Poor Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, unwittingly flung onto the national stage at the Oct 13 debate and forever known to us as “Joe the Plumber.” But it hasn’t stopped there! Now John McCain, as described in the New York Times blog, The Caucus, has encountered Joe the Florist and David the Dentist. In her Oct. 21 interview with CNN, Sarah Palin introduced us to some new characters, Jane the Engineer, Molly the Dental Hygienist and Chuck the Teacher and “all these good, hard-working Americans who are, finally were able to hear in very plain talk the other night, what Barack Obama’s intentions were to redistribute wealth.” Uh, what was that, Sarah?

It’s no surprise in a country with over 300 million people that politicians are like marketers–they view the American people as a collection of simple archetypes. Political campaigns have always looked to segmentation and demographic data to help them hone their message. And of course, there are focus groups and polls to round out the myriad of tool available to pols to better understand audiences. Maybe someday, to reflect the true color of our country, we’ll see Aishwarya the Accountant and Rashan the Fireman added to the mix.


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