September 12th, 2008

Another goof from the well-managed Obama campaign: never mind

Obama will be appearing on Saturday Night Live tomorrow. This makes a certain amount of sense, since lately his campaign seems to be headed into previously uncharted Emily Litella “never mind” waters.

When I heard about this ad I immediately thought it was an error of judgment:

What could Obama possibly gain by alienating people who, for one reason or other, don’t use computers? Even though the elderly are not a demographic he appeals to, surely there’s no reason to insult them further. And what about the Luddites? They must vote, too.

Then there’s the whiny, petulant, teasy voice of the ad. The whole thing gives off the uneasy whiff of the juvenile. Obama already has the youth vote locked up, and the people he needs to woo probably want him to seem more mature, not less.

But it turns out the ad’s even worse than that. For all their vaunted computer expertise, Obama’s idea men/women and PR people don’t seem to have the Google concept down.

27 Responses to “Another goof from the well-managed Obama campaign: never mind”

  1. mezzrow Says:

    I think it might be time to talk about competence.

    Go take a look at Instapundit and his list of links to folks tracking this issue down.

    Now then. Is approving this ad the sign of a competent administrator?

    Not ready to lead.


  2. Kaba Says:

    I can’t help but wonder what the candidates in the down-ticket races must be thinking. Obama’s refusal to accept public financing is sucking incredible amounts of cash from donors that might have otherwise gone to their races, And now these mistakes are starting to tarnish the whole party identity issue.

  3. Independent George Says:

    Now the only question is which “overzealous staffer” gets to fall on his sword for the ad.

  4. SteveH Says:

    Not the same ad agency that Barak knew?

    Heres whats funny. Everywhere you look you see dems insisting Barak get more aggressive. Theres a chance this could be the biggest homestretch choke in the history of politics. Small town mayor races included.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    Obama is ready for the Presidency because his campaign has more people in it than Sarah palin’s Mayorship.

  6. Gringo Says:

    When ∅bama attacks of late, he falls flat on his face. Lipstick on a pig mayor of small town etc: the senior star gains nothing by attacking the second stringer on the freshman team, because it should be beneath contempt to attack such a worm. Especially since by doing so you compare yourself to a worm. I read a recent poll in which Palin was considered more experienced than ∅bama, by a plurality of about 10%. Looks like attacking Palin’s experience was not a good move: it focused attention on ∅bama’s experience.

    Of the fifteen Presidents who had once been US Senator, only one had “none of the above” for experience: US vice president, US cabinet member, state governor, military. That would be Warren Harding. That would also describe ∅bama’s experience. No, not a good idea at all to draw attention to Palin’s lack of experience, especially since she had actual executive experience and had been much better at fighting corruption than had ∅bama.

    Computergate. Not a very computer savvy staff, as the information was available in a quick Internet search.

    ∅bama won most of the early primaries, but lost most of the later primaries, when Hillary started to fight back. ∅bama is finding out that it is a little harder to run a national campaign, where you do not have the option to get your opponent off the ballot, as he did in Chicago politics.

    The Republicans had better not get overconfident. They need to present coherent policy proposals. Show that they have a positive alternative to ∅bama.

  7. Darius Says:

    Even more odd. I wasn’t paying much attention to the web aspect in 2000, but despite all the buzz about BO’s website with blogs and memberships, it’s been McCain who’s been leveraging the capabilities of the internet re: video distribution and such to respons quickly to new events.

    Also, while B.O. may be able to use his own computer with his own two hands, he can’t seem to find good web designers to do more than make his website function and look pretty. LGF had a series of articles at one point pointing out NUMEROUS amateurish security issues…

    I guess that could make one question his competence.

  8. Rose Says:

    I had forgotten McCain’s use of the internet back then – but I had been to his website many times! Thank you neo and instapundit.

    As for computer use – my husband uses his computer at work (I don’t know how), stocks and bonds and such, but in reality, at home, I am my husband’s mouse. If he is going to type an email, I set it all up, he types, and then I send and do all that ‘complicated’ stuff. He’s getting better… but… he couldn’t program the vcr either, taped over the blinking light. 🙂

  9. Ike Says:

    I’m hearing now that Obama has canceled his SNL appearance.

    Can I get a second Litella?

  10. Gail Says:

    Oh, Neo, it’s much worse even than you think. Look at this, from the National Review today:

    “Wondering No More [Jonah Goldberg]”

    Yep. The day after 9/11, as part of its “get tough” makeover, the Obama campaign is mocking John McCain for not using a computer, without caring why he doesn’t use a computer. From the AP story about the computer illiterate ad:

    “Our economy wouldn’t survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats,” [Obama spokesman Dan] Pfeiffer said. “It’s extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn’t know how to send an e-mail.”

    Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by “extraordinary.” The reason he doesn’t send email is that he can’t use a keyboard because of the relentless beatings he received from the Viet Cong in service to our country. From the Boston Globe (March 4, 2000):

    McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain’s encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He’s an avid fan – Ted Williams is his hero – but he can’t raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.

    In a similar vein I guess it’s an outrage that the blind governor of New York David Patterson doesn’t know how to drive a car. After all, transportation issues are pretty important. How dare he serve as governor while being ignorant of what it’s like to navigate New York’s highways.

    Update: Well, now the story is up on Drudge (You heard it here first!). Re: Mark’s point about how the supposedly web-savvy Obama campaign can’t handle Google, here’s another story confirming he has difficulty using a keyboard. Ironically, it’s from one of the most pro-Obama journalists out there, Jacob Weisberg, in an article in Slate in 2000:

    “Six months ago, no one would have pegged McCain as the most cybersavvy of this year’s crop of candidates. At 63, he is the oldest of the bunch and because of his war injuries, he is limited in his ability to wield a keyboard.” # # #

    Not to mention the ludicrous suggestion that a principal job qualification for being the leader of the Free World is — being able to type.

  11. Doom Says:

    I think McCain left cheese on that trap like a man playing with a boy. And, he was right. He must be having a blast. It isn’t even a challenge, but it sure is fun. Palin, keyboards, what next?

    An interesting note, why do people say that corporate tax cuts are not a tax cut on the middle class? Corporations work on a margin, add taxes, you do not change that margin, you merely change the costs of goods and services. Why liberals refuse to see that, I have no clue. Though, I think it is because their elites are beyond such petty things financially, and those they intend to attract are the truly uneducated poor who think it’s everybody else’s fault.

  12. kadet Says:

    It is true that McCain can’t comb his hair – his injuries do make that difficult. He has limited shoulder movement. I would imagine tying shoes would be difficult if not painful. But he can use a keyboard. His has no limitations in his fingers, wrists, or elbows. He may not be able to type because he never learned, but you ain’t fooling anyone with this whiney stuff.

    The ad is about intellectual laziness, not physical disability. I can understand why you are offended.

  13. Gringo Says:

    That’s right, kadet.Put your hands over your years and yell, “na na na na na na na na na na .”

  14. Dennis Says:

    Actually Cindy McCain does his typing. McCain is an avid technology buff. The intellectually laziness comes for the likes of kadet and other Obama knee pad wearers.

  15. sashal Says:

    I agree, Dennis.
    McCain should be an expert in computers just by being able to look across his desk at one.
    Republicans – the promoters of ignorance

  16. expat Says:

    Who do you think would be more competent at reviewing military R&D requests for stealth technology, drones, targeting systems, etc? Obama hasn’t worked his way through the paper airplanes in The Dangerous Book For Boys.

  17. sashal Says:

    hey , gringo, guess what.

    Robert Kagan, prominent neoconservative says it’s elitist to expect a President of the United States to be knowledgeable about national security issues:

    Robert Kagan, a foreign policy advisor to McCain, derided criticisms of Palin as elitist.

    “I don’t take this elite foreign policy view that only this anointed class knows everything about the world,” he said. “I’m not generally impressed that they are better judges of American foreign policy experience than those who have Palin’s experience.”

    Based on the structure of the situation, it’s plausible that Kagan is just being opportunistically dishonest here and trying to say something useful to the Republican ticket. But based on Kagan’s work and philosophy I think that’s wrong and he’s absolutely being honest. Kagan, like most neoconservatives, thinks that in-depth knowledge of foreign countries and the politics and culture of foreign societies isn’t helpful in thinking about foreign policy questions. Similarly, they believe that in-depth knowledge of theoretical and empirical work in the field of international relations isn’t helpful. Indeed, they think that this kind of in-depth knowledge is actually harmful. They prefer the judgment of people who have little knowledge of the outside world but do possess a degree of gut-level nationalism.

    Since most Americans do possess a degree of gut-level nationalism and don’t possess much understanding of the world beyond our borders, it’s difficult politically to mount an argument against Kagan-style celebration of ignorance. But at the same time, the fact that a substantial swathe of the conservative policy elite thinks this way explains an enormous amount about why things have gone wrong in our foreign policy.

  18. sashal Says:

    for expat.
    Army Times, which is not–last time I checked–a radical left wing publication, takes John McCain to task for changing his position on the Future Combat Systems program. This is yet another example of how running for President has driven McCain off the deep end. In the past, he was one of the more consistent voices against foolish Pentagon weapon systems. Here’s a program that McCain previously wanted to end. Then Obama says he wants to slow-walk it…and McCain–reflexively, it appears, and unable to recall that he previously opposed it–decides to support it.

