Authenticity Matters

Having made fun of John Edwards’ vanity once I have to comment on his $400 haircuts. When in the 2004 campaign a Bush aid calls you the “Breck Girl of politics,” when you are the subject of a video posted on YouTube that shows you fussing with your hair for two minutes to the tune of “I Feel Pretty,” and when “two Americas,” the divide between rich and poor, has been your campaign theme, then paying $400 for a Beverly Hills haircut is, to be charitable, tone deaf and stupid. It reeks of Kerry-esque inauthenticity.

It is a mistake if democrats (e.g., this Huffington Post entry) belittle this story as another substance-less right-wing Fox-inspired character assassination. Democratic candidates need to offer something beyond “I’m not George Bush.” Running smart campaigns would be a good place to start.

7 thoughts on “Authenticity Matters”

  1. All candidates of high office make expensive purchases. George W. Bush acquired his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, TX in 1999 during his first presidential campaign for over $2m. Not too mention his bespoke Oxxford suits which start around $2k. The problem arises when these purchases, along with Edwards’, are paid for by the campaign (and their contributors) and thus known to the public. Responsible candidates should strive to keep their personal finances separate as soon as they are dealing with other peoples’ money, even if they belong to the same party.

  2. I think what’s interesting to note here is the impact YouTube is having on the political scene in America. In a Time article entitled “Open Season” (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1582317-1,00.html), Karen Tumulty briefly addresses this issue and its impact on the 2008 elections. She quotes former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, who says, “The margin for rhetorical errors is quite small today. Any slight misstep can be distributed in all 50 states simultaneously. There will be less creativity in talking–and in thinking.” Senator Kerrey is obviously referring to YouTube and the impact it has on American politics. In one sense, YouTube could help politicians, as it might reduce the amount of money they spend on TV ads. But more importantly, as Senator Kerrey points out, politicians are going to have to monitor everything they do. And it’s going to get out of hand. Pretty soon we’ll be seeing videos of John McCain using a urinal or Bill Richardson picking his nose. Is that fair to them? To McCain, no. To Richardson, ’tis the beauty of YouTube.

  3. This phenomenon has a name: YouTubeification, a/k/a YouTube-ification. A Google search for either term produces a relatively small but growing number of hits, with A Foolish Consistency hear the top of each. CBS News had an article about YouTubeification last summer at http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2006/08/24/publiceye/entry1932996.shtml. I predict YouTube’s impact on the political process will receive considerable scrutiny over the next 18 months.

  4. Wow, I cannot believe how much of an impact YouTube is having on so many aspects of our lives! I remember not too long ago it was merely a website where people could post funny videos of their friends…and now it can have an affect on politics? I wonder what kind of impact it will continue to have in the coming years. Are academics going to be affected? I’m assuming that they are, but I wonder in what way. Will people record lectures and post them on the website? CAP videos are already being posted and shared. Hmm…I wonder what will happen…

  5. Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I have
    read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this blog.

  6. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles
    as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?

    My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from
    some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright
    with you. Thanks a lot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *