Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chick Lit

Although The New York Times and The Washington Post ran stories this week about what might seem to be John McCain's too cozy relationship with a female lobbyist, you wouldn't know it from reading the light and frothy fare on McCainBlogette, the web log maintained by McCain's daughter Meghan, which documents her travels with her father on the presidential campaign trail.

On Friday, The Los Angeles Times ran an article about the blog, "Meghan McCain's straight blog express" that praised what it saw as the blonde bomblet's authenticity.

The children of presidential candidates are often deployed on the trail to humanize their parents, but their appearances are usually carefully choreographed and managed. The Romney sons roamed Iowa in an RV talking about their father's business acumen. Chelsea Clinton dazzles audiences with her grasp of issues like the public health infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro, but she doesn't speak to reporters.

Meghan McCain posted a photograph this week showing herself leaping through the air on a "sugar high" in Wisconsin, as her dad talked on the phone in the background. And she makes no apologies for leaving policy discussions to others.

"I don't think it's my role," she said, frowning, when asked if she deliberately steers away from the issues. The blog is independent from the campaign and not vetted by campaign staffers. (McCain said that his daughter never asked his permission for her endeavor but that "it seemed to be fine.")

Her blog is"not about politics," Meghan said. "It's not a medium to get policy or to sell my candidate's issue," she said.

Looking at the blog, I'm not sure it as unchoreographed as the LA Times makes it sound.
Those on the Blogette Team include a photographer and producer. (Since I'm nosy, I'm still trying to figure out if the photographer is this Heather Brand or this one or both.)

As someone interested in candidate McCain's positions on digital rights, it's worth noting that daughter Meghan presents herself as an active archiver and remixer of audio and video content. Her latest video claims that it contains no music, "so you can add your own while you watch." Cynic that I am, I couldn't help but wonder if Meghan had gotten rights to all the music that can be heard on her channel, Although her playlist goes straight to the corporate website for iTunes, she still flaunts what she presents as an "indie" sensibility.

Also, I have been getting my fair share of comparisons to John Cusack's character in "High Fidleity" with my obsession with creating playlists (or in his case mixed tapes) and to that I say: I am unworthy, I will never be as cool as John Cusack. :-)

According to the Times, some of her posts have "generated vicious Web commentary on celebrity or political gossip sites." Although the Times singles out "Meghan McCain is no Chelsea Clinton" in Salon as an online attack, the piece did acknowledge that "to blog as a woman" has inherent challenges, which McCain might be playing into by emphasizing her identity as "a blonde woman in politics who boasts about her own fashion sense."

Now that Romney's children have disbanded their Five Brothers Blog, the number of blogs being written by the candidates' offspring has further diminished with the shrinking of the field of presidential hopefuls.

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