Emailing a President into the White House

Obviously, if you’re reading this commentary, you’re one of millions who are Internet savvy to some degree. You’re also one of the millions who are exposed to Internet rumors and false emails every day of the week, and you know that in large part, the integrity of this Presidential campaign has been set right here on the Internet.

Both Obama and McCain have fought vicious Internet rumors for months now. We’ve all seen them; we’ve all debated them here at Sarah Palin has been hit with enough force to knock down a lesser person – she’s ignited an absolute feeding frenzy for Internet sharks.

It’s interesting to me that the rumors that gain the most celebrity are those that are circulated by people who don’t have the courage to face the American public with them. Take Ms. Kilkenny, for example – one well placed phone call to the media would have gotten her an international audience. Instead, she chose the anonymity of the Internet to spread what we now know was false rumors about Palin. This is the same tactic that has been used by nameless assailants of Barack Obama on subjects such as his religion and his citizenship. Doctored photos and documents run rampant across cyberspace. The situation has become so serious that both Obama and Palin has been forced to create websites just to debunk the Internet rumors.

There’s an old saying that goes “If you tell a lie three times, you will believe it yourself”. A large Internet sector hiding behind the anonymity of their computer screens are well aware of this, and wield the copy and paste function on their keyboards like a sword to make certain that the lies are repeated far more than the required three. The Internet is solidly divided on the right and left, and venom spews from both sides on blogs, Internet news sites (and I use the term loosely with some of them), and the mountain of mass emails that clog my inbox on a daily basis. The candidates themselves are catering to us – releasing ads that you can only view if you’re among the Internet elite. YouTube users and abusers are filling the bandwidth with videos that are neither factual nor interesting in many cases. We make wild accusations against each other behind the cowardly anonymity of Usernames that we otherwise would never dare to say were we face to face.

The Obama campaign is certainly the most Internet savvy of the two camps, and they proudly tout that fact as the mantra of their success. I’m on both the McCain and Obama email lists, and while I get email from the McCain camp four or five times a week, I receive as many as four or five a DAY from the Obama camp. When Hurricane Gustav was on the move, Obama even offered up his email list to help. Internet savvy they certainly are, mass emailing their sharpest propaganda only to the select elite with Internet access.

Perhaps this is what inspired Obama to release a new ad this week taunting McCain as “out of touch” for not using computers or email. Apparently Obama – and many others – equates computer skills to superiority of intelligence.

Too bad Obama didn’t do his homework before approving that commercial, though. Surely he is not so crass as to belittle a man who doesn’t possess the physical dexterity it takes to master the practicalities of a computer keyboard or blackberry because of injuries sustained during his years of torture. Surely he was unaware of that fact. Or was he? Did he think it was OK to poke fun at a person with physical disabilities, and will this be the next backlash against Obama? I hear – on the Internet – it just might be.

Let’s say – just for the sake of argument – there wasn’t a physical handicap, and McCain just doesn’t “do” computers or email by choice. Does this indicate a lesser intelligence, and how will that insinuation play with Americans who also don’t “do” computers? Believe it or not, millions don’t. There is still a large sector of people in this country who believe in turning on the 6:00 news to get their daily fix of world events, and actually pick up the phone when they want to communicate with another human being. Does Obama realize that in poking fun at McCain’s lack of Internet skills he has just poked fun at a sector of America that he is trying desperately to win votes from?

It’s the saddest commentary of our time that the cable news channels regularly begin their programs with either the harsh exposure of or the gleeful endorsement of the latest Internet rumor. The Internet is driving this election cycle as it never could before, and its quickly spiraling out of control. Careers can now be ended on the Internet, and people’s lives ruined by anonymous robotic demons. One can only imagine what the Internet, as it is today, would have done to John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe in 1960. It could have changed the course of our history forever.

What kind of human beings have we become in this Internet society? Has the anonymity of cyberspace brought out the darker and colder side of us all?

  • Dreadsen


    Some days Obama’s emailing is like 3 or 4 a day. Some days i get none. But if you think theirs is bad please do not sign up on Ralph Naders!

