August 13, 2004

Reacting to the usual email from

Every morning I get email from Patrick Ruffini who runs the official Bush website. I didn't sign up for this email, but I get it because they linked to me a while back. I've written pro-Kerry things too (and anti-Bush and anti-Kerry things), but the Kerry site has never linked to me and, not that I feel neglected, they never email me anything. I could say the Bush people are spamming me, and the Kerry people are behaving better by not taking advantage of a free way to reach me (me, a swing voter). But every day, Ruffini sends me things. Does that make the Bush side more web-savvy? Well, they are more blog-savvy, as indicated by today's email sign-off: "As always, don’t forget to send any posts you’d like to bring to our attention." It's blog-savvy, because it shows an understanding of the blogger's appetite for links. It means: Say something nice about us and we'll link to you. We will give you traffic!

Okay, so let's see what else Mr. Ruffini would like me to know today. First:
Today, the nation turns its attention to the Olympics. There’s a new ad out today that highlights the triumph of freedom and democracy around the world, with 120 democracies participating in the Olympics, including 2 new free nations, Iraq and Afghanistan. Watch it at:

This is going to be a little hard, because I'm sitting in a café at the moment and I don't want to annoy anyone. But okay, I'll look. I think it's kind of cool to make an Olympics ad, but kind of rotten to appropriate the Olympics, as if you are the official presidential candidate of the Olympics. Sodas and various commercial products have to pay extra to link themselves to the Olympics (perhaps only if they say "Olympics" or use the logo). The ad, which shows swimmers getting read to dive, then diving, then swimming, is very short, and displays the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan at one point under the swimmers. The email calls the ad "Victory," but the ad leaves it to the viewer to link up the idea of athletic competition and two newly free nations to two victories at war and victory for Bush in the election. It's a simple little commercial that makes its point, mostly subliminally, and also seems to admit that they know were going to be watching the Olympics and not listening to them very much in the next two weeks.

Second, Ruffini alerts me to this:
Morning Reads focuses on John Kerry’s “more sensitive” war on terror. Only John Kerry could want our troops to fight a “sensitive” war, yet vote against giving them body armor.

I guess the "more sensitive" war on terrorism is going to be right up there with "I voted for the war ... before I voted against it" in the Kerry-quotes most useful to the opposition. You can say this is taken out of context--"The Daily Show" riffed on this last night--but Kerry is a terrible candidate if he doesn't know how to stop himself from dropping in little word sequences that we be extracted, triumphantly, from his public remarks. Even if you wanted to keep his comments in their context, it would be difficult, because he doesn't give good sound bites. But his opponents are combing over his statements, looking for the worst, just as his people are doing to Bush's statements. As Jon Stewart, a big Kerry supporter, said on "The Daily Show" last night: "Is he trying to lose?"

UPDATE: "Subliminably."

FURTHER UPDATE: NYT, Aug. 19: "The United States Olympic Committee has asked the Bush campaign to stop using the Olympic name in commercials. Federal law grants the U.S.O.C. exclusive rights to the name."

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