Thursday, October 30, 2008

Free advice

It's presumptuous of me to give big-time politicians any advice. First, they could care less what I think. Second, they've spent millions on campaign aides and advisers who have studied the art of politicking every which way until Sunday. What can I tell them that they've already considered and discarded?

But if they'll allow me just one suggestion, I'll feel better for getting it off my chest. Thanks. Here it is:

You know those campaign stump speeches, the ones in gymnasiums and larger arenas? Yes, those.

Get rid of the people behind the candidates.

This isn't theater in the round. The faces and signs get in the way. The candidates' messages aren't coming through.

Yes, I'm sure the people who have the honor of being carefully placed by the campaigns so that they're in plain sight of the press photographers and television cameras are not there by accident. Depending on the location of the campaign stop, they represent key demographics that the political operatives want subliminally associated with their man or woman. Maybe it's blue collar workers for Biden or young people for McCain or females for Palin or a cross-section of genders and colors for Obama. They're supposed to "say" something about the candidates.

To me, they're distractions, waving their signs, nodding on cue, sometimes even mugging, as one Palin look-alike did at a McCain event, no doubt to the chagrin of the campaign audience coordinator who was probably demoted after the event.

And who could forget the kid who yawned and nearly nodded off at a Bush rally four years ago? David Letterman replayed that one until the videotape wore out.

If it's supposed to be all about the candidates, let the candidates take center stage. Give us a chance to watch and listen without zeroing in on an enthusiastic (or dour) face to the rear.

I'm Ira Fusfeld and I approved this free advice.
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