600M (does that include the illegal donations he got by disabling the credit card security failsafes on his website?). He might as well have mass-broadcast a half-hour movie of him gulping Cristall from the bottle in a giant hot tub in the Bahamas surrounding by bikini babes and saying, “Here’s what I think of your public financing! Suck it, chumps!” Keeping his word would have prevented him from turning into the media equivalent of Kim Jong Il, but apparently that wasn’t the way Obama wanted to win. Winning honorably or winning ugly, whatever: a win’s a win for Team Obama either way, even if it means buying your vote.
Hope this clears up why I turned down Dad’s generous offer. Blogging is a hobby; one that I prefer not to turn into drudgery (with apologies to Matt; the pun is unintended). If I thought there were anything newsworthy to it, I might have reconsidered, but nothing about the advance hype gave any sign of such a thing, and (as I said before) given Obama’s thin advantage, it was logical that the infomercial’s content would be about as bold and daring as a jar of unsharpened No. 2 pencils.
UPDATE II: Power Line has more on the role of fraudulent contributions in the Obama campaign. Captain Ed hears from experts in credit-card fraud, who say the level of deception is even deeper than we think.
UPDATE III: Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings points to a New York Post article saying that the infomercial is being panned by…infomercial experts! The upshot: “All Sham, No Wow.”