the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

How Bloggers Can Help Obama Win

A few nights ago in Denver, Hilary Clinton put aside her own ambitions for the sake of the party, and the country — and made a great speech supporting Obama’s nomination (I mean, what else is she going to do? But she did a good job.)

I’m a supporter of Obama. I was impressed with his speech. With the polls showing a close race, and a large percentage of independents undecided, I think politically-minded Democrats should take after Hilary, and think of the future election rather then themselves.

Here are some blogging tips to help Obama win —

1) While the Republicans are stereotyped as selfish businessmen only caring about links and ad revenues (oops, sorry, that’s bloggers themselves — I meant money and power), Democrats like to promote themselves as caring for the regular folk. Unfortunately, very few people believe this. Half of what I read from those in Denver, writing on Twitter, was about sightings of Ben Afleck, Sheryl Crow, network anchorpeople and wealthy tech executives at invitation only parties. Is this Blogher all over again with everyone Twittering about seeing Dooce in the elevator? Rule #1 — Avoid making being a Democrat like being a blogger listed on Alltop. This makes the regular Joe think Democrats are elitists who like to talk about the regular folk (Joe Biden takes Amtrak!), but in reality, only know regular folk as the cashiers at Whole Foods.

2) Much of the discussion online about Obama is the converted preaching to the converted. We know that you love Obama. We are not going to put you on “Don’t read this blog anymore because she is a Republican” list. WHY do you love him so much — besides the fact that you are a Democrat? How can you persuade you Independent friends to vote your way? Maybe you can help me persuade Sophia to vote for Obama. She is a registered Republican, but not crazy about McCain.

3) Avoid McCain jokes. “McCain is old” jokes (we all get old). “McCain is wealthy” jokes (and Democrats aren’t?). McCain is like “Hitler” jokes (I saw that on Twitter!) What’s the point? These joke are about amusing your fellow Democratic friends rather than changing history. These insider gags turn off independents, many who respect McCain.

4) “Vote for the Democrats because Bush sucked” is not enough to convince anyone to vote for Obama.

5) Towing the party line as a blogger is only important if you care more about your blogging career with the Huffington Post or some future job with some liberal magazine than ACTUALLY winning the election. Independents are smart. They know that Obama is somewhat inexperienced. You know he is somewhat inexperienced. So why bullshit? No one respects that, and it doesn’t win any Independents. Obama is a great speaker. He mentioned Martin Luther King. Big deal! You know what — I’m a pretty good speaker. When I was the valedictorian in my elementary school, I also mentioned Martin Luther King in my impassioned graduation address in front of the school assembly. Does that make me worthy of being President of the United States? Obama’s color is historic, but it is not enough. Independents will actually vote AGAINST him if the race issue is touted too much, not out of racism, but because most Independents are Independents because they are strong individualists who dislike labels such as Democrat, Republican, Black, and White. They want to know that Obama is a leader, not a symbol.

By the way, I liked Obama’s tie.

Update: Clearly the Republicans are trying to use some symbolism of their own — the choice of Sarah Palin as the VP.


  1. Pamela Detlor

    I’m still in denial about Hilary being out of the running. I suppose saying, “vote for Obama because my # 1 choice is out and the alternative is BUSH LIGHT,” sorta goes against your guide lines? Alas – I’m Canada and have no say. SO please AMERICA: get out there and vote. Give the new kid a chance – though not my first choice – what he’s saying makes more sense than more of the same spending and killing!

  2. SciFi Dad

    I can’t vote for Obama, but I would if I were in the U.S.

    However, sadly, my reasons are more about who he is NOT than who he IS. I fear another four to eight with someone like McCain at the helm, and that is primarily why I prefer Obama, not because I think he’ll be a revolutionary leader. In truth, as you mentioned, he is inexperienced, especially with foreign policy, and with the situation in Iraq, the unstable price of oil, and the U.S. dollar’s recent erratic valuation, I wonder just how well he’ll do.

  3. Marinka

    I liked his tie too! I’m voting for Obama because McCain is out of his mind. And because the McCain that I respected in 2004, would never vote for McCain in 2008.

  4. Mrs Mogul

    The Hitler thing was because of Madonna’s concert footage. Like Pamela I am still in denial he didn’t pick Hillary but she said she is running in 4 years so maybe that was why. Anyway, Yes vote for Obama! We need to go back to a democracy and I take no vote for granted! People thought Kerry would win and look at the schmuck Bush that came back in!

  5. LVGurl

    I love this post! I love this line: ” “Vote for the Democrats because Bush sucked” is not enough to convince anyone to vote for Obama. ”

    In fact, you saved from being a bitch on Twitter. Just as I saw your link, I was *theeeeees close* to writing, “I didn’t know it was possible, but DNC twitters ARE more annoying than BlogHer twitters.”