    Also According to snopes Obama is the king of urban legend emails. By a long shot. I highly doubt that it is even steven in that category. Now if you are going to count new world order than mccain might have him by the balls! lol!

    Geeze man this Pow card just comes up for everything. For his amount of houses and not having a kitchen when he was a! This stuff is great!

    Excerpt from the Article

    “Are you blind or partially sighted? Do you only have one arm or can’t you use both of them? Maybe you don’t even have your voice at your disposal, or are you – because of disabilities – tied up like a parcel on your bed? Whatever the problem may be, if you can’t use your brawn, use your brain. There are many dodges and tricks in the world of computers. People with severe disabilities also can communicate via computers. Having a look at the virtual world seems to be possible for everybody.”

    You can have no arms at all and use the computer. This is another Pow card deflection.

    Also McCain said that he was learning to use the computer back in June. The way he and his campaign have used the POW card i don’t think they would have passed up the opportunity to explain this at the time.

  • (Lyn) Lyn Preston

    There is a difference between attacks made by ordinary supporters on internet or an out-and-out distortion/lie about your record or the other candidates sponsored and paid for by your own campaign. McCain with his “kindergarten sex education” and repeated sponsored, paid-for lies about his record, Palin’s and the Democrats would lose hands down in any other western democracy. If he wins, count of the US to be considered a rogue state, not the leader of the free world, as Bush has virtually succeeded in doing already.

  • Babs

    Dreadsen, I don’t deny – nor does anyone – that people with disabilities can learn to use a computer. I don’t think that the “POW CARD” is being played here. The issue of computer use and dexterity came up in 2000, not this year. I watched an interview with Bill Burton yesterday, and when asked directly if they knew this fact before making the ad, it was obvious that it was news to him – it actually left Burton stuttering.

    I’m not sure how using a computer equates to leading a nation and making sound judgments, though. That’s really the point I was making in that part of the commentary. And if only those that can use a computer are “in touch” with Americans, what does that say for the millions of citizens who simply choose not to? My husband is a very successful, self made business man. He doesn’t even know how to turn my computer on, and he doesn’t want to learn. He leaves that to me, or the secretary. And, by the way, he has a right to vote, too. Being computer illiterate doesn’t disqualify him from that right, can you believe that? 😉

  • Great article Babs, and some excellent points about the campaign.

    Imagine if all the extra crap just went away and voters were left to decide based solely on a candidate’s position, wouldn’t that be something.

    You are correct in that some people have no interest in a computer, I know several people who aren’t 72-years-old but are much younger. People equate using a computer with being aware of technology and/or informed on the subject. I would point to McCain’s record of being on the forefront of internet and telecommunications legislation as evidence that he’s well-informed, he simply does not need to send an email personally.

    As an example, I have never had an abortion yet I feel as though I am informed on the subject and know what both sides of the issue consist of.

    I don’t care either way about a candidate in this regard. It would be like judging the campaign based on which candidate spent the most time at Circuit City and which candidate spent the most time at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Irrelevant!

    More importantly, what does candidate A believe versus candidate B? Finally, what kind of experience does candidate A have versus candidate B?

  • Babs

    Good points, Nate, and very true. I think Obama wasted some money on that particular ad because it’s not going to set very well with others who also don’t use a computer – or wore big glasses in the 80’s like we all did, for that matter.

    I got this little thingee in email, and because it’s so computer oriented, I thought I would share it. You may insert any other name you wish in the exercise that makes you feel good. 😉


    1. Open a new file in your computer.
    2. Name it Barack Obama.
    3. Send it to the Recycle Bin.
    4. Empty the Recycle Bin.
    5. Your PC will ask you: ‘Do you really want to get rid of ‘Barack Obama?’
    6. Firmly Click ‘Yes’!
    7. Feel better? – Tomorrow, we’ll do Nancy Pelosi!

  • bdjnk

    Welcome to the Internet. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    On the other hand, the access to information, whether true or false, is nearly limitless, and the speed is phenomenal. If someone can sift through the white noise, they may come out with something worthwhile.

