In the Shadows of Media Giants

The McCain campaign will probably go down in history as one of the worst-run campaigns in American history. Not because of a few horrible gaffs (“helped create” the BlackBerry? intended to insult the Prime Minister of Spain? speaking in front of a green screen?) but because they forgot who their candidate was.

The following does not constitute rigorous proof. Just observation and conjecture.

For an experiment, I went to Google News and searched for “mccain” “palin” “obama” and “biden”, all separately, and just looked at the total results. (I looked on the second page because Google’s duplicate-finding algorithms usually seem to pare down results by the time you get to page 2.)

Here are the results:

Obama and McCain are fairly even (unsurprising, since most articles that mention one mention the other). What shocks me is that Sarah Palin, who almost no one in the country had heard of until two months ago, has already caught up to half of the candidates, who have been on the trail for a year and a half.

Unless Michael Palin has been making tons of news, lately?

She’s got two and a half times the press of Joe Biden, who’s been a US Senator for 35 years, so probably has some old mentions in there.

We see a similar trend in the regular Google search:

Here I attribute the difference between Obama and McCain to Obama’s lead among young voters. But Palin has even more momentum here, half of Obama and two-thirds of McCain. (I re-ran this search several times, because Google said it was customizing my results based on my recent queries.)


McCain picked an ambitious, photogenic campaigner. He, on the other hand, is an occasionally ornery, but usually soft-spoken old man. Barack Obama is a well-spoken Black man with a thousand-watt smile. Biden is the soft-spoken older man on that ticket.

Unfortunately for Senator McCain, he also picked an unknown, inexperienced Governor who usually sounds like a high school student who didn’t read the book, and looks like Tina Fey. Comic. Gold.

I realize that picking someone less exciting that John McCain may have been difficult, but picking someone much more interesting, and not in a particularly good way, was definitely a bad choice. Yes she energized the base. She also energized every comedian and reporter. So much so that they forgot about John McCain.

They are “voting for the chick.”

For disclosure, I only identify as a Democrat because they’re as far left as I can get and still have a realistic chance of winning. I’m roughly in the left side of the British Liberal Democrat party.

But, if I was a Republican, I would be angry about this. As a liberal, it’s just funny.