October 2, 2007

The Web is Winning Races?

I found an article on CNN.com that I thought was a topic which was somewhat of a "no brain-er" but in the same sense it made me think, "God what would elections be without the Internet?!" I would like to think that our blog could possibly make a difference in politics and the upcoming election, but we won’t really know that right now. However it is crazy to think that just a few elections ago, the Internet barely played any role. It is already obvious to see the impact that the Internet has in campaigns and what not by just looking at all the media posted on our blog; YouTube videos, pictures, political cartoons, ect. Unfortunately in some cases, the Internet is the "make it" or "break it" factor in some campaigns and it will be interesting to see, as the election gets closer, the impact that Internet sources such as YouTube and blogs (hopefully ours) will play.

Our blog featured on NHK in Japan?

This past weekend I had an experience unique to any experience I have had before. Along with a group of fifty students from Georgetown, George Washington, and American University I took an eight hour bus ride to South Carolina to canvass for Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign. South Carolina is an essencial state in the primaries. His success in the January 29th primary will largely determine whether or not he will be on the Democratic ticket.

Sleeping on a cold gymnasium floor and waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning were completely worthwhile when the weekend came to a close. From making phonecalls to holding up posters and chanting at intersections to going door to door talking about the candidate I support, it was an experience I will never forget.

On top of that, I was asked about our political blog by two television reporters from Japan. The men are working on a news piece about Senator Obama's campaign and are tying in the way politics are being covered in the United States. I was actually asked to be a part of their news story and was interviewed about how I try to involve myself in politics and our blog and was followed by the cameraman and reporter for the weekend. They were incredibly interested in the blog and it may be featured briefly on the Japanese news station NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai). Blogging and student activism were incredibly important to the story and they were incredibly interested in seeing how politics effects the American public.

Overall the trip was an absolutely amazing opportunity and I was fortunate to be a part of it!

Speaking out

Just thought I’d use this blog to reminds everyone that Elizabeth Edwards will be speaking on-campus tonight at 8:15 as part of the Breastival. While she will be speaking about her personal battle with breast cancer, it got me thinking about presidential candidates and their wives. Some people have accused Elizabeth Edwards of being more outspoken and harsh than her husband, saying the things it wouldn’t be so politically correct for him to say (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/26/AR2007092601866.html). What do you guys think about this? Should candidates use the people around them to say what they can’t, or should everyone stay on the same message?

Hott 4 Hill feat. Taryn Southern

Are you hot for Hillary Clinton? Taryn Southern has a great voice, but will this song help boost Clinton's campaign? Or will it hurt? I know the song is really corny but its nice to see something that is not always thrown in by mainstream media. It goes to show how anxious some people are getting for the 2008 presidential election. The singer also performed videos for other presidential candidates, but this is by far one of the best in my opinion. It's very "American," and really promotes a distinct quality that she has over her competition, she's a woman.

Too Many Choices?

Upon realizing today that I had a blog post due for tomorrow and not Friday, I panicked and decided to search political cartoons on Google to see if I could get any ideas. I browsed until I reached this one from the San Antonio Express-News, which got me thinking...
Perhaps the general lack of interest in today's political debates has to do with too many choices. Slavery was no easy matter in American politics, but a topic that divided the country. However, the issues (excuse me for being trite) were a lot more black and white. Either one is for or against slavery, for or against the continuation of the old Southern way of life. Lincoln took his stand and made a name for himself through debates. It is a lot more difficult today. Although we are still in the primaries, there are (to the best of my knowledge) eight Democrat presidential hopefuls and ten Republicans. Aside from party affiliation, let's look at the main topics. Are you for immediately withdrawing all troops from Iraq, gradually bringing troops home, or staying there until the job is done? How exactly do we know when this job is done? Pro-life or pro-choice? Should there be universal health care? Are you trading in your Hummer for a Hybrid or still not buying into global warming? The questions seem endless.
I have been a little harsh in discussing debates in the 21st century in my brief stint as a blogger. Although I still think a lot can be drawn from the Lincoln-Douglas debates to make our debates today more effective, the vast amount of issues and candidates at the time being make it difficult. Until a candidate is chosen by each party, it is hard to compare Election 2008 to the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

The Song Remains the Same

I blog about music A LOT. But, I am not going to stop blogging about music in relation to politics, because I think it is very important. Music forms a major thread in the fabric of our culture. It allows for the expression of ideas, the use of metaphors and other literary devices to convey a point. It is often short, to the point, and readily accessible- easier than, say, a book of poems or a 500-page novel. As well, music has been used in U.S. political campaigns for at least 150 years, if not more. Campaign songs are nothing new. Neither are songs that attack politicians. This campaign's songs have not been finalized yet, but chances are there will be some wacky choices. Currently, the only official one is Celine Dion's You and I for Hillary's campaign.
Originally, campaign songs were simple affairs, or written with the candidate in mind. Both Teddy Roosevelt, for his 1912 independent campaign, and Dwight D. Eisenhower had songs specifically about them. Here is a nice list of older campaign songs Other presidential hopefuls, such as JFK, used optimistic songs-i.e. "High Hopes." Candidates also have been known to mis-step when choosing a song- most notably Ronald Reagan's attempted use of the anti-war "Born in the U.S.A."
Campaign songs, though they may seem frivolous, are often an integral part of the presidential campaign. They will probably play a huge role in raising the emotional stakes in an already emotional race. Music will also play a huge role in defining the candidates' images, especially following a president that was viciously attacked by musicians. Whichever songs the campaigns choose, they will have to be poignant and powerful.
As a parting thought, below is a song that should be considered the people's campaign song in choosing a candidate and president.

Obama Rakes It In

Obama has taken the lead in the Democratic field for the number of campaign donors, acquiring 93,000 new ones and raking in $20 million this last quarter. Though Hilary has yet to release the amount of funds she's raised and she's the fore-runner of the Democratic candidates, Obama has out raised her. Some of the donations have been as little as $5, but that doesn't seem to matter when you've had 352,000 donors. Five dollar donations seem to suggest that Obama is reaching out to more "everyday people", not just your big business people looking out for themselves in the future. He has had large fundraisers just like the other presidential candidates including a "$3 million fundraiser with talk-show mogul Oprah Winfrey, an event with mega-investor Warren Buffet and a low-dollar match program where the campaign united small donors with people who matched the amount the smaller donor could give", according to an article by the Washington Times, but he does have the most donors, a sure sign of popularity.
I thought this cartoon was a perfect representation!