Tuesday, September 9, 2008

McCain's New Coke

In 1985, the Coca Cola company came up with a new formula for its cornerstone product. It was a disgusting drink that sensible historians and those that survived the Reagan years now see as a silly and failed marketing gimmick. I predict, on Sept. 9, 2008, that Sarah Palin will be seen as the "New Coke" of politics in the years to come.

It should be noted that New Coke was widely popular at first. According to Wikipedia:

While it is widely believed today that the new drink failed almost instantly, this was not the case. The company, as it had planned, introduced the new formula with big marketing pushes in New York (workers renovating the Statue of Liberty were symbolically the first Americans given cans to take home[18]) and Washington, D.C. (where thousands of free cans were given away in Lafayette Park). Sales figures from those cities, and other regions where it had been introduced, showed a reaction that went as the market research had predicted. In fact, Coke's sales were up 8% over the same period the year before.[19]

Most Coke drinkers resumed buying the new drink at much the same level as they had the old one. Surveys indicated, in fact, that a majority liked the new flavoring.[20] Three-quarters of the respondents said they would buy New Coke again.[19] The big test, however, remained in the Southeast, where Coke was first bottled and tasted and has always been such a market leader and cultural institution that "coke" is a colloquialism for all colas, or even, in some areas of the South, for all soft drinks, regardless of flavor.

There is a scene in the Woody Allen classic Take the Money and Run where Virgil Starkwell holds up a prison guard with a fake gun carved out of soap that turns to suds once it is exposed to the unforgiving moisture of rain. Virgil was promptly returned to his cell. His plan- a failure.

This is the prism through which we must view the fad known as Sarah Palin.

Yes, the early polls show a clear bounce, but there are still 56 days to go and most Americans can't remember whether or not they can even count that high, let alone recall anything for that long.

We on the left like to point out that McCain is the same as Bush, but lets be honest amongst ourselves, most of us know that is not true. He is deeply problematic, but his military and Congressional biography show us that he would probably be a slight improvement on Bush. In my opinion, the 43 president of the United States is like Lung Cancer, while McCain is merely a bad case of Dengue Fever and Athletes Foot. Yes, there are clearly many more policy similarities than differences, but there are a few definite differences, like a belief in Global Warming for starters.

Palin however, really does remind me (and my wife) of the current President. She, like he, is very average. She seems to have no great intelligence or wit, no outstanding qualities, and thus, reaps the benefit of low expectations. What she does have is a genuine everyday-folk quality that reminds most Americans of themselves.

Presumably, most Americans do not see themselves as qualified or able to lead the largest economy and military machine on the planet. So why would they want someone like themselves to lead? Probably because we don't like to feel inferior. But we don't mind that our track stars are faster than most of us, our basketball players are taller than most of us, and our linebackers are stronger than most of us. So why do we accept mediocrity from our most important leader just because we see ourselves in them?

I may be wrong, but I think things are so bad that most people will go with the person most qualified, for you can't hide from the turds when you live in the toilet--even if Obama is more Lisa Simpson than Bart.

Anyway, enough of the chit-chat, lets boogie:


Randal Graves said...

We expect our sports figures to be athletically superior, otherwise they'd be out of a job. You really, in and of itself, don't need any qualifications to hold office other than to be a living, breathing human [insert McCain joke here]. We're simply perfecting that over the last generation with the whole regular joe/jane shtick.

alzaido alzaido said...

I prefer classic coke. I also prefer the classic Republican party. McCain likes to refer to his party as the party of Lincoln. Unfortunately for our nation, the Republican party has drifted greatly from Classic Republican. New Republican is the party puppet of the corporate interests.