August 26, 2004

Playing the Game

As the GOP heads into its nominating convention, two new features on the president’s campaign web site (www.georgewbush.com ) warrant attention. The first is an exemplar of “netoric,” a persuasive message geared to the properties of the internet as a medium. The second is a software application which could literally provide the winning margin in the election.

“John Kerry’s Flip-Flop Olympics” blends flash animation with an interactive game to reinforce one of the president’s main messages in a fresh and funny way. To win a gold medal, game players must remember in correct order the positions Kerry has taken on a handful of issues, from his ownership of an SUV to the war in Iraq. Cartoon figures pop up to insinuate that Kerry changes positions based on political expediency.

The “Vote Early” page seeks to capitalize on the national trend toward casting ballots before Election Day. John Harwood of the Wall Street Journal reported on August 18 that the early ballot proportion could rise from 15-20% in 2000 to 33% this year. Even as the Bush-Cheney campaign makes it simple for site visitors to request a ballot, it acquires contact information which it can then use to ensure that the ballots are cast.