Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nothing is sacred on the campaign trial anymore

The YouTube Election
by Steve Greenhut

After speaking to a group of veterans in South Carolina last April as part of his "Straight Talk Express," Sen. John McCain was asked by an audience member when the United States would send an "airmail message to Tehran." The senator stopped for a moment, then reminded the audience of "an old Beach Boys song, 'Bomb Iran.'" Bomb, bomb, bomb … bomb, bomb Iran. He sang those words to the tune of "Barbara Ann."

No doubt, McCain, the eventual 2008 Republican presidential nominee, was just trying to be funny (albeit in a stupid way for a man who hopes to one day have his finger on the nuclear trigger) after being asked a provocative question, but long gone are the days when a misstatement or joke will fade into oblivion. The video cameras were rolling, the liberal group began running ads using the clip, and anyone with a computer can still watch the senator sing that silly song by going to and typing in "McCain" and "Bomb Iran."

This is, indeed, the first YouTube election, in which the voting public need not wait for the newspaper, TV news shows or even the traditional Web sites for information about the candidates. There's no need to read what a politician said during a campaign stop. There's no need to rush home from work to watch the network news coverage, or to catch the latest debate or sit through those annoying talking-head cable shows, where guests hector each other.

One need only go to YouTube to watch the highlights or even replay entire broadcasts. The whole campaign is at your fingertips, and the implications are astounding.

For more on this op/ed piece, go to

No comments: