Peggie Noonan writes A Bush League President in The Wall Street Journal, 4/28/12.
I am less interested in her criticism of the president- there is plenty of that to go around- than her comment about the proliferation of communication technology and how to use it, politically or otherwise.
He’s raised a lot of money, or so we keep reading. He has a sophisticated, wired, brilliant computer operation—they know how to mine Internet data and get the addresses of people who’ve never been reached by a campaign before, and how to approach them in a friendly and personal way. This is thought to be a secret weapon. I’m not so sure. All they can approach their new friends with is arguments that have already been made, the same attacks and assertions. If you have fabulous new ways to reach everyone in the world but you have little to say, does that really help you?
A while back I talked to a young man who was developing a wonderful thing for a website, a kind of constant live TV show with anyone anywhere able to join in and share opinions live, on the screen. You’re on your iPad in the train station, you log on and start talking. He was so excited at the technology, which seemed impressive. But I thought: Why do you think people will say anything interesting or important?
This is the problem of the world now: Big mic, no message. If you have nothing to say, does it matter that you have endless venues in which to say it?
All the advertising dollars in the world are worthless if you do not have a compelling argument or a reason to act. So much of the political messaging from both parties are directed at the already converted. This is like directing commercial advertising dollars at the customers who have already bought your product.
The endless avenues of our new medias seem largely wasted on just repeating stale stories and arguments. The real core differences are hardly touched. Consumers will respond more to emotional triggers than real analysis. Political hacks know this and are more willing to reach for those triggers than to clarify a compelling reason to cast your vote in their direction.