Analysis of John McCain's web site
This blog entry is part of a Fall 2008 blogging exchange between American University in Cairo and Stanford University's Online Activism class. To read all the entries, follow this thread; be sure read the earliest entries first.
My name is Katie Gera and I’m writing this post as part of a class titled “The Web 2.0: The Rhetoric of Online Activism.” The subject of this blog post will be the way Republican presidential candidate John McCain attempts to establish his credibility on his official website.
The strategies that struck me the most were the “Joe the Plumber” advertisements and the photographs taken with military wives and families on the campaign trail. Using these visuals, McCain seems to be attempting to create two distinct images of himself: the “average Joe,” or ordinary citizen to whom Americans relate on the one hand, and the Navy war hero whom they can admire on the other. Throughout the website, there are numerous references to McCain’s career in the military, many of which focus on his time spent as a POW. These reinforcements of the candidate as a heroic and respectable military man create a sharp contrast against the McCain/Palin campaign’s most recent surge of “Joe Six-Pack” and “Joe the Plumber” themed advertisements. While I understand the need to represent a presidential candidate as a multifaceted individual, I think the newly adopted tactic of “average Joe” commercials indicates that the McCain campaign has become increasingly aware of their failure to perform well in the polls and is now trying desperately to frame John McCain in a new and positive light. In my view, seesawing with his image in this manner has actually decreased both the candidate’s and the campaign’s credibility.