August 31, 2012 Leave a comment
I’m not sure what to think about this video. It seems wrong in a bunch of dimensions to the extent that maybe they all cancel each other and (once filtered through the electorate) net-out to something right. I dunno. I was done trying to second-guess the American electorate long ago.
Here are just some of the problems I see with propaganda that pushes in this direction.
First, there is a sort of implied notion that young people voted for Obama in 2008 with a view towards job prospects and such. This accords with absolutely nothing in my memory of that time. A 19-year-old who voted for Obama in 2008 was not thinking of jobs, she was thinking that Obama was a hip slim black guy and the (R)s are old geezers who screwed things up and did wrong wars on places. She was thinking that Obama Cared About The Environment, Poor People, and other mascots. She was also thinking about a bunch of stuff she made up about Obama in her head. Literally nothing that has happened since then refutes this logic. Certainly, the fact that recent grads struggle with high unemployment does not refute this. An argument that goes like ‘Obama promised he’d get you all awesome jobs, and that’s why you voted for him, but look, he hasn’t!’ sounds pretty compelling, until you realize (a) No he never did promise anything of the sort and (b) That’s not why you voted for him anyway. (To remind: black; hip; leftist.)
Second, there is an overarching argument being made that a U.S. President’s job is to Make There Be Jobs. I am naturally uneasy with this concept. Whether and to what extent there are Jobs in the economy is a product of larger forces than any one guy. Granted, all Presidential elections are inevitably about this, whether that’s right or fair or not. It is also probably true that Presidential policies, whatever they are or aren’t, have some measurable effect on the economy, and therefore, ‘jobs’. But there’s just a nagging problem with running commercials telling voters ‘you’ve gotten a raw deal because you voted for XYZ for President and he didn’t Make There Be a job for you’ unless you yourself have an ironclad plan to Make There Be A Job for the same person you’re telling this to. Much as I prefer Romney to Obama, or rather Romney Inc. to Obama Inc., which in particular means I predict Romney would have more sensible economic policies, the idea that something President Romney is going to do will Make There Be Jobs for whatever target audience he’s trying to pitch this to is laughable.
However, here’s where it gets tricky: maybe that target audience will become convinced that he will. Indeed, for all I know maybe they will become convinced by this video. Who’s to say? The video does seem ‘well produced’, well-made propaganda. Who am I to say it won’t work then? This becomes an exercise in second-guessing a group of people I believe to be (by and large) shallow and dumb in their voting choices, however, so it sort of makes my head hurt. You see the problem.