Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 23, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

THE WILLIE LOMAN DEMOGRAPHIC....I suppose this campaign poster for John McCain is mockable on a lot of different levels, but if you want to know what it reminds me of (and you do, don't you?), it's those Successories™ themed motivational posters that have been such an object of sport over the past couple of decades. You know the ones: "Excellence," "Determination," "Leadership," etc. etc. Right? And while the lazy bastards at despair.com probably won't come up with their own jeering take on McCain's poster, that doesn't mean you can't. Just go here and create your own.

Still, let's face it: as my wife keeps reminding me, there's a demographic that loves this stuff. Just like there's a demographic that doesn't appreciate sarcastic young whippersnappers and sympathizes with McCain's difficulty in learning how to use the internet. The problem is that it's a fairly small demographic and they're all going to vote for McCain already. Everyone else just snickers at this stuff.

Kevin Drum 5:57 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

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Comments

Oh man. That is just hilarious. It's just another way of saying, "hey, look at me! I'm old!" I wonder if McCain'll do something soon with the Franklin Mint. Or Thomas Kinkade.

Posted by: Wendy on July 23, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'd turn the slogan around; "Wisdom is born of peace."

And John McCain was reared in, tortured during, and is campaigning on, war. I don't see much opportunity for aquiring wisdom there. But I'm voting for Eugene Debs anyway.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on July 23, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Four planes? Is that the number of planes he destroyed while a pilot?

Posted by: riffle on July 23, 2008 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

There has not been a lot of wisdom in this world.

Posted by: Brojo on July 23, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for mentioning despair.com ... that was the first thing I thought of when I saw this poster.

"It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 23, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

And Obama is the one with the Messiah complex????
What is McCain running for... God?

Posted by: Teresa on July 23, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Well, God IS white, after all.

Posted by: duh on July 23, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

been done, sort of: http://susiemadrak.com/2008/07/22/21/41/a-pictures-worth-a-thousand-snores/

Posted by: Henry on July 23, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: riffle on July 23, 2008

Try Five.

But you can't really blame him for #4. Even though he was in the cockpit, he was sitting on the deck during the USS Forrestal disaster.

Otherwise, #1, 2, and 3 were crashes. No.5 was getting shot down in Vietnam. With all that in mind, maybe it wasn't so unreasonable for Wesley Clark to suggest that McCain's wartime experiences don't give him any special qualifications for being President.

Posted by: Joe Bob on July 23, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

This is no sillier than the Obama "presidential" seal. And there are a number of Obama posters out there, not necessarily produced by his campaign, that give one the impression that he is trying to project a god-like image.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 23, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

But But Obama!!! Shit, beat by the weenie.

Posted by: enozinho on July 23, 2008 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
This constant harping on every single gaffe that McCain makes is getting a little long in the tooth, IMHO. Both candidates are campaigning hard, and both will make mistakes. For example, just today Obama made himself head of a senate committee he wasn't even on.
From the CNN politcal ticker
(CNN) – Responding to an Israeli reporter’s question Wednesday on his commitment to protect the Jewish state, Barack Obama pointed to a bill “we passed” in the U.S. Senate Banking Committee that tightens sanctions and authorizes divestment from Iran. “My committee,” he called it.

Except that he isn’t a member of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

“Just this past week, we passed out of the out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee - which is my committee - a bill to call for divestment from Iran as way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don’t obtain a nuclear weapon,” Obama said at a press conference in Sderot, Israel.

So give it a rest. How about we concentrate on detailed analysis and perhaps rebuttals to both candidates' policies? With numbers, etc.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 23, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

But McCain is more likely to attack Muslim countries, therefore he has a constituency no matter how ridiculous he looks.

Posted by: flubber on July 23, 2008 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes:

"...sympathizes with McCain's difficulty in learning how to use the internet"

Hey, you're supposed to capitalize the word Internet!

Posted by: Quiddity on July 23, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Screw ups
give birth to
Wisdom"

"Unless you're too stubborn to learn from your mistakes."

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on July 23, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

What is McCain running for... God?

Which one's older?

Posted by: ckelly on July 23, 2008 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

War is peace.

The only thing more peaceful than a jet fighter plane is four jet fighter planes in tight formation.

I never was good at airplane spotting, are those Boeing or Airbus planes?

Posted by: Clem Guttata on July 23, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Peace is born of wisdom" and fighter jets. Amazing.

Posted by: bobbo on July 23, 2008 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if John McCain has ever been to www.JohnMcCain.com. You think his wife has shown him how to get there?

