Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bad Optics!

Classic Poster from Les Miserables

Have you ever used the terminology, “bad optics?” It is meant to describe well-meaning people inadvertently delivering a bad visual message. The context is normally that of political insiders referencing a political indiscretion.

An example from early last month (August, 2010) was First Lady Michelle Obama taking her coterie on a lavish vacation in Spain. Because the United States is currently dealing with major unemployment problems, it brought to mind images of Marie Antoinette. Another recent example was Senator John Kerry attempting to avoid Massachusetts taxes by docking his yacht at a slip in Rhode Island.

Senator Kerry is in the news again. This time it’s about being named the richest man in the United States Senate.

And here’s something that might also be newsworthy: Senator Kerry has just written an appeal for donations on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). His 8/31/2010 e-mail, titled “Smear”, tells us about Karl Rove’s involvement in a “shadowy new smear factory:”
Rove and a group of secret donors are building a $50 million war chest to finance what they call - get this! - "hard-hitting issue advocacy." That sounds like a fancy way of saying they'll be doing to good people like Russ Feingold and Barbara Boxer what they did to me in 2004: lie, smear, distort, and deceive. Remember those ads? I sure do - and now it's my friends who are in the crosshairs.
Senator Kerry casts Mr. Rove as a person we must fear, letting us know that “the stakes could not be higher.” He asks that we “stand together and fight back” by sending at least $5 to the DSCC.

This is certainly a different approach than what might be called the “classic appeal” described by the novelist Charles Dickens. His “street urchin” character, Oliver Twist, would beg for food in London. That appeal worked because Oliver clearly could use some help.

Senator Kerry, the richest man in Congress, is asking us to send him $5. For some reason, it doesn’t have quite the same “zing.”

It works in our anti-Republican culture, but somehow doesn't it seem grating?

UPDATE 9/5/2010:
Linked by Left Coast Rebel!  Tim is looking for any inside scoop on the California Senate race.  If you have something, please let him know.

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