Tag Archives: election

Election Marketing Sucks

I’ve complained before about crappy campaign web sites, but this year I think election marketing in general sucks, from robocalls to direct mail to those darned web sites. And I’m not the only one: Marketing guru Seth Godin offers marketing lessons from the U.S. elections. Today’s election day, so it’s all over. Let’s take a look at what works and what doesn’t.

Election Calls
In Minnesota robo-calls are illegal. Yet that hasn’t stopped two robo-calls from coming through, one from the Campaign for Change-DFL and one from Minnesotan Citizens Concerned for Life. I guess that’s one from each side of the political spectrum, so at least they’re fairly breaking the law.

In response to that anti-robo-call law in Minnesota, the McCain campaign has had real people making those calls and just reading the robo-call script. That’s perfectly legal, but it’s also perfectly insane.

Continue reading Election Marketing Sucks

Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama

Barack ObamaIn the 2008 presidential election I’m going to be voting for Barack Obama. That’s probably not a surprise to people who know me, but I feel the need to explain that position.

I’ve been contemplating this post for some time. Should I even write it? As a person who makes a living writing for a faith-based market (for the most part), it’s some what dangerous to talk about politics. There’s a very real possibility that people won’t hire me because of my political views. It’s happened for much lesser reasons.

But I guess because of that rationale I feel compelled to give a defense for why I’m voting for Barack Obama. I’d rather someone understand my reasoning and still reject me than reject me based on an assumption from something random like a Twitter post.

I think this will be the first time I’ve ever publicly blogged about who I’m voting for. The above rationale is part of the reason, but I’ve also never cared that much about politics. Part of the reason why I’m doing it this year is because of how important the times are. That’s said every year (I said it last election), but this election is historic on several fronts.

Ground Rules
I’m not going to load this post up with links and sources. Perhaps I should, but writing this is going to be grueling enough. I don’t have time to track down all the links. My arguments have come from watching the debates, listening to the candidates, following the campaigns and reading fact check sites. That said, feel free to call me on facts that I get wrong.

I’d also like to remind people of the importance of disagreeing well. How we disagree perhaps says more about our character than what we agree on.
Continue reading Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama

Is Barack Obama a Muslim? Who Cares?

The New Yorker Obama CoverThe question of Barack Obama’s faith and background keeps coming up. Despite his long-held Christian faith, the rumors that he is a Muslim persist. An April poll showed that 1 in 10 Americans thought Obama was a Muslim (one would hope that number would have dropped in the months since).

Is Barack Obama a Muslim? No. (Visit IsBarackObamaAMuslim.com for the short answer.)

But what if he was? Who cares?

Is Barack Obama an Arab, as McCain crowds in Minnesota seem to think (yes, I’m embarrassed for my state)? No. His father is from Kenya, his mother is from Kansas (hey, my mom’s from Kansas!) and he was born in Hawaii.

Again, but what if he was an Arab? Who cares? Continue reading Is Barack Obama a Muslim? Who Cares?

The Presidential Debates are Broken

Tonight is the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. I’m not sure if I want to watch. Having watched the first presidential debate and the only vice presidential debate I came away with the conclusion that debates are broken.

  • “Facts” are tossed around by both candidates and then challenged and defended with no regard for what’s factual. Even when multiple sites and news organizations fact check the candidates, those misleading, deceptive or blatantly false claims still come up. Both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin used “facts” in the VP debate that had already been fact-checked and swatted down after the presidential debate.
  • The follow-up questions are limited so there’s no actual resolution for any issue. A candidate can make an outrageous claim and it just sits there unchallenged. This happened multiple times in both debates.
  • Finally, the underlying issues that inform policies are never actually debated. For example, we go round and round on who’s tax policy does what (here’s a good breakdown of their respective tax policies), but we never get to the issues behind the opposing policies: What will improve the economy more, giving more money to the middle class or more money to the wealthy? That’s the real debate, with real historical examples (Reagan vs. Clinton), but we never actually get there.

Continue reading The Presidential Debates are Broken

Resources to Fact-Check the Presidential Candidates

With a month and a half to go before the election, the campaigns are getting pretty intense (no matter who you’re voting for I hope we can disagree well). New accusations, gaffes and bizarre stories seem to surface every day. It’s hard to know who to believe, so I offer three fact checking resources:

Offers a ratings for ‘True,’ ‘Mostly True,’ ‘Half True,’ ‘Barely True,’ ‘False,’ and ‘Pants on Fire.’ In investigating 114 of Obama’s statements and 113 of McCain’s, Obama gets 18 ‘false’ claims and 0 ‘pants on fire’ claims, while McCain gets 22 ‘false’ claims and 6 ‘pants on fire’ claims. It’s run by the St. Petersburg Times and the Congressional Quarterly.

Lie Count
I came across this one today and it offers a straight count of outright lies from each campaign. As of right now the tally is Democrats: 6 lies, Republicans: 11 lies. This one is run by two web guys with some spare time.

This one is the most thorough and has the least spin. They don’t have any counters of who’s “winning” and sometimes they’re overly careful in their fact-checking and statement splicing. The one downside is all that careful truth-finding takes time. They’re backed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. (Curiously, FactCheck was even used in a McCain ad, which they then fact-checked and called a distortion.)

Also of interest, though not for fact-checking, is Every Moment Now, which shows the level of media coverage of both candidates. Perspctv is another good visualizer of McCain/Obama coverage, though it’s much wider in scope (web searches, blog mentions, etc.). Both links via two cents.

It’s sad that we have to call out either candidate for lying or stretching the truth, but that’s the reality. Boo politics.