  6. Rhea

    I loved his speech. If Obama gets elected, I think race relations could change for the first time in this country. It’s about time! And even if he IS inexperienced, so what? Could it be any worse than the Republican crap we’ve lived through?

  7. piglet

    i love it when you ruffle feathers, talk about controversial issues and do not go with the herd. it brings out the james dean in you (sans cigarettes).

    oh yeah, you make some very excellent points and i do hope your readers will look beyond this and question their own authenticity as human beings, as well as standing their ground even when it’s not “popular”.

    i assume you bring these things out on some levels b/c you, like the rest of us struggle with staying true to ourselves and being liked all at the same time?

    (does this mean if i ever put ads on my blog you will dismiss me? that would suck if you did, but i’d respect your “stand” either way b/c people have a right to stand.)

  8. Velma

    It’s nice to read a well-reasoned post like this after all the *SQUEE!!!* OMG!* discussions and tweets I read last night.

    I’m a very liberal voter, but it hurts the Democratic cause when people focus on the adulation of the person rather than the larger vision of what we want for the future.

  9. justrun

    I agree that the “Bush sucks” premise is weak. Way weak.

    And yes, Obama does lack experience. Which he also acknowledged.

  10. Neil

    Rhea — While I agree with you, it is too much pressure on him to become the savior of race relations, which are mostly related to economic issues nowadays. And if you vote someone in just because the person is black or a woman — and the person does a crappy job as President — then what? How does that help race relations? It is always better to treat a person as an individual rather than a symbol, cause the symbolism is not going to last once he starts raising everyone’s taxes or fails to solve poverty.

    Justrun — That was the best part of the speech — where he acknowledged his inexperience. That is part of his appeal. I would tell an independent voter that he seems like a really intelligent, charismatic man — and an honest one — who can help create a feeling of change in the country. Bush is leaving him with a lot of problems, so it is unclear how he is going to unravel things. Hopefully, he will surround himself by good people. As a black man, he can speak to people of color and help them feel empowered as Americans. Europeans will like us again. BUT — the only way for him to really become a progressive president is to tax everyone a lot more — especially those making over a certain amount. Are you willing to sacrifice some of your hard-earned money for social programs? There are also growing problems in the Middle East, Russia, and China. Those guys respect power. It’s no surprise that it is Presidents like Nixon and Reagan who seem to get things done. With Obama’s attention on the domestic, who is going to be watching Russia as they become more aggressive. Are we going to turn our eyes away from Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb? Is Mccain better equipped for these international crises? That is unclear right now…

  11. Finn

    I don’t know why you thought anyone would be mad at you; this is spot on.

    My favorite part of Obama’s speech last night was when he talked about personal responsiblity. Amen!

  12. sassy

    I’m Independant, and honestly, the remarks I see on Twitter, made by democrats/for Democrats appear, to one who is on the outside looking in, quite short-sighted. It’s frustrating.

    I have the impression that if I say what I think I’m going to be verbally lynched. Can we truly call ourselves tolerant if we cannot accept it when someone disagrees ?

    I appreciate your depth Neil.

  13. Jozet at Halushki


    I love this post!

    As I told someone else, I’m a bit of an ole skeptic at heart. And frankly, I’m more of a Casey Affleck fan.

    Up until four months ago, I was a registered Democrat. Now I’m an Independent. And my vote still hasn’t been cast.

  14. sizzle

    Last night as I watched Obama speak, I realized why so many people were so upset when JFK died. I believe in him that much. Not because he is a good speaker (he is) or charismatic (he is) but because he stands for the things that matter to me. I have hope. Finally.

  15. Jane Devin

    Great post, Neil. I just blogged some of my mixed feelings on Danny’s, but I’ve got enough of them to spread around. Like Pam, I was an ardent HRC proponent. I’m crushed that she’s out, but more than that, I just can’t get excited about Obama. Rather than voting FOR someone or something, this election is about voting AGAINST someone and something else, so it no longer has the hopeful, happy feeling it once did. By and large, I’ve found the Obama supporters to be rabid on places like HuffPo — to the point of maniacal hatred for HRC supporters. That really burst my bubble early on.

  16. Neil

    Sizzle — There is not much evidence that JFK ever really lived up to his promise or that he would be remembered as fondly if he wasn’t assassinated. Like James Dean, he is more of a symbol. I’d rather compare Obama to someone like FDR — who was imperfect but did things.

  17. All Adither

    Number four IS pretty much enough for me. But, whatever. I’m simplistic. I’ve always liked Obama and he’s totally getting my vote.