    A lost opportunity, I’d say: If McCain really wanted to prove his reform credentials, he would have said, “Sen. Obama has proved how little he knows about weapons systems. We don’t need to slow-walk FCS. We need to kill it.”

  19. david foster Says:

    “Our economy wouldn’t survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats,” (an Obama spokesman said). “It’s extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn’t know how to send an e-mail.”

    Using email doesn’t teach you anything about how the Internet works or about the security and regulatory issues facing it.

    “Progressives” tend to view people largely in terms of their consumption patterns, and this is more of the same.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    People should notice that sashal turns something he needs to defend into something he can attack Palin for.

    This is how the Left operates. This how they think. You cannot change faith nor fix it. Faith fixes you. And in this, the Left’s faith in Obama surely will fix you.

    Robert Kagan, prominent neoconservative says it’s elitist to expect a President of the United States to be knowledgeable about national security issues:

    In case people hadn’t noticed, Sarah isn’t President, yet.

    You don’t think the Left is a bit too premature in fighting President Sarah Palin now?

  21. Occam's Beard Says:

    Good point, sashal. With Obama we would have someone with intimate knowledge of…Indonesia. (At least as it was 40 years ago.) And who has cruised through Kenya to say howdy to the relatives.

    Oh, and went on the Griswold “Pig in a Poke” world tour, perhaps got a beret that said “Barry” on it.

    And let’s not forget eating a variety of national cuisines at Chicago restaurants. Money can’t buy that kind of experience. Well, it can, but you know what I mean.

    And he stood in front of styrofoam Greek columns at his beatification, so we can check the box for Greece.

    Yessir, he does have lots of foreign experience.

  22. cSimon Says:

    Most reasonable people who are acquainted with the use of a computer as a means of communication and dissemination of information efficiently, also know that it takes about a nanosecond with Google and other search engines to find a quote or article to support an idea they propose. State your “fact” (a.k.a. hypothesis, accusation, rumor, et al.) and then press the button (key) that will give you some support. You’re brilliant. Except most stop then and there and never further investigate the provenance of the information they mean to use as “proof.”

    So much for all these new computer technos whose pride re basic physical finger skills far exceeds their ability to think, let alone, have and use the knowledge of how to make an argument, and then procede to support it with logical and substantial thought.

    (Just as an aside, do since the ubiquitousness of computers, do kids learn to actually write with fingers and pencils/pens anymore other than develop a flourished scribble for credit card use?)

  23. cSimon Says:

    P.S. By the way, not too long ago, there were no computers in The White House. They hired secretaries, imagine that! And the world remained in orbit.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    I have had a shoulder tendon injury, so I know the range of motion it takes to move a mouse and type.

    It’s not hard, but you will notice that you DO move your shoulders and some of the muscles in there when using mouse or keyboard. Not a lot, but still, some.

    And if your shoulders are messed up joint wise, that means any motion there is not exactly “nice”. Even if you could move a mouse and use keys, you won’t be able to do it for long. Not like we can.

    Typing as much as I have? How many times have I moved my right hand from the keys to the mouse, back again, and so forth and so on? How many times have I used the small muscles in my shoulders, not just my arms, when doing so?

  25. Tom the Redhunter Says:

    “juvenile” defines the Obama campaign. Remember, this is the group that thought it was oh-so-cool to announce their VP pick by text-message.

    If you really want to see something scary, take a look at this video Andrew Sullivan has on his blog

    The scary thing is that I don’t think it’s a spoof.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    Got to admit, Tom, the music is nice if you like opera.

  27. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    sashal, I see the point you are trying to make and it has some merit. But misrepresenting your opponent’s positions is ultimately advocacy rather than discussion. Which you might have picked up if you’d thought about the culture here…

    That’s not just snark. That goes to the heart of it. You didn’t use what you did know when you needed it. There is not a person on the planet who knows enough about the countries and cultures the next president will have to deal with to be of any advantage whatsoever. Greater is the danger that a little knowledge plus arrogance will fool a president into thinking he knows more than he does and acting accordingly. That, and not reflexive nationalism, is why conservatives are highly suspicious of those who think the tidbits they picked up talking with urbane people are valuable.

    Example: I have two Romanian sons and have traveled to Romania many times. I know a lot of Romanian history and culture and have some sense of how Romanians think. If I were president and thought for one minute that I was therefore even 1% qualified to make decisions about our interaction with Romania without seeking advice, I would be a complete ass.

    Well, okay, I’d be a complete ass either way. But you take my point.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge