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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The HD Election

When I got my “stimulus” check from the federal government, like any good American, I decided to do my patriotic duty and buy something. I am now the proud owner of a 40 inch, 1080p Samsung HD-TV. It’s beautiful.
But there are a couple of funny things about watching television in high definition. First, you can’t really hide anything in HD — the wrinkles, blemishes, age spots, and scars all seem too vivid. Second, you start paying attention to those imperfections whenever you watch video — whether its on HD or not.
That’s especially true if you’re John McCain. This technology is just so unkind to him.
This being the Internet, I’m not the first person to make this observation.
But seeing McCain tonight offset by Barack Obama was almost painfully jarring. From the content to the venues to the sheer physical presence of each man, the two speeches could not have been more different. And I was watching MSNBC’s standard feed. When these two men debate in the fall, on the HD channels of each network, the visual contrast will positively pop off the screen.
There’s no way to deny that McCain wears a lifetime of hardships on his face, and I don’t write this to make light of his well-documented and often-heroic times of suffering. The man is former prisoner of war and a cancer survivor — he’s earned his scars and wrinkles. But the image that they create is a hurdle his campaign must now overcome.
I’d love to see some consumer data outlining the penetration of high def televisions among likely voters. Maybe the campaigns have those numbers, and that is why the Republicans aren’t scared. The prices of these televisions, however, keep coming down, and people keep buying them.
That fact makes it awfully hard for me to picture eight years of a McCain presidency, with everyone watching him age before our eyes in 30,000:1 contrast ratios.

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