    Even if they find nothing of value, they can always find someone to agree or, more likely, disagree with. Spending countless hours in futile debates with other anonymous time wasters. At least that has a small enjoyment factor.

    Aside from all that however, is the fact that at the end of the day the Internet is just one more propaganda medium that needs to be used and dominated. Just like newspapers, then radio, and then television.

    Internet requires slightly different methods because it is largely unstructured and uncontrolled, but the basic principles remain the same. Get your message (whether that be a policy statement or an attack ad) to as many people as possible. Simple really.

  • Stalin


    Love the recycle bin joke.

    The problem with the blogs is that the MSM will repeat what is said in these forums without regard to whether or not there is any truth at all to what’s being reported. It truly is like the wild west…in cyberspace.

    I am very curious about this report that Obama wants to delay the troop withdrawl for his own political gain. I’ve done some research into this, but not much is being reported by the MSM…of course. This could account to sedition…at least in my opinion.

  • JD

    “McCain just doesn’t “do” computers or email by choice. Does this indicate a lesser intelligence, and how will that insinuation play with Americans who also don’t “do” computers?”

    This does not indicate a man\woman of lesser intelligence but it is a good indicator of a man who may not be with the times. Computers have revolutionized the way work and business is done. Can you imagine a work place without one anymore?

    A business can run better when they are using computers and citizens have been more informed than ever with the wide distribution of high speed internet. Needless to say, our government needs to realize how to better integrate this technology much like our market place has.

    Obama’s campaign is a perfect example of how to take advantage of an underutilized tool (computers/Internet)as he has taken advantage of it more than anyone before his time.

    So is McCain and Idiot…? Yes! but not because he doesn’t know how to use a computer. It is opportunity cost of his computer illiteracy that I don’t like.

    Now Being the VP nominee for the GOP ticket and not knowing what the Bush doctrine is… now that was not smart.

    Again… not knowing computers = opportunity cost. GOP VP nominee not knowing the bush doctrine = Not smart.

  • FoxFan

    Obama’s team has a very sophisticated approach to cyber campaigning. The Washington Times had a story about it today, it can be found on under web/tech.

  • Stalin


    First off, there seems to be some differing opinions on McCain’s tech knowledge,

    “In 2000, cited him for what it described as a web first: “the first-ever cyberfundraiser.” The article also noted that McCain’s war wounds limited him at the keyboard, but described him as an enthusiast who embraced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like founder Jeff Bezos. That same year, Forbes magazine described McCain as the “Senate’s savviest technologist.”

    Secondly, you might want to do a little research before knocking on Palin. There are 4 versions of the Bush doctrine. Do you know what they are? Gibson was referring to version 2 and Palin answered with the most recent, which is version 4…so who’s “not smart”?

  • Babs

    Stalin, I’ve been wondering about that, too. I heard Bill Burton catagorically (sp?) deny it, but they would. But that’s all they’re doing, past saying that they’re not offering a possible misunderstanding or misquote. I think they just want it to go away.

    JD, I don’t understand your language here – “It is opportunity cost of his computer illiteracy that I don’t like.” And again “not knowing computers = opportunity cost”. What does the phrase “opportunity cost” mean? Apparently, you don’t listen to the news or read much on the internet, or you would know there is no definition or even such a thing as the “Bush Doctrine”. Charlie Gibson couldn’t define it (it has 4 meanings that we KNOW of), and when interviewed, Pres. Bush didn’t even know what it was supposed to be. It was a term made up by a jounalist after 9/11.

  • JD

    Babs & Stalin,

    Here is a link to more information on opportunity cost –

    Simply put opportunity cost is the “value of a product forgone to produce or obtain another product.” I.E. time spent on the internet is at the cost of time we could be spending doing actual work…

    To apply what i was talking about. If McCain were to be elected it could be an opportunity cost of higher technology integration into our government which would, in my opinion, help drive down the cost of government. Much like the way it has driven down costs in companies and allowed them to do more in other areas.

