Can McCain’s BlackBerry “Joke” Make McCain a Joke?
The McCain campaign quickly backtracked from its Tuesday announcement that the Republican presidential nominee invented the BlackBerry, explaining that the declaration was really all a joke. But the joke may be on McCain.
Tech-savvy liberals are busy ridiculing McCain all over the Internet, (which he did not invent, either), in a mocking meme that could reinforce the Obama campaign’s serious attack that McCain is too “out of touch” to be president.
A new open-source Website, JohnMcCainInvented.com, invites visitors to post their own answers to “what else did John McCain invent?”
The early returns range from the irreverent — “The little plastic enImage has not been found. URL: http://www.washingtonindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/picture-4-272x300.pngds on shoelaces” — to the political, like “Obamacans” and “The Keating Five.” People are having fun. Then, some techies are going viral by affixing fake signatures to their BlackBerry emails that read:
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld device, a miracle made possible by John McCain.
An old-time poster is circulating online that tweaks McCain for inventing the “speaking mail device.”
MoveOn.org, the liberal advocacy group, cut a new YouTube video on Wednesday ridiculing McCain for the BlackBerry claim, with a comedian narrating the madness in the role of the “Straight Talk Express” bus driver. Former Onion editor Peter Koechley runs the viral campaign, which was just sent to 600,000 activists. Some bloggers are also reviving a popular parody graphic from DailyKos, which skewered McCain’s attempt to get hip online:
Image has not been found. URL: http://www.washingtonindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/picture-51-300x166.pngBloggers are mocking McCain for his campaign's latest web gaffe.
Humor can create effective lines of attack in politics, as I’ve written in this space before, especially when it diminishes a politician while reinforcing a larger vulnerability.
Jokes that catch on in popular culture can be powerful. They can stick in people’s minds better than political discourse, and inhabit that special zone of chit-chat for the things that are okay to discuss with coworkers and strangers.
Most folks don’t strike up random conversation with strangers about the candidates’ views on abortion, but joking about Gore inventing the Internet is perfectly normal.
Joking about McCain inventing the Blackberry could be double trouble for McCain. Not only does it hit his credibility — like the Gore line — it also flags his weakness on technology and the economy.