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February 16, 2007

Best 2008 Website Yet

Atrios is right, John McCain's new campaign web site is totally "imperial stormtrooper chic." But to get the full flavor of the terrifyingly martial undercurrent, watch the video "stand up," which is currently the default clip on the front page. It looks like an over-the-top parody of fascist campaign propaganda from a movie, and sounds like Triumph of the Will. It's also worth noting that in an effort to shore up his conservative credentials in a particularly pandering and ghoulish way, the next video is simply called "Reagan Tribute," and the weird shoehorning of McCain's time as a POW into his admiration for Reagan really has to be seen to be believed. I don't know how many cults of personality one web site can foster, but props to the McCain team for trying to find out.

Update: The first item on their "why John McCain" page:

The world is a dangerous place, and we need a leader who is ready to assume the job as Commander in Chief on day one of the Presidency. No candidate has the experience or is better prepared for this task than John McCain. America is engaged in a war against violent Islamist extremism. A totalitarian enemy declared war on America, attacked our nation on September 11, 2001, and is committed to the destruction of the values we hold dear.

So vote McCain or the terrorists will kill you. Charming. This is the guy who's going to run a campaign of class and principle.

February 16, 2007 | Permalink


So vote McCain or the terrorists will kill you.

Obviously not what the blurb says.

Posted by: Sanpete | Feb 16, 2007 6:21:06 PM

McCain has a long row to hoe in courting back the conservative base.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 16, 2007 6:26:03 PM

Although I cannot disagree with your comments Ezra, I will admit that McCain's site is the most technologically adept I've seen. Put your mouse over the graphics and McCain talks to you! Although if I were doing the site, I'd have dead presidents, Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson tell you about why to elect John McCain when you put the mouse over the images. And maybe if you mouse over the word terrorist or islamic extremist, bin Laden can pop up and tell you how scared he is of McCain.

Posted by: Eric the Political Hack | Feb 16, 2007 6:26:29 PM

Definitely not what the blurb says, and I think Dems should sit up and take notice of that one, because it's going to get played to death from now til November '08. It's a very strong communication point: we're at war, which is true, regardless of whether we all agree with the way he's framed it. (I have my problems with the whole committed to the destruction of the values we hold dear refrain.) But there really is no room for a learning curve for whoever takes office. Edwards and Obama will have their work cut out for them pushing this one back, and it also explains why Hillary is parsing like... well, like a Clinton.

Posted by: Headline Junky | Feb 16, 2007 6:51:56 PM

it also explains why Hillary is parsing like... well, like a Clinton.

True. Admitting you were wrong in this context has its downside.

Posted by: Sanpete | Feb 16, 2007 7:03:12 PM

Godwin is good, I approve. Early and often.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 16, 2007 7:08:25 PM

OMG, that site (and the lead clip) is so over-the-top, I'm still giggling. They only need some jackbooted marching troops with faux Roman-eagle standards flying in the air. And the echos must be to simulate speaking in Neurenburg before the assembled 10's of thousands.

There are a couple of message in the color scheme too (the same color scheme used by the SS): the world and the US is black and white, not multi-hued nor red and blue.

Well, at least we know now what the face of fascism will look like in the 21st century.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Feb 16, 2007 7:11:04 PM

"Edwards and Obama will have their work cut out for them pushing this one back"

The Imperial Presidency really really sucks, and this is what enables it.

In 1944 FDR had an actual campaign he could have lost. And all America knew who Marshall and Bradley and Patton and Monty and disgraced-in-Italy Matt Clark were.
I bet 90 percent of America couldn't name Petraeus or Fallon.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 16, 2007 7:18:26 PM

Jim - The problem is C+ Augustus lost those six legions in Mesopotamia so there are none left for Sanctus McCanus.

Posted by: Pluribus | Feb 16, 2007 7:33:50 PM

Those things at the bottom are like the creepiest Mac ads ever.

Posted by: August J. Pollak | Feb 16, 2007 7:45:08 PM

I'm so damn proud of myself. I was the first to enter this one into StumbleUpon. Go me!

Posted by: Gutter Monkey | Feb 16, 2007 8:00:10 PM

The Imperial Presidency really really sucks, and this is what enables it.

Bob, my comment about Edwards & Obama had more to do with their youth and relative lack of foreign policy experience, not with the idea that war should somehow stifle the democratic process. And to pre-empt the argument that Bush wasn't so experienced when he was elected, I think Candidate Bush from 2000 would be a tough sell in this climate, too.

Posted by: Headline Junky | Feb 16, 2007 8:16:25 PM

it looks like a batman trailer site!!!!
i expected to see mccain in a mask with small bat ears..
all he needs is a mchero costume with tights and cape!!!! and a metropolis in the grey background, where he can fight the forces of evil...

Posted by: jacqueline | Feb 16, 2007 8:17:18 PM

The video mentions something called "common sense conservatives." Where can I see one of those? Seems mythological to me.

