Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ Category

I was impressed to see another example of the Obama admin.’s efforts at transparency–this one through Flickr. “The Official White House Photo Stream” is a fascinating chronicle of the daily goings-on at the White House. There are endless cabinet meetings, Obama preparing for speeches, throwing a football around, catching a quick golf game with Biden and recent visits to Europe and Mexico. While it’s interesting to see the President and his staff (impromptu meetings, 1-on-1 chats and lots of walks down long hallways ala West Wing), the most fascinating thing is seeing the beautiful interiors of the White House–rooms we ordinarily don’t see in typical press photos. It’s a reminder of the formality and old-worldliness of the building–a stark contrast to the Obamas, with their casual style and lack of pretense. But in this one, they seem in synch with their surroundings.

After Obama won the election last Tuesday I received this email from “Barack” (that’s how he signs off all emails):

Jenn —

I’m about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.

We just made history.

And I don’t want you to forget how we did it.

You made history every single day during this campaign — every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it’s time for change.

I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign.

We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I’ll be in touch soon about what comes next.

But I want to be very clear about one thing…

All of this happened because of you.

Thank you,

Barack

After he beat Hillary in the primaries, I decided to sign up for his email updates, thinking that I’d receive a weekly email. I even downloaded the Obama Facebook app. Not only did I receive email from Barack, but heard from Michelle and Joe (Biden). After awhile I must admit, it started feeling a bit spam-ish, so rather guiltily I stopped reading the emails and trashed them. Yet this latest is one I’ll keep, because I feel that in my own way, I participated in a little bit of history. I know that this won’t be the last communique, because the campaign has managed to build an online brand and extensive database to which he can message directly. As David Carr wrote in the  New York Times this morning, “Senator Barack Obama understood that you could use the Web to lower the cost of building a political brand, create a sense of connection and engagement, and dispense with the command and control method of governing to allow people to self-organize to do the work.”

Maybe because he’s the first post-boomer president or maybe it’s his message of change, but most certainly it’s because of the relationships he’s built online that I’ll be engaged in the dialog for the next four (or more?) years.

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.