Saturday, July 12, 2008

Psst! Everybody hide your phone inside your civics book--Mr. McCain's coming!

John McCain, who wants to lead America's last superpower in the 21st Century, thinks he may be ready to go on the Internet by himself--before long. Right now he has his press secretary helping him get online and find the Drudge Report:

He said, ruefully, that he had not mastered how to use the Internet and relied on his wife and aides like Mark Salter, a senior adviser, and Brooke Buchanan, his press secretary, to get him online […]

"They go on for me," he said. "I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need."

I think this must be what it would have felt like to read in 1945 that Harry Truman was getting his advisors to place telephone calls for him, but hoped to be able to master the new technology himself soon.

So there are early adopters, secondary and tertiary adopters, laggards . . . and then there's McCain, shrewdly waiting to see if this whole Internets thing is just a passing fad like coonskin caps or rock and roll.

(In fairness to the oldest presidential candidate in history, McCain--like any political figure who makes it to his level--has lived in a bubble of controlled access for so long it's probably a miracle if he knows they aren't making vinyl LPs any longer.)

Interestingly, the rest of the McCain household seems to have caught on:

Asked which blogs he read, he said: “Brooke and Mark show me Drudge, obviously. Everybody watches, for better or for worse, Drudge. Sometimes I look at Politico. Sometimes RealPolitics.”

At that point, Mrs. McCain, who had been intensely engaged with her BlackBerry, looked up and chastised her husband. “Meghan’s blog!” she said, reminding him of their daughter’s blog on his campaign Web site. “Meghan’s blog,” he said sheepishly.

Ah yes. Meghan's blog. Have I mentioned Meghan's blog?

Doctor TV tipped me off to this a couple of weeks ago, and we spent some quality email time rolling our virtual eyes over this story:

John McCain's 22-year-old daughter, Meghan, and a few friends have launched a group blog in support of John's candidacy, "McCain Blogette: Musings and Pop Culture on the Political Trail."

I love it. It reminds me of the good work Jenna and Barbara Bush did on the campaign trail for their father to help reach out to Gen Next voters and young professionals.

The good news, which we learn from the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, is that the blog is owned by Meghan McCain and is not affiliated with the official campaign. Why do we care who it's owned by? Because what that does is give Meghan and her friends a bit of breathing room and won't have to run anything by the McCain press shop.

So, not surprisingly, Meghan and Mom are a little farther along the technology curve than Dad seems to be. Perhaps they can also help him get his Internet bearings (although, hint to Meghan: it's probably a good idea not to show Dad how to check the browser history).

I too-vividly remember the campaign blog written by Romney boys (think: the Venture Brothers times 2.5), so I'm going to keep my distance from this project.

And as for the notion that Meghan's blog would be independent of, and not coordinated with, her dad's $400 million campaign for the presidency, that's just too silly to rebut.

(By the way: Does anyone actually remember "the good work Jenna and Barbara Bush did on the campaign trail for their father?" Anyone? I did some digging, and all I could find is that they took their public partying to South America where it was easier to keep them off the front page in the US.)

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