    Still, there is no guarantee that this would be the case with McCain as he could appoint Bill gates to be in charge of it… who knows, but right now, since it is an unknown i call it a potential opportunity cost when you compare him to Obama.


    “The main elements of the Bush Doctrine were delineated in a National Security Council document, the National Security Strategy of the United States, published on September 20, 2002. This document is often cited as the definitive statement of the doctrine. It was updated in 2006 and is stated as follows: It is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense.”

    Still, you are right. there might be a few versions of it and infact the bush doctrine is I guess coined by other people and not by bush himself. but this is common with most doctrines.

    Here are some other doctrines that were named after the some people even though they did not at that time coin them after themselves: Monroe Doctrine, the Stimson Doctrine, the Truman Doctrine, the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, the Brezhnev Doctrine, the Kirkpatrick doctrine, the Bush Doctrine.

    The truth is a (foreign) doctrine is really “body of axioms fundamental to the exercise of a nation’s foreign policy. Hence, doctrine, in this sense, has come to suggest a broad consistency that holds true across a spectrum of acts and actions. Doctrines of this sort are almost always presented as the personal creations of one particular political leader, whom they are named after.”

    So did I concede that it might have been a trick question… I will take back my comment that Palin is not smart. I was just shocked that she “blinked” because i thought she was just wired to not blink.

    Still, i would argue that the fundiments of bush’s doctrine is that we will strick before being stuck. Which is new to the US. We had to wait for Pearl Harbor to be bombed before we could invade. With this new theory of foreign policy or doctrine we can invade countried when ever we feel threatened. All of the other versions of the doctrine have there roots in this theory which is why it is widely accepted as the bush doctrine.

  • JD

    I also want to apologize for some of the spelling and grammar errors. I have to write these response in a fairly quick manner when I am at work so there will be some.

  • Dreadsen

    I always just understood it as preemptive strike.
    but at the time he asked Palin I had forgotten.
    I remembered once he started talking about it.

    I wouldn’t call it a trick question though.
    I can go to a mechanics shop and ask the janitor, the secretary and the porter about a radiator for a 78 volkswagon beetle and i bet you none of them will know the answer until i ask one of the mechanics.

  • Babs


    Wikipedia – “Elements of the Bush Doctrine were evident in the first months of Bush’s presidency. Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer used the term in February 2001 to refer to the president’s increased unilateralism in foreign policy, specifically regarding the president’s decision to withdraw from the ABM treaty”

    From Charles Krauthamer on the subject:

    Charlie Gibson’s Gaffe

    » Top 35 Opinion Articles
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    By Charles Krauthammer
    Saturday, September 13, 2008; Page A17

    “At times visibly nervous . . . Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of ‘anticipatory self-defense.’ ”

    — New York Times, Sept. 12

    Informed her? Rubbish.

    The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

    There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration — and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

    He asked Palin, “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?”

    She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, “In what respect, Charlie?”

    Sensing his “gotcha” moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine “is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense.”


    I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, “The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism,” I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

    Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” This “with us or against us” policy regarding terror — first deployed against Pakistan when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave President Musharraf that seven-point ultimatum to end support for the Taliban and support our attack on Afghanistan — became the essence of the Bush doctrine.

    Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.

    It’s not. It’s the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush’s second inaugural address: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

    This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy’s pledge in his inaugural address that the United States “shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson’s 14 points.

    If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume — unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise — that he was speaking about the grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda of the Bush administration.

    Not the Gibson doctrine of preemption.

    Not the “with us or against us” no-neutrality-is-permitted policy of the immediate post-9/11 days.

    Not the unilateralism that characterized the pre-9/11 first year of the Bush administration.

    Presidential doctrines are inherently malleable and difficult to define. The only fixed “doctrines” in American history are the Monroe and the Truman doctrines which come out of single presidential statements during administrations where there were few other contradictory or conflicting foreign policy crosscurrents.

    Such is not the case with the Bush doctrine.

    Yes, Sarah Palin didn’t know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn’t pretend to know — while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and “sounding like an impatient teacher,” as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes’ reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.

