SuperGeekery: A blog probably of interest only to nerds by John F Morton.

A blog prob­a­bly of inter­est only to nerds by John F Mor­ton.

The YouTubified Election of 2008

This morn­ing, Hillary Clin­ton offi­cial­ly announced her pres­i­den­tial ambi­tions. My impres­sion is that Hillary Clin­ton a real­ly smart per­son, who is def­i­nite­ly up the dif­fi­cult task of being pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. The oth­er can­di­date com­pet­ing for my vote, Barack Oba­ma, also seems like a smart, capa­ble per­son who may also be up for that chal­lenge. (I’m sor­ry, John Edwards, you’re not up to the chal­lenge when com­pet­ing against these two.)

But who will win the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry race, Clin­ton or Oba­ma? For many years, a candidate’s on-cam­era per­sona has held sway with vot­ers than the sub­stance of their mes­sage. The JFK Nixon debates are an easy exam­ple of this. Radio lis­tens thought Nixon won the debate, TV view­ers though JFK did. In the upcom­ing YouTubi­fied elec­tion, I believe this effect will be mag­ni­fied more than ever. Per­cep­tion trumps real­i­ty. Minus any scan­dal, the can­di­date who speaks best, regard­less of con­tent, will win the elec­tion.

Let me sug­gest what is real­i­ty and what is per­cep­tion between them. The real­i­ty is that Hillary Clin­ton is a tougher, smarter politi­cian, bet­ter suit­ed for the pres­i­den­tial seat. She’s got the expe­ri­ence and the savvy to get peo­ple on her side behind the scenes to get her goals accom­plished. Barack Oba­ma has also got some of these qual­i­ties — he’s intel­li­gent and has some polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence, but if this were a writ­ten test, he would def­i­nite­ly come in sec­ond to Clin­ton. But the real­i­ty is not the only fac­tor here that deter­mines who peo­ple cast their vote for. The per­cep­tion war between these two favors Oba­ma. His on-cam­era per­sona is one who feels the voter’s fears and per­son­al strug­gles under­stand his or her lot in life. He’s here to fix things for me” and has the best chance of doing it because he gets me”. Ms. Clin­ton, try as she might, can’t feel” more than Mr. Oba­ma.

Clinton’s web site promis­es a con­ver­sa­tion hap­pen­ing between each vot­er and her, facil­i­tat­ed by the web. This is where I think the real­i­ty of her polit­i­cal savvy could poten­tial­ly win. If she’s here, in my liv­ing room, lis­ten­ing to me more than Oba­ma is, maybe she can get enough of those per­cep­tion” points in her col­umn to pull this out.

I’m def­i­nite­ly ready for a dif­fer­ent atti­tude of the per­son who occu­pies the office of the pres­i­dent. Luck­i­ly, I think either choice between Clin­ton and Oba­ma is a much bet­ter sit­u­a­tion that we are now in.

All I can hope is that the best can­di­date (but by which cri­te­ria) wins.

Now for some video.

Barack Oba­ma on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. [youtube src=_SITe0ZbuAg]

Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton on The View [youtube src=0b6ookvh­h­cA]

Update: I may be com­plete­ly wrong about this race. See this sto­ry on ABC­NEWS called Clin­ton Leads 08 Dems; No Bounce for Oba­ma. Go Hill!