More Evidence McCain is out of Touch Elitist.

>> Friday, August 22, 2008

I am not a technology guru but I consider myself proficient in dealing with my computer. Technology more than almost anything demonstrates how current people are. Young people are typically the first adopters of new tech, though not always. For many people having the newest technology is a status statement. In this race Barack Obama has been the candidate who takes the most advantage of technology and the candidate who appears most comfortable. The GOP does not look ready to cede the tech field to Obama entirely and they are trying to appear more tech shrewdness by taking email suggestions for their party platform. Their sad attempt just goes to highlight how out of touch and far back they are on matters of technology. The most out of touch among them might be their second highest profile member and Presidential nominee, John McCain.

NYT has published an article on the GOP efforts to portray themselves as the leaders in the use of technology and the internet to create interactivity. I feel sometimes now like I read the portrayals of the GOP in articles in a more favorable light than they might have been intended. For instance, I read the opening paragraph-

The conventional wisdom prevailing since the start of the 2008 campaign has always maintained that technological astuteness is the specialty of Senator Barack Obama and his followers. Rightly or wrongly, Senator John McCain has been burdened with the image of someone whose campaign is hopelessly behind the times, who can’t navigate the Internet unless his wife or aides are there to guide him.

I think that it is definitely a correct portrayal of McCain. McCain has made repeated statements that belay his lack of tech knowledge and skill. McCain used the nonsensical phrase "a Google" to describe the most famous internet search engine in the world. McCain had the lack of awareness to say during an interview with the New York Times that even though his aides "go on for [him]" right now, "[he's] learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon. McCain has also said that he is "an illiterate [who] has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance I can get." Of course this may all be wrong, because McCain may not speak for McCain. Now here comes the GOP claiming they are now the party of the people and the web.

Just don’t try telling that to the Republican Platform Committee and its leaders. In a novel experiment, they have been online for several weeks now, seeking suggestions about what their platform should say. More than 12,000 people have responded, offering proposals, either as written text or in video form, that anyone interested can access.

“This is the first attempt by either party to solicit people’s input into the platform so broadly and transparently,” said Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, co-chairman of the platform committee. His co-chairman, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California added: “People might think that if you look at this, the Democrats are much further along” on the technological side, “but if they look at our platform, we’re so much further along, and more open too, in using today’s technology to get greater input.”

The first thing to note is that the platform is essentially worthless. The parties celebrate the platform every four years, but it has no impact on any legislation or anything of consequence. So the GOP can claim it is inclusive and reaching out to the people all it wants but until they make the platform their litmus test for everything, three monkeys in a shed could write it and it would never matter. Shockingly the input of the public might not mean all that much.

What the 112 members of the platform committee will do with those ideas once they begin meeting in St. Paul next week is another matter. In separate interviews, both of the chairmen said not to expect significant changes from the positions Republicans have taken in the past on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

“I don’t think the delegates will change significantly, or at all, the language on social issues that has been worked out over years,” Mr. Burr said. “But we do want a platform that looks forward and not backwards, and that means an opportunity to state more clearly than ever what we stand for, what are our principles.”

It is clear that nothing will really change and that the input of these people was all for show. Can we really expect the authoritarian GOP to take direction for the little people? Not likely. The GOP platform will be consistent by nature as conservatives are against change. I think is disingenuous thought to ask for input on something that is not going to be changed or matter.

Why is all this important? With the advent of the McCain is rich and out of touch meme the tech issues should make a big return. Not because McCain is old and so cant use the internet but as Andrew Ramano points out-

For one thing, McCain's computer illiteracy doesn't reflect a lack of curiosity--it reflects a lack of necessity. Over the past 10 years, most adult Americans have encountered and explored computers primarily in the workplace, where the ability to communicate and find information on the Internet has gradually become a required skill. But McCain's job in the U.S. Senate--where all communication and information has to be filtered through staffers--has actually made fluency more difficult to achieve (or at least less necessary).

McCain is so elite he does not need the internet or computers or email. That sounds pretty out of touch to me. How many Americans can go through life now without the constant us of the computer? Not many. You have man who cannot remember the number of houses he has and a man who does not need or care about the most important communications revolution since the television.

To say that because McCain has staffers though does not excuse his lack of interest in the internet. He has never been interested in a topic and looked it up online or wanted to find the score of a baseball game somewhere? Does he ask someone else to do it? I think that McCain’s lack of knowledge about the internet show how out of touch he is and it needs to be revived.


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