  • JD

    So the Bush doctrine is 1 of these 4 pulled directly from what you wrote. Following the reiteration of these versions let’s review what he asked her.

    1. Withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol.

    2.Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime

    3.Preemptive war

    4.The idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world.

    Here is the line of questioning…

    GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

    PALIN: His world view.

    GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

    ***NOTE*** He told her that he was referring to the BUSH DOCTRINE OF 2002 before the Iraq war which as you stated is version 3. He was clear on what he was looking for.

    PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation.

    This does not sound like any of the versions you subscribe to for the bush doctrine.

    1. it is nothing to do with the removal from the ABM treaty

    2. Has nothing to do with the with us or against us.

    3. has nothing to do with pre-emptive strikes

    4. Says nothing about spreading democracy in the world.

    SO… WRONG, She did not hit the nail on any one of the proverbial nails we call the bush doctrine. I would say she accidentally grazed it and smashed her thumb. That is for sure.

    This got me thinking on why you would say that it was version 4 she was referring to. Even though he specifically asked her about the doctrine if 2002 (pre-emptive strikes).

    1. “rid this world of Islamic extremism” I guess can mean spread democracy (Version 4 of the doctrine) when you look at it from the point of a world with no Islamic extremism means one less political faction in the way of democracy.

    So Again, I say she grazed the nail but still smashed her finger but I understand that there is pride in the way and admitting when our candidates make mistakes is a hard thing to do. But looking for loose connections does not mean she answered correctly nor does attempting to strike the question when he was clear about what he was looking for.

  • Babs

    JD, the post I made was a total copy and paste, I did not say any of it. I don’t think I said it was version 4 she was referring to anywhere in my posts.

    In your copy and paste of the interview, is that the uncut transcript or the edited interview?

  • JD


    I was looking at the un-cut transcript and got the quote from the uncut transcript but the section I quoted was not cut. However I didn’t finish the quote of her initial response since she went on and talked about how bush had made some mistakes along the way. This was all aired but the bush mistake part was irrelevant to our discussion and a topic for another day.

    They did not cut until after Charlie Gibson told her he meant or as he understood it as the doctrine as pre-emptive strikes. Which was after my quote and Palin’s initial response to the question.

    Still you bring up a good point and I don’t want you to think I didn’t do my research. For any of the readers or maybe people just lurking, please read the entire transcript uncut. ABC did cut a bit from the interview and there are some good parts in there were reading that were not aired.

    Here is the link from the Mark Levin Show of the full uncut transcript:

    Now back to my quote…

    ***The beginning of my quote which all aired on ABC nothing was cut – Please read down further to see when it was cut***

    GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

    PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

    GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

    PALIN: His world view.

    GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

    PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

    GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

    ***This next part was cut from the Aired Interview – but was not a part of my quote***

    PALIN: I agree that a president’s job, when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America.

    I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.

    GIBSON: Do we have a right to anticipatory self-defense? Do we have a right to make a preemptive strike again another country if we feel that country might strike us?

    ****End of cut out session (what wasn’t aired on TV)***

  • Babs

    Thanks for clarifying, JD, I had read the uncut transcript, but didn’t watch the whole interview. That’s why I asked the question. I didn’t know what was cut and where on the edited interview.

  • Babs, you didn’t watch the whole interview with Sarah Palin? me neither, but the bits I did see I didn’t think she was very good.

  • Babs

    Pudding, don’t get excited at the thought. *L* By the time I had the opportunity to watch it, it was already reported that it was edited in a biased way, so I just read the transcript. I did see some soundbites of it, and thought she did well.

  • the president is not cool because he is not stopping aborsions. (docters KILLING other peoples babies) but the parents they know that docters are killing there babies

  • Bill Hedges


    An abortion group, Ayers grant fund, and Acorn began the vote getting support and finance to his road to the White House. He dare not break his promises to these groups.
    This was well know throughout his campaign.

  • Bill Hedges

    Do you believe Our Congress people are honest. Gov. of Il. is not the only crook