  18. Neil

    Danny, as usual, has some good posts about the convention.

    But, just by coincidence, his first sentence is… “I’m sitting in Whole Foods watching the convention…”

    ha ha my regular folk/Whole Foods line!

  19. better safe than sorry

    similar to so you think you can dance, i can’t vote in your election either. my husband loves following your political system, he has watched every minute of it and then reads what our paper here has to be about it. sadly, i didn’t even pay attention to his tie, but i have noticed what his wife has been wearing.

  20. Dagny

    My favorite part of the speech was when he acknowledged that we don’t have to agree on everything but that we need to recognize our common goals. I think that’s how you reach out to those who may be on the fence. I see it as a chance for everyone to be heard. Isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be?

  21. Chris

    I read Danny Miller’s post yesterday – first thing I thought of with your Whole Foods cashier reference.

    I’m an Independent (ducking, protecting head) – this is an excellent post.

  22. peachy

    in my opinion the McCain ticket just got worse with Palin’s inclusion. i would be ashamed of any Hillary supporter voting for the McCain ticket now, considering Palin is VERY anti-choice and does not stand for what HIllary did.

  23. anymommy

    I loved this post. So well said. The frothing at the mouth on both sides drives me insane. I’m independent and undecided and the “Bush sucks, vote Democrat” argument turns me off like no other.

    I deflated a little on your last sentence though. (Just a little). Why would all us smart, savvy Indies be attracted to Palin as a symbol any more than Obama? It’s an incredible, historic, momentous thing for our amazing and, yes I’m going to say it, fairly progressive country, that we have reached a turning point in history where both a woman and a minority candidate are on the presidential tickets without much fuss really. Hurray. Now, let’s talk about what they all stand for.

  24. John

    Well said Sir.

  25. melanie

    personally I don’t see him NOT winning. And that Republican play of a woman vice president is so
    “jumping the shark”. is that the new phrase?

    Black president first. Then a woman. 😉

  26. Margot

    I think Obama’s HOT. I’m totally voting for him, not the ugly guy.

    Kidding 😛
    Yup, I have had many similar thoughts. I actually feared the day we played the race or gender game because it CAN become all about symbols and with the right packaging all of the truly important stuff is overshadowed. (Can we please focus on same gender marriage so no one has to think about that silly “conflict”?) On the positive side we seem to be cramming it all into one election, so hopefully we’ll get past the point where we have to talk about race or gender. (Remember when having an African-American quarterback or a female commentator on the sidelines was a big deal?) There’s no way I would vote for McCain, but I’ll tell you why I *want* to vote for Obama. He gives me hope. Something I rarely feel where politics is concerned. And I don’t mean that I hope he will do what he promises if elected. I mean I have hope that he truly is intelligent; that he really does care; that he can inspire at least a large part of this nation. Not trusting your president, whether it’s from fear of his ignorance or his deceitfulness, really sucks.

  27. V-Grrrl

    I am just disappointed that neither candidate has good hair. Then again, you can’t trust guys with good hair. Look how John Edwards let us all down.

  28. Memarie Lane

    I’d like to support Bartles and James. Or maybe Ben and Jerry. Maybe I’ll write them in.

  29. Caron

    I remember the night a couple of years ago when I got home from work and was listening to NPR while making supper. I came into the middle of a speech by a man who had concrete ideas about how to change the health care system, a plan to fully fund special and early childhood education, ways to create a new green economy. I sat down and listened intently to this voice that I didn’t recognize, thinking that this is the talk of a leader.

    He said right out that there is lots of hard work to be done. Many of the things necessary to get put the country back on track will require difficult decisions and uncomfortable changes. And, that it will take all of us working together to make it happen.
    While I always admired Hillary and her achievements, she never made me feel as inspired, and hopeful as Obama did from the very first night I heard him on the radio.

    She does have experience, but, it’s experience in the same system that is currently failing us. The change we need is so big, it must be led by someone fresh and energetic.
    I can’t imagine the missteps Obama would have to take to do any more damage that GW has.
    Besides, a great part of being a good leader is surrounding yourself with an excellent support staff. So far, Obama has done well with that.

  30. Bec

    The McCain/Hitler thing is all bloody Madonna’s fault. I think not having supporters like her will help Obama more than anything!

  31. Over 50 Southern Gal

    I kinda hate to make this comment on a post of such important subject matter (though my comment matters more than judging Michelle Obama’s dress), but I am fed up with seeing people on the web use the phrase “towing the line” and once as articulate a person as Neil does it, I have GOT to say something — it’s “toeing the line”! Just think about the way you used the phrase, Neil, and you will know I am right without having to look it up somewhere. By the way, I am an “Over 55 Southern White Gal” and I am sooooo FOR Obama.

