Friday, July 18, 2008

Does This E-Mail Make Me Look Blonde?

There's an interesting e-mail circulating among Republican sympathizers about the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain that makes a number of surprising rhetorical appeals, given the audience of conservative voters to whom it is addressed. Although clearly sympathetic to Cindy McCain, the e-mail emphasizes the fact that she is a businesswoman rather than a homemaker and includes the fact that she struggled with an addiction to pain killers at one point.

According to, much of the information in the e-mail, which is stuffed with a number of pictures of the potential First Lady, comes from a Wall Street Journal article from April 17th. Unlike the Wikipedia article devoted to Cindy McCain, the prose style of this e-mail emphasizes colloquial speech and informal or even awkward grammatical constructions. References to "her Dad" rather than "her father" and "Southern Cal" rather than "USC" reinforce the impression of vernacular style.

One version of the e-mail seems to be circulating without any editorializing, but another version ends with the following opinion put forward.

I'm surprised the media is so quiet about her attributes. She sounds more capable than Hillary or Obama. We would really get two for the price of one. A person with business and international experience. John did work for the firm for awhile when he left the Navy. She, however, has the real business experience. Very interesting.

It also opens with a common media paranoia style of introduction among political e-mails:

Bet you would have never guessed this one! No matter your
politics. The media will never tell of this, so pass it on.

GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!

Given that the writer cites "an article in the Wall Street Journal," this seems like a particularly strange assertion with which to begin.

McCain supporters are well-aware that the last decorated Vietnam veteran with an heiress wife was damaged by unfavorable impressions of his wealthy spouse. Teresa Heinz Kerry was the political liability in 2004. By combining mentions of the two-for-the-price-of-one pitches of Bill Clinton and allusions to Betty Ford with whom the nation sympathized, supporters may hope that a repeat of 2004 can be avoided. The polished prose about Cindy McCain on the official campaign website is very different in style and substance, but Republican strategists must be happy to see this crudely written message disseminated so widely, even if they had no hand in spreading it.

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