Posted by: David Kiley on July 7, 2008
Visiting the websites of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee is an interesting study in party personality right now.
Go to www.gop.com, and the homepage is kind of frenetic, with a changing screen of anti-Obama messages and resources: Obama’s Economic Mixed Signals; Obama’s Iraq Guessing Game (the picture accompanying this item is one of Obama holding a card to his head a’la Carnak); Obama’s Glass Houses; [Obama’s] New Politics (this is over remarks made by General Wesley Clark about John McCain’s Navy flyer experience not preparing him to be commander-in-chief. In this flashing mélange is also a video about John McCain titled “Purpose.”
So, there are four anti-Obama videos, podcasts, and the like to one pro-McCain video on this, the most prime real estate on the homepage.
Over at www.Democrats.org, the prime real estate is dedicated to promoting Obama. There is a small button on the site taking visitors to the McCain Resource Center, where there is material going after the Arizona Senator on his positions and flip-flops. There is a button for “Meet John McCain.” And in the election updates section, there were three Obama updates, and one gotcha item aimed at McCain.
But the DNC site is clearly and overwhelmingly much more pro-Obama than it is anti McCain. But at RNC, the site is just as decidedly more anti-Obama than it is pro-McCain.
Here is the new McCain ad/video.
It seems to make sense. And it is consistent. A Republican strategist told me recently that the whole game, at least for right now, is to try and define Obama as John Kerry without the military experience: elitist, uses “summer” as a verb, a suspicious wife who is known for a temper (Michelle Obama is not); arugala eating, wine sipping, lawn bowling squash player.
The thinking over at RNC is that people already know McCain. They are going to try and help any GOP state party, 527 Group and the like define Obama as Kerry-Dukakis-Stevenson. And never mind trying to sell McCain.
There is an obnoxiousness about the RNC approach that seems geared to appeal to Sean Hannity listeners. The “Obama Resume” uses a photo effect that makes the graphic look more like an FBI file than a resume. He is described as a “street organizer,” not a “community organizer.” Why don’t they just say “street hustler.” He is called a “lecturer” and a “lawyer” under experience. In John McCain’s resume on the RNC, he is listed as a “cancer curer,” rather than a “cancer survivor.” Okay…I made that one up. But you get the point.
McCain ran as the front-runner for nearly four months, and had the polling to back it up. The RNC, though, seems intent on marketing against Obama as if he is the front-runner, and McCain as the righteous underdog. Sounds good. But the execution on the website looks designed to reel in more of Hannity’s America, who are otherwise inclined to stay home in November. It is all so cynical that one wonders if it will really play with indi voters. I doubt it.
On the RNC site, Obama is often seen in a picture where his face is obscured by shadows. Oddly, the lead photo on the DNC site also shows him in a shadow. Seems like a bad idea for the DNC given Obama’s unknown qualities with many independents and curious Republicans.