  32. rawdawgbuffalo

    yep, sarah got a gun
    hope you dont my me stopping by, have a safe and blessed weekend

  33. Jeannette

    I’m sorry, should I be Twittering?

  34. Whit

    I’m not a Democrat, but I’ve been voting that line lately. The Republicans just move further and further away from what America was supposed to be. I don’t want their vision for my children.

  35. Jack

    I see so little intelligent discourse on the election. It is really discouraging. There is little to no discussion of issues.

    Just the same tired lines. Obama has no experience and McCain is the same as Bush.

    If that is the best people have, well they might as well say nothing.

  36. angellee

    6. Get other bloggers to stop calling non-Obamaniacs racist.

    7. Stop comparing Obama to FDR, JFK, et al.

    All I could think while watching that speech was “Why is yelling at me like Mussolini?”

    Sarah Palin may have just forced me to vote Obama. Pro-life? More like anti-women’s rights.

  37. Mrs. G.

    Quit talking about SP’s legs, hair, breasts, kids, pregnancy rumors. You’re right-stay focused. There are plenty of substantial issues to last us until November.

    What is alltop? And do you have to have a cell phone to twitter?

  38. Dagny

    Angelee … FYI. In my family the only folks who are being called racist are the women who were formerly Hillary supporters who have now switched to McCain. Because my family feels that as people of color, the switch must be mainly based upon ethnicity and not the candidate’s stand on various issues. As Jack rightly pointed out, the discussion should be about the issues. Of course, I am sure that there are bloggers out there who are saying that all McCain supporters are racist. I know that they are not because one of them is my aunt.

    I have always voted Democrat but in the past I have respected McCain. Not anymore. If he had been the Republican candidate in the last election, I may have been tempted to switch parties when voting. But not now. He is no longer the “maverick” that he was four years ago. He has given into the party and is now “McCain Light.” The old McCain would have given Obama a hell of fight. The current one? Not so much.

  39. Christine

    I’m independant (you know that, Neil), and those tweets were making me CrAzY (you know that, too!)…

    I have to disagree w/ you, Neil, on numbre four. “No more four more years!” is a refrain coming from the Obama camp…as far as I can tell, they are pretty much hanging their hat on that. I AGREE with you that it SHOULDN’T convince anyone, but sadly, it does…

    Also, I’d suggest that both sides stop taking quotes out of context and using them disingenuously (is that a word?)…how many times have you heard Dem leaders refer to something along the lines of, “McCain thinks a family making 5 million is middle class! He’s out of touch!”

    Ummmm…that 5 million figure was from the Saddleback race, where McCain & Obama were asked, “What is rich?” Obama said that 250K is rich (although that isn’t the case here in NorCal). McCain *joked* at first and said, “What’s rich? Well, 5 million!” The he went on to say, “That’ll probably come back to haunt me.” Sure enough, it’s been morphed into he is so out of touch w/ the economy he thinks 5 million is middle class.

    My point is that politics has devolved into dishonest sound bites.

  40. Christine

    Okay, wait…I need to retract my disagreement!

    I got all hot and bothered and forgot that you were talking about undecideds. You’re right…people who are thinking critically about the issues won’t be persuaded by that refrain.

    If the Dems followed all of your suggestions, this Independant likely would lean left rather than right for this election.

  41. McKenzie

    Thank you for writing what I’ve been thinking since all the election coverage began. I am an independant voter waiting for the debates…before I make a solid decision.

  42. Rose

    I think Obama is great! Not just because he’s a good speaker and all the petty stuff. I like him because he actually talks about things that effect me, things I believe in.McCain doesn’t speak to me. I understand he is a POW, but what I see in him is a man who’s been in the government for so long, and hasn’t done much. I dont see “change” from him. I think he’s an older guy who’s stuck in his ways. As far as Palin goes, I cant relate to her either. I am a woman, but I believe women have choices. I am a mother, and I think mothers should play a more active roll in family life.I work too, just like any other woman, but I cant see having such a demanding job with such a large family.I just think family should come first.
    I think the Republicans are more concerned with keeping the top of the food chain happy. I have to agree with Obama.You should start from the bottom and work your way up.Everything needs a good foundation.People of America work hard to make this the greatest nation, and they deserve health care, a descent job,an education, and a stable economy.That is why I’m voting OBAMA/BIDEN

  43. Trina

    Vote for Obama because your human and you care about others. I think Obama is sensitive to lower and middle class issues and diversity. Our country and this world deserves to be a more fair, just and peaceful place.

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