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I think the answer is part and parcel of our highly accelerated consumer culture. We don't elect Presidents based principally on 'platforms' or 'issues'--we elect them based on Marketability. An entire industry has been given birth concurrent with the rise of the corporation--PR firms now tailor political 'personas' as much as the advertising agencies tailor logos. The process is called brandng and Naomi Klein has much to say about it's power. The 'branding' question is how well does a presidential image sell to the American public, how well does the individual politician control that image?

It's a game of expensive smoke and incredibly costly mirrors, and the fundamentals are in inverse relation to their costs. What I mean is, a person gets elected on such nuanced hackery as would you have a beer with this man? Does he sound like your Uncle or your Dad or that third semester prof you couldn't stomach?

That's why almost any politician is never called on a direct lie by the media. Everyone in media understands the game of 'forming' the image, so, to an extent, almost everyone is being deceitful at one level or another. Even spinning a war in such an environment becomes less a matter of murder and more a matter of how well it sells (I remember Andy Card on the Iraqi invasion, said something like... you don't introduce a new product in August). It's packaging. That's why such abortions as Ronald Reagan and Bush light the fire of the American Right's eye. They understand their objective as a sales job, not as a policy push. Democrats in some cases still suffer the illusion that there is more potential room for actual information in the political process--that mistake destroyed Al Gore (along with his nebbish button image down, natch).

I don't know how to correct this outside of wholesale electoral reform, and maybe the Green idea of Instant Voter Runoff so alternates to the image hackery of the major parties can be diluted.

by delicatemonster (delicatemons@delicatemonster.com) on Wed Dec 27th, 2006 at 03:44:29 PM EST
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