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The importance of being boring when you are John McCain

Cartoon caricature of John McCain, republican candidiate for Presidency of the United Staes. Made by matt Buck hack cartoons. Copyright and all image rights: Matt Buck Hack cartoons

John McCain’s speech to the Republican national convention was much criticised across many media outlets for being uninspiring and dull. I’m not sure I agree. I thought it was a rather cleverly judged piece of positioning in the wake of all the excitement about his colourful running mate Sarah Palin. In deep contrast to her extremely high-profile debut in political society, McCain offered a measured marketing exercise stressing his apparent strong point, experience. He and his advisors knew the eyes of the media world were on them (because of Palin) and it was important to look measured and presidential. He set out to do that in his speech. Steadiness and boredom can be a highly effective part in the selling of a politician. (I live in a country which elected Conservative John Major as prime minister largely because of his steady-eddie image which played well against his opponent Neil Kinnock’s tendency to windbaggery.) McCain’s campaign appears to think this is the way to beat Obama’s up to now, racier campaign. Traditionally, a safe pair of hands plays well with voting electorates, who do tend to be conservative in their choices, even when economic times are hard. Lloyd Shepherd at I’ve said too much thought so too – and produces some interesting evidence to support it.

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