Monday, October 27, 2008

The Ghost of Strother Martin

McCain blames the media for his failing and flailing campaign, including his running mate’s unfavorable ratings. Journalists are biased and unfair, or so the story goes.

John McCain has no coherent message, and not because the media has garbled it. He and his campaign have been here, there and thither since the end of the primary season: he’s experienced! He’s courageous! He’s a fighter! He’s an outsider! If you are going to run a campaign predicated on character, it is best to settle up front on what that character is going to be.

And if the theme is experience and judgment, then align your decisions with that: vet your vice presidential candidate, know what you are talking about and save the drama for your mama.

As for his running mate’s poor favorability ratings, Palin blames a media filter that distorts who she is. She says she wants to talk directly to the American public without going through the so-called biased media. But when it comes down to it, she has refused to answer anyone's questions except her own.

Case in point: When NBC's Brian Williams asked her about whether abortion-clinic bombers were domestic terrorists and Palin immediately launched into a condemnation of Bill Ayers. That's not the damn question!

A key to good communication is listening. Sarah Palin has shown herself to be an abysmal listener. Questions are filtered through her own personal lens and the answer that comes out has nothing to do with what was asked and everything to do with what she wants to say. It may make her feel good, but it is deeply unsatisfying to the listener. This, I suspect, is part of our frustration with her interviews: her drivel is unresponsive to the question asked. She makes you wonder if she even heard or understood the question, not a good concern about someone so close to having the nuclear codes.

Reporters have generally been unwilling to point it out to her. Interestingly, when Katie Couric pressed her, Palin admitted responded poorly and later said she was annoyed with Couric for not asking questions she wanted to answer. Welcome to big-time politics, Governor Palin. It’s not about you anymore.

To steal a line from Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke, “what we've got here is failure to communicate.” And it’s not the media’s failure: It belongs squarely on the shoulders of the McCain-Palin campaign.


will monahan said...

Sarah and John are talking about reviving all those tax cuts. Let's see. All those tax cuts under President Bush accounted for 760,000 jobs lost just this year.

Gee should we try for 1,000,000?

Bozomon said...

Is that what they said? I couldn't tell.