Monday, February 25, 2008

Smile! You're On Candidate Camera

Remember that strange image of Michael Dukakis in a tank? Or that equally weird one of John Kerry looking like a character in a low-budget science-fiction film?

Well, here's the Obama edition.

The mainstream media, most of whom are strictly objective Democrats leaning toward Obama, are properly horrified by this low dirty trick of publicizing a photo of a candidate the existence of which the candidate was presumably aware, especially since this low dirty trick seems to be emanating from the Clinton camp, meaning that the MSM has to be restrained in their outrage. And they are being restrained; the general tone of the articles that have so far popped up is, "We can't believe we have to tell you this, but there's actually a less-than-godlike image of Obama out there. Okay, okay, here it is. And here. And here. And if you want a copy to purchase, go here."

Which goes to show, of course, that the MSM may support Obama, but they support themselves first; unlike their first few rounds with pajamas-media types, the MSM is now perfectly aware that if they don't show us the picture, some uncouth untrained non-journalist is going to get all the credit, not to mention all the web traffic.

But frankly, I wonder just how much impact this pic is really going to have.

I know there are some people out there convinced that Obama's a secret Muslim, and this picture will certainly fan those sorts of conspiratorial flames. But since this group doesn't include likely Obama supporters, there's not going to be much of a fall-off in his poll numbers.

Some are speculating that this will hurt Hillary more than it hurts Obama, and certainly it would be a convenient excuse for the crashing and burning that continues to characterize much of the campaign being run by the smartest woman in America, but again, Hillary partisans are unlikely to be ruffled by it. They are probably already circling the excuse wagons, aboard which they will conclude that it wasn't Hillary herself, of course, and it might have been a secret Republican mole, and anyway it's not unfair to show the picture, and Obama's not playing fair himself, and if we all have a good cry this whole mess will just go away. So I don't see too many of her likely primary voters ditching her over this little slip of the camera.

In a broader sense, though, this picture is going to have an impact. The first time America saw a candidate in a ridiculous Army getup with no notion how un-presidential the image made him appear, we shuddered collectively, and started looking elsewhere. The second time America saw such a picture, we howled with laughter. This time? I'm listening, and so far I only hear the sound of millions of voters shrugging. Who cares about the this stupid picture? they all seem to be saying.

And if it happens again, we'll probably hear crickets.

We're reaching the point where the Silly Candidate Picture is becoming an expected feature of the entertainment cycle we call elections. It's on a par with the Candidate Foot-In-Mouth moment, the Unsubstantiated Adultery Allegations moment, the Really Unfortunate Statement By a Candidate's Spouse moment, and the Torturous Financial Trail Leading Back to Chinese Lobbyists moment.

Relax, folks; it's all part of the show.

1 comment:

matthew archbold said...

red, this is the kind of picture that will live a long time on the internet. People will create chain e-mails over this pic. This will do damage in a real sense for the uninformed folks who may just vote. And there's a lot of them.