Political Science Themes Issues and Term Paper

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He commonly regales his backers with strong, repetitive phrases that carry a sermon-like quality of affirmation: "Yes we can." Obama's catchphrase has helped to attract even greater media support in the form of entertainment industry backing of the kind that appeals to the candidate's often young, white base. The musical group, the Black Eyed Peas recorded as song entitled "Yes We Can," that contains words from Obama's speeches as lyrics, and provides a powerful musical beat to his campaign while giving it the cachet of popular culture.

The media's love affair with Barack Obama recently became a theme of the Clinton campaign when, beginning at the Texas debate, Hillary Clinton drew attention to a Saturday Night Live skit in which, during a simulated debate, Barack Obama was offered a pillow to make him comfortable rather than asked the hardball questions that were hurled at his opponent.

The televised lampoon of the political debates dramatized what a great many in the public at large saw as media bias toward Obama. He was built up and encouraged, contended many, while pundits slung mud at Clinton, or rather mechanically covered McCain. Indeed, McCain too, felt compelled to fire back at Obama over the general media image of that candidate's inevitability and invincibility. McCain charged that Obama has "had a lot of empty, stirring platitudes over the years and he's been successful with them."

While at the same time, Mark Salter, John McCain's chief speechwriter summed up media coverage - and Obama's campaign - as follows:

Obama's candidacy is grounded in a "messianic complex" and that the press has treated him as "god-like." "Obama's message," according to Salter, "is 'I am something extraordinary - gaze upon me and everyone will be great. By the mere fact of electing me, we will have transformed the stale politics of the United States."

The month of March brings possible changes to the media coverage of the campaign as incendiary videos of Barack Obama's pastor and mentor raise questions about the candidate's true feelings, motivations and ambitions. Largely unexplored by the major news outlets, Obama's history may become the subject of further investigation, as have the backgrounds of his Democratic and Republican rival. Only time will tell.

Clearly, presidential primary campaigns depend on a host of factors, all of which come together to create specific images of the respective candidates. Themes are presented that serve to rally voters and forge in their minds a living image of the candidate as embodiment of those ideals. These same concepts and symbolic representations are used to debunk the arguments of rivals and to further gather and entrench support. Supporters respond to buzzwords and to particular notions of what their favored candidate is like, and what he or she will do in office. Money is raised based upon the strength of the support that is generated, and on the kinds of supporters a candidate can gather to her or his banner. Campaign planners devise the best strategies, employing staged rallies, commercial advertisements, and televised debates as the best means to showcase their candidate, or as this things to be avoided. The various tools in the campaigner's arsenal are picked up by the media at large, and either used to set off an explosion of support, or turned back on the candidate like so many incendiary devices, for that is what a campaign is all about - creating a firestorm for the "right" candidate.

Bibliography

Colmes, Alan and Hannity, Sean.

Discussion of the Media's Treatment of Sen. Hillary Clinton." Hannity & Colmes, 27 February 2008.

Espo, David.

Clinton, Obama Trade Jabs on Health Care." Associated Press, 28 February 2008.

Granes, Earl G.

Barack Obama for president." Black Enterprise, 1 January 2008.

Herszenhorn, David.

Democrats emphasize huge costs of Iraq war Surge brings security, but at what price?" International Herald Tribune, 28 February 2008.

Issenberg, Sasha.

Once derided as an idealist, McCain hands label to Obama; Paints Democrat as an immature version of himself." Boston Globe, 15 February 2008.

Kuhnhenn, Jim.

Obama keeps upper hand over rival in fundraising." Oakland Tribune, 29 February 2008.

Lowther, William.

Emotional Hillary set for visit to last-chance Texas saloon; Tear jerker: Hillary received a standing ovation at the Texas debate." Daily Mail, 23 February 2008.

Major Issues of U.S. Presidential Campaign." Manila Bulletin, December 31, 2007.

Montagne, Renee.

New Hampshire Voters Say Clinton Understands." NPR Morning Edition, 9 January 2008.

Sidoti, Liz.

McCain's Focus Is on General Election." Associated Press, 15 February 2008.

With the Song 'Yes We Can' Barack Obama Gets a Little Help From His Friend... Will.i.am, George Pajon, Jr. Of the Black Eyed Peas Sings 'Yes We Can' About Obama." PR Newswire, 19 February 2008. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5024660562

Major Issues of U.S. Presidential Campaign," Manila Bulletin, 31 December 2007.

David Herszenhorn,

Democrats emphasize huge costs of Iraq war Surge brings security, but at what price?" International Herald Tribune, 28 February 2008.

David Espo,

Clinton, Obama Trade Jabs on Health Care," Associated Press, 28 February 2008.

Earl G. Granes,

Barack Obama for president," Black Enterprise, 1 January 2008.

Montagne, Renee,

New Hampshire Voters Say Clinton Understands," NPR Morning Edition, 9 January 2008.

Liz Sidoti,

McCain's Focus Is on General Election," Associated Press, 15 February 2008.

Jim Kuhnhenn,

Obama keeps upper hand over rival in fundraising," Oakland Tribune, 29 February 2008.

William Lowther,

Emotional Hillary set for visit to last-chance Texas saloon; Tear jerker: Hillary received a standing ovation at the Texas debate," Daily Mail, 23 February 2008.

With the Song 'Yes We Can' Barack Obama Gets a Little Help From His Friend... Will.i.am, George Pajon, Jr. Of the Black Eyed Peas Sings 'Yes We Can' About Obama," PR Newswire, 19 February 2008.

Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity,

Discussion of the Media's Treatment of Sen. Hillary Clinton,"…[continue]

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