03 August 2008

Obama or McCain Brand, which one do you buy? Weekend political junkies treat the presidential candidates like a consumer good.

"Branding": a relatively new word in the world of marketing, used to mean the overall impression (or even "personality") of a company that gives the consumer a feeling for what that company is about, and hopefully makes them want to buy products from them. Recently the word has been popping up in business self help books with reference to individuals as well, captured in phrases like "build your personal brand and increase your wealth."

Now politicos are using the world to describe how the candidates are managing public perceptions through their campaigns. Twice this became the topic on this past Friday evening's episode of PBS's Washington Week, which I often watch online on Sunday mornings along with This Week and Meet the Press and so forth (and they of course almost all have exactly the same content)... It's just pure self-torture from my perspective, but I do like to have some kind of idea of what the latest fashion of spinning is, what the latest propaganda techniques are, and today I also got a lesson in vocabulary. This one is one more piece of evidence for the case that the political climate in Washington encourages thinking of the American public as mere clients of consumer goods instead of citizens. And one more thing, when's the last time you heard them mention Bob Barr, or perhaps even still Ron Paul, or any other presidential contenders?

No to Obama! No to McCain! Both candidates will lead this country further down the path of imperialism, and ultimately self-destruction. Human beings are free! When presented with two options, we may create another, or many others. Let's not continue to vote in whomever is merely perceived to be the lesser of two evils.

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