Monday, November 03, 2008

Team McCain for the Undecided: A Chart!

People in communications love a good chart. Spare the thinking, just tell your boss what they need (want) to see in a chart that shows deadlines, or, in a competitive mash-up, how your brand trounces the competition.

Knowing the pain of producing charts to explain why communications programs do and don't work, I honestly feel for the the poor folks on Team McCain. Right now these guys are probably scrambling to explain to their boss why the words maverick, terrorist and hockey mom - words that were surely the product of painful brainstorming sessions where tons of options for "how can we kill Obama with one word" were scrawled on to dry-erase boards and circled emphatically based on the group's consensus - haven't resonated with voters.

So it's back to the dry-erase boards for these maverick minds and now, under the hum of fluorescent lighting, with the dull crunch of industrial carpet at their feet and minds hopped up on Red Bull and bad coffee, the work of turning a losing campaign around with less than 72 hours begins. In a moment of clarity or desperation - depending on where your loyalties lie - someone jumps from their chair, spilling bad coffee across the table - and says "I got it! Let's put together a chart that shows how much Obama sucks!"

Someone probably rushes to the dry-erase board to write OBAMA SUX, then circle it emphatically, and off an intern goes to come up with the following:



To whoever came up with this ridiculous chart that looks like a seventh grader's homework on "Current Events," all I can say is "girl, I feel you." I've been there - cursing, muttering, pulling my hair out and thinking "I don't know why your product sucks and why people won't buy it but it's midnight on Friday and I'd like to go home!" The result of this panicked thinking is usually something that's as uninformed, desperate and ridiculous as this chart that has been mailed around to those of us who subscribe to Team McCain's e-mail feeds.

And while the person assigned with this masterful work of mediocrity (which could have been redeemed had they inserted a column marked Terrorist, under which it would say McCain - NO, Obama - Not Sure) shuffled over to their desk to figure out how to use PowerPoint, I can imagine the team de-brief taking place under the aforementioned fluorescent lights:

"OK, who's feeding media the story about Obama's illegal alient aunt? Let's kill the Bill Ayers push - do we know whose side GayConservativeLiberal is finally on?"

It sucks to be on a sinking ship. Fortunately for McCain's staffers, the bow is about to break.