Posted by: Curious on July 23, 2008 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

How about this McCain poster title:

"John McCain: Because even broken clocks sre right twice a day."

Actually I thought the poster looked like an old Star Wars movie theater poster (cue theme song). Come to think of it, Phill Gramm would make a great Wookie.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on July 23, 2008 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

I kind of like the way the jets are shooting out of his forehead...like he has a hangar in there?

Posted by: js in ks on July 23, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if he looks like God in this or someone waiting to ascend to the heavens. I wish him a speedy trip.

Posted by: lynn on July 23, 2008 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

That piece of dreck looks like it was painted by Thomas Kinkade.

Posted by: Helena Montana on July 23, 2008 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

But if you tap it, you can pull two cards from the graveyard at a cost of only two mana!

Posted by: st on July 23, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

the jets are shooting out of his forehead

McDodo is a modern day Zeus!

Posted by: Brojo on July 23, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Just like there's a demographic that doesn't appreciate sarcastic young whippersnappers and sympathizes with McCain's difficulty in learning how to use the internet. The problem is that it's a fairly small demographic."

Not so sure it's a small demographic...both seem like rather large groups to me, with substantial overlap.

Posted by: stefan on July 23, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Peace is feeding the press corps their favorite treats.

Wisdom is born of pandering (to Bob Jones University and their ilkiness).

Posted by: mroberts on July 23, 2008 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

"That piece of dreck looks like it was painted by Thomas Kinkade."

"It is estimated that 1 in 10 homes in the U.S. feature some form of Thomas Kinkades art or licensed product." See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kincaid

And that's just Kincaid. So there may be quite a few people out there who like this, not all hard core Republican voters.

Posted by: stefan on July 23, 2008 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

The American flag is too small for my tastes, and below McCain. So this doesn't work for me -- is McCain putting himself above the flag?

Posted by: stefan on July 23, 2008 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Trouble learning how to use the internet? No sympathy from me. My father was 76 years old when he died 4 years ago, and he had no problem learning how to use the internet when he was already older than McCain is now.

Posted by: nemo on July 23, 2008 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

On how many levels can a Republican website horrify a sane person? Answer: all of them.

"It's pretty obvious that the media has a bizarre fascination with Barack Obama. Some may even say it's a love affair. We want you to be the judge. Click here to watch the new video and vote today!"

www.johnmccain.com


I would totally laugh at this if I still believed the American electoral system was still sacrosant.

Posted by: Zit on July 23, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

John McGodCain created the world and all things related in six days about 6000 years ago (he rested in Crawford Tx on the seventh day, visiting his 'father'), and he has controlled all planetary life ever since, including periodic culls of humanity with the wars he loves so much. Its a lie that the big bang happened 15 billion years ago because McGodCain isn't THAT OLD. And John McGodCain DOES NOT EVOLVE! Besides the 6-8 houses he and Cindy have in the US, McGodCain also lives in the heavens, where he rules the world, just like Rev. Moon. He surges into effectiveness by surrounding himself with DC lobbyists who are his disciples. Oh, and he was a POW too, as in Prisoner of War, where he learned how to win wars and proclaim victory.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on July 23, 2008 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mmmmm, I love the expression of steadfast tuffness (complete with major chin tuck), so different from the alternating looks of utter bewilderment and inappropriate peevishness he ordinarily sports.

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2008 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

I believe they meant whizz-dumb.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on July 23, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Peace may be born of wisdom, but it ain't born of killing innocent people, like John McCain believes.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 23, 2008 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Alternative captions:

1. "John McCain: Even when he naps, he's dreaming of your Freedom"
2. "John McCain: Because screen savers shouldn't just be for people with computers"
3. "John McCain: A man. A plan. A parachute"

Posted by: 025.3 on July 24, 2008 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

How about, "Are you fucking McKidding???"

Posted by: Aatos on July 24, 2008 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

I really think the poster is fine. It's his arguments about when we should be at peace and when we should be at war I feel like challenging, not this facially benign poster. Aesthetically, it's a little too lush for what I would want, but as Kevin points out, that's probably because the poster is designed most directly to target a demographic that grew up when posters in this style were more with-it.

You can't even really call the poster corny on its own terms, I think (that is, without consideration of the fact that McCain the man is about as heroic and noble as the Sheriff of Nottingham, and therefore the poster is absurd). But as just an abstract poster of a guy who is running for president, it seems like a perfectly fine poster to me- if you put Hillary or Edwards or Barack on it, but kept it the same otherwise, I don't see what the problem would be.