Posted by: craigie | Feb 16, 2007 8:37:01 PM

Oh. My. God.

This is terrifying. He's supposed to be the moderate? He's a freaking LUNATIC.

Other weird things: not only is McCain's face the only thing on the page with any color, but there are a half-dozen photos on the page, ALL OF McCAIN. Well, Glory be to the great savior who will show us all courage! Glory be!

To me, the weirdest thing wasn't just the fact that in his little video America seems to be ENTIRELY composed of soldiers and crowds, it's also that America appears to have no women other than the wife of John McCain. There's, what, a McCain female staffer in a red shirt in the background when McCain is saluting the soldier? And that's about it. So, America apparently is a nation without women. Just, you know, men and soldier men.

(Also, I see the wife, but where's his adopted child? You know, the one that's not white?

This pseudo-militarization for political gain is really disgusting. I mean, the frigging marine corps' home page is less overtly militaristic than McCain's website:

It's also really gross to see that this military poserdom has gone so far as to steal the Armed forces' single star. It's really gross for military symbols to be appropriated by politicians for use in their political campaign. Especially when soldiers are dying in a war overseas.


And ew, look at how much more militaristic McCain's website is than actual military recruitment sites. I swear to God, he's going to walk into his first debate with a frigging marine band, surrounded by a half dozen guys in fatigues, berets, and carrying machine guns. It's like goddam Castro.

Posted by: anonymous | Feb 16, 2007 9:24:12 PM

Well, to be fair, McCain did actually fly combat missions in an honest-to-God war and was shot down. That certianly gives him more military street cred than Bush, who is also fond of using the blood of soldiers as a campaign prop.

Posted by: Gutter Monkey | Feb 16, 2007 9:36:09 PM

More military street cred? Just because he got shot down? Just because he got hurt?

Please. This is the Brave New World of American politics, where courage in warfare can be twisted to look like cowardice, and a multiply-decorated war veteran can be redefined to look like a self-serving gloryhound.

For example:

How do we know he didn't shoot himself down? Maybe he flew directly into the line of fire and got himself shot down deliberately - because he knew that some day he'd be running for high office, and it would look good on his candidacy resume.

And I'm tired of hearing how brave he was when he was tortured. How do we know he didn't let himself get tortured? How do we know he didn't taunt his captors, or dare them to 'bring it on,' and basically just, you know, use provocative language and gestures, like he was just asking for it!

And all that stuff about how he refused to be released unless all his men were released, too? That's just grandstanding. A real hero would've gotten his ass out of there at the first opportunity - then told his commanders where the POW camp was, so they could send a commando team to rescue everyone else, and kick some VC butt while they were at it!


Posted by: CaseyL | Feb 16, 2007 9:57:28 PM

It's not a strong class for the Republicans so far, but I'd have to agree that McCain is pretty low in even this bunch.

He's got lot splainin to do.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Feb 16, 2007 10:00:10 PM

All it needs is a 'Want To Know More...?' link.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Feb 16, 2007 10:21:20 PM

I wouldn't say "martial" to describe the site. I'd just say it reminds me of death. Remember those AP articles from a few years back saying what psychologists were finding out... when people pondered death for 30 seconds, they came out supporting bush in much stronger terms.

It looks like McCain is quite literally going to have a campaign about death. But, just like Bush did (his campaign was about fear), he will get some very smart people to paint him as the savior in the face of all the death. The death won't touch him, just as Bush was able to remain "above the fray" for so long while others more explicitly sowed fear.

Look at the website and notice how the only thing that is in color is McCain's face. There you go, nice visual metaphor: McCain is the escape from death.


Posted by: mk | Feb 16, 2007 10:39:32 PM

Like JimPortland I was struck by the grayscale color scheme.

Jim reads messages: " There are a couple of message in the color scheme too (the same color scheme used by the SS): the world and the US is black and white, not multi-hued nor red and Blue"

I just think they had to go that gray to make McCain the warmest and most colorful thing on the page. Let's face it: next to McCain, soot looks like confetti.

Posted by: BroD | Feb 16, 2007 11:04:21 PM

I liked watching the geezer nodding off during the '07 State of the Union. Seriously, the old bastard was all but drooling on himself. Possibly this is what's intended by all of the Reagan comparisons on McCain's website.

The stress of a presidential primary -- never mind a general election -- is going to seriously compromise his nappy time.

Posted by: George Smiley | Feb 17, 2007 1:06:38 AM

All it needs is a 'Want To Know More...?' link.

Good call pseudonymous. It reminded me of Starship Troopers too. At least that was satire.

Posted by: Bentley Stanforth | Feb 17, 2007 1:48:49 AM

I remember when McCain used to let others point out his service in Vietnam so as not to seem like a self-promoting asshole, but that video is all P.O.W. all the time.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Feb 17, 2007 2:11:06 AM

What is the deal with McCain's chin/neck/jowels?
Does he have a thyroid problem?

Posted by: swollen gland | Feb 17, 2007 5:22:27 AM

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