Tuesday, January 30, 2007

To be George Allen-ed

I read a story by Carrie Budoff at The Politico titled: New Fear: Being 'George Allen-ed'. Ms. Budoff goes into a bit of detail about new efforts by politicians to keep complete control of the message in the age of You Tube and the blogosphere.
In Republican campaign strategy sessions and conference calls, candidates and consultants are invoking Allen's name as a verb -- to be "George Allen-ed" -- and devising tactics to avoid a fate similar to that of the former Virginia senator, taken down by a shaky, 51-second video that volleyed around the country via YouTube.

"You have to assume there is a recording device of some kind on you at all times -- that is what I am telling all of my people," said Sen. John Ensign, Nev., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which will work with 21 incumbents up for re-election next year.
It may be the case that modern times require modern techniques in order to be successful in politics. But to give the Allen experience special significance in this regard is totally off base in my opinion.

I'm not casting aspersions on the story by Ms. Budoff mind you. She did not coin this term. It is the Republicans in fear for their careers going forward, who decided to call a politician being shown in less than flattering terms all around the internet as being George Allen-ed. Ms. Budoff is merely writing about the term, she didn't create it.

But what happened to Allen is hardly indicative of someone being caught unaware and then having a foible captured on video and posted on You Tube. Allen pointed to someone holding a video camera and did a very stupid thing. If anything, being George Allen-ed ought to mean knowing full well that you are being taped, and acting like a fool anyway. If politicians need lessons in how to avoid doing something so idiotic, that does not bode well for their ability to stay out of these situations going forward as it is.

The same goes for the Conrad Burns incident discussed in the story. Then Senator Burns was caught on camera dozing off during a hearing. Was this hearing somehow off limits to cameras and Burns got burned by someone sneaking in an illicit recording device to capture Burns in a moment of weakness? Nope. The cameras were there in front of God and everybody, and all activities taking place at the hearing were available for the entire world to see. If Burns didn't want to be perceived as a dottering old man, he ought to have gotten a full eight hours sleep the night before and had some coffee on hand.

Burns didn't get zinged by the modern age, he got zinged by himself. The same goes for Allen.

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