Campaigns/Elections

Is McCain Still in the Game? Does He Need a Hail Mary? Marshall McLuhan Has Answers, Dammit! (Though To Questions Far More Interesting Than Those Ones)

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Pollster Scott Rasmussen says that Sen. John McCain needs a Hail Mary play to win the election:

"John McCain probably needs an outside event to win the White House," pollster Scott Rasmussen told the Herald. "He's a little bit like a football team in the fourth quarter, down by a couple of touchdowns. You can't make it all up in one play. And you still need a break or two."

More here.

Pollster John Zogby says the election "can still break either way":

"I don't think Obama has closed the deal yet," pollster John Zogby told the Herald yesterday.

Zogby's latest poll, released yesterday in conjunction with C-Span and Reuters, shows Obama and John McCain in a statistical dead heat, with the Illinois Democrat up 48-45 percent.

More here.

This much seems certain: Whoever wins, "Free Minds and Free Markets" lose, as is clear from our for-you-viewing-pleasure 63-second condensation of Tuesday's debate:

And speaking of Tuesday's debate, here's a YouTube clip of media theorist Marshall McLuhan appearing on the Today show in 1976 to comment on the debates between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Hosting the Today show? One Tom Brokaw, who seemed every bit as perplexed by complex thought and the English language as he does today (Edwin Newman, NBC's resident egghead, is also there). It's a really interesting clip, I think, especially because it shows how little has changed in the staging of political spectacle.

In many ways, McLuhan's criticisms of the debate format are more relevant now than ever given that we live in a radically deconstructed media environment. Phoney-baloney pseudo-events such as the presidential debates are even more self-evidently agitprop for, well, phoney-baloney pseudo-events. (Note: The technical difficulties that Brokaw, Newman, and McLuhan refer to resulted in a 27-minute delay during which moderater Harry Reasoner "vamped" while the candidates stood like wooden puppets at their podiums.)