Posted by: Swan on July 24, 2008 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

It looks like the cover of a church bulletin.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on July 24, 2008 at 5:47 AM | PERMALINK

Those are, I think, Boeing F/A-18 fighter-bombers - as used by the US navy.

Posted by: ajay on July 24, 2008 at 6:07 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, oh. McCain isn't wearing a flag lapel pin in the picture.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on July 24, 2008 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

Let's start keeping tabs on all the "pairings" type posters and ads so that people understand the inch-deep psychology of GOP political advertising.

So far as of July 24 we have seen GOP anti-Obama posters and ads showing pictures of Obama side by side with Ahmadinejab, high gas prices at the pump and now with Castro. Obviously these are attempts to condition our response to Obama.

By contrast, McCain is paired with F-18s and words like "Wisdom."

These pairings ads lower the election debate because they represent: a) negative campaigning; b) obvious attempts to manipulate voters with suggestions Obama has far-fetched ties to dictators. None of these posters actually address real issues because the GOP has obviously decided they can't win if this election is decided on real policy differences between the candidates.

One way to beat McCain is for Obama to keep focused on real issues without sounding wonkish. Not only does McCain have a poor handle on facts but his positions are reactive and poorly conceived.

By the way, McCain lost five planes while on active duty. In one of his episodes he was flying so low in Spain he took down power lines before crashing. I believe they call it "flat topping."

Maybe the poster shows him contemplating the $150 million+ his flying exploits cost the American taxpayer.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on July 24, 2008 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, McCain's naval instructors and fellow classmates must be howling about the pairing of McCain with words like "Wisdom."

McCain has acknowledged he had a serious drinking problem throughout his student and pilot training days. While he was in pilot training in Pensacola he dated a stripper named "Marie, the Flame of Florida" who would pull out a switchblade to clean her nails in front of McCain's fellow officers and married friends.

And to think my taxpaying parents paid for his education.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on July 24, 2008 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK
there's a demographic that loves this stuff.

There's also a demographic that loves Elvis painted on velvet, too. Could that be one of the ads that's in the works for McCain? McCain painted on black velvet?

Posted by: Rick B on July 24, 2008 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

My problem with the poster is that it looks like a memorial. You know:

----------------

John McCain

1936 - 2008

"Peace is born
of wisdom"

-----------------

Posted by: Daniel Kim on July 24, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Lockin' up the kitsch vote.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 24, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

While he was in pilot training in Pensacola he dated a stripper named "Marie, the Flame of Florida" who would pull out a switchblade to clean her nails in front of McCain's fellow officers and married friends.

That is by far the most interesting thing about John McCain yet. I'd get that on a poster stat.

Lockin' up the kitsch vote.

Exactly. And about half of Cindy's hairstyles convert any naysayers there.

Posted by: shortstop on July 24, 2008 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

While he was in pilot training in Pensacola he dated a stripper named "Marie, the Flame of Florida

Maybe that is the name Judith Miller meant to write in her notebook at that secret meeting with Scooter Libby. But why would the White House want to out John McCain's stripper ex-girlfriend?! Does that mean she was CIA too? Zoink! Thinking like a Wingnut/PUMA can be fun!

Posted by: enozinho on July 24, 2008 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

About the only less-effective ad I can think of for McCain would be one juxtaposing Ahmadinejad and Obama that was placed on a liberal blog; that's the kind of ad that works, if at all, when aimed at voters whose awareness of issues is marginal.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 24, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing says peace like fighter jets in a fiery red sky.

Posted by: Northern Observer on July 24, 2008 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Peace is born of wisdom.

John McCain supports war.

Q.E.D.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on July 24, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

old is born of time passing.

ignorance is congenital but being proud of it takes work.

Posted by: supersaurus on July 24, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

One of McCain's old buddies must have a picture of John McCain and "Marie, the Flame of Florida."

Forget Friday cat blogging, Kevin. Let's have Friday Exotic Dancers Who Once Dated McCain blogging.

When you find a good picture you'll make the Eliot Spitzer-Ashley Dupre fiasco look like a church social.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on July 24, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Is that the Fog of War swirling around his face?

Posted by: Cal Gal on July 24, 2008 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

I always loved this one and it seems appropriate:

http://www.despair.com/goals.html

Posted by: Nat on July 24, 2008 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: acejhuw gaerfmucn on August 13, 2008 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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