Daniel Eran Dilger
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Ten Striking Parallels Between Microsoft and John McCain

Daniel Eran Dilger
While Microsoft and the John McCain presidential campaign might not share many political views, there are striking similarities on how both advertise and promote their respective products. Here’s ten parallels between the two that demand attention.

1) Trying to trick unsatisfied buyers by promoting the exact same thing under a new name.

Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment attempted to trick users unsatisfied with Windows Vista by showing them a brief demo of a “new operating system” that was in fact, Vista in a brown box labeled Windows Mojave. Microsoft carefully avoided drawing any attention to the real problems in Vista that users are actually complaining about.

The McCain “change” campaign insists it will shake up Washington by promoting new wars, doing nothing to protect American jobs, and only lowering taxes on the ultra rich. That’s what Bush did, resulting in massive debt related to an unnecessary war, corporate loopholes that encourage businesses to take jobs outside of the US, and economic crisis for the majority of working and middle class Americans.

Microsoft’s Mojave Attempts to Wet Vista’s Desert


2) Claiming to compete well against itself.

Microsoft promoted Windows XP as being safe and reliable, despite its security malware crisis. Windows Vista was introduced as being much more safe and reliable than Windows XP, which Microsoft now describes as having serious problems. The company is now beginning to promote Windows 7, due around 2010, as being the solution to serious problems in Vista. Each is described as a “major rewrite.”

In 2000, Bush campaigned on a morality platform. In 2004, Bush campaigned on a platform of keeping the US safe after starting a war on false premise and failing to track down and capture 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden. Now, in 2008, McCain is campaigning to start new wars and solve serious problems that involve a “major rewrite” of Washington politics, without articulating how doing the same things will solve past problems or change anything.

Microsoft’s Zune, Vista, and Windows Mobile 7 Strategy vs the iPhone
Windows Vista, 7, and Singularity: The New Copland, Gershwin Taligent


3) Presenting a media darling that can’t do more than recite “me too” promises.

After Microsoft’s PlaysForSure was badly humiliated by the iPod, Microsoft pulled out a copycat device and assured pundits that the new device would challenge Apple’s market share. However, while the new product gained a disproportional amount of media attention because it came from Microsoft, it fell short on specifics and users weren’t told about its actual features until it started shipping. Disappointed users were assured it would improve, but it really never did, and tanked in the market.

After McCain’s campaign was badly humiliated by Barack Obama, McCain pulled out a copycat device and assured pundits that his pick for Vice President would challenge Obama’s popularity. However, while Sarah Palin gained a disproportional amount of media attention, she has fell short on specifics and citizens haven’t been told about her actual positions. They are assured she will improve, but there’s really no reason for thinking she won’t tank, as a candidate, a potential vice president, or in the role of president of the US.

Zune Sales Still In the Toilet
Zune vs. iPhone: Five Phases of Media Coverage


4) Pretending to play the role of an underdog outsider while actually being an authority with monopoly control

While Microsoft exercises monopoly control over the PC market and has so little effective competition that it can charge whatever it wants for its software, it portrays itself as a scrappy underdog in markets it still trying to monopolize, including video games, music DRM, mobile phones, and audio players. Both PlaysForSure and its new solo MP3 player were marketed as “alternative choice” products that did their own thing, despite really being more of the same failed Microsoft Windows Media DRM.

While the Republicans exercise enough control over the three branches of US Government and have so little effective competition that they can change whatever they want, McCain portrays his party’s campaign as a scrappy underdog in a race to hold onto executive power. Both Bush and the new McCain have been marketed as “alternative choice” candidates who do their own thing despite pushing more of the same failed strategies for a government that only serves foreign interests and the ultra rich.

5) Childishly pretending to be offended by the truth …

Microsoft’s executives have come unglued in phony outrage about Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaigns, which accurately portray Vista as having issues related to hardware and software compatibility, malware problems, and poor performance.

McCain’s campaign has come unglued in phony outrage about Obama’s comment that McCain’s policies amounted to “lipstick on a pig” or “old fish in a piece of paper called change,” claiming that Obama was referencing his running mate, who had earlier referred to herself as a pitbull wearing lipstick. McCain used the same expression in criticizing Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan.

Gates, Seinfeld and the $300 Million Ad to Nowhere

6) … while shamelessly advertising misinformation and outright lies.

Microsoft has frequently cited false comparisons of Mac OS X Leopard’s vulnerability statistics with numbers for Windows Vista, while being fully aware that those numbers do not reflect reality and do not even serve to compare similar code. Microsoft’s executives have also flat out lied about the company’s market share, with CEO Steve Ballmer casually citing 20% to 25% of the market for its failed MP3 player, a product that really grabbed less than 5% of the market.

McCain has frequently cited false comparisons of Obama’s policies, implying his opponent wants to teach explicit sex to kindergarten classes. McCain flat out lied in misrepresenting Obama’s tax proposals as raising taxes, when in fact they would lower taxes for the majority of Americans, and only increase taxes for those making more than a quarter million annually. Obama would actually lower more taxes for more Americans more significantly than McCain.


Paul Thurrott calls Apple “the Bad Guys” of Microsoft’s $300 Ads

7) Appeals to uninformed audiences who don’t even realize that what they’re celebrating is not in their own best interests.

Microsoft promotes its products to the enterprise and tech enthusiasts, the very people who suffer the most from picking a platform saturated in security flaws and indifferent to their needs. Yet these victims of Microsoft’s monopoly control wholeheartedly support the company and willfully submit to a tech monoculture because they are duped by a company who does not share their interests.

McCain promotes his campaign to soccer moms and rural audiences, the very people who will suffer the most from picking a platform that really only represents the needs of the ultra rich. McCain says he will lower taxes, but in reality, “the McCain plan would predominantly benefit the most fortunate taxpayers, offering two new massive tax cuts for corporations and delivering 58 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The Bush tax cuts provide 31 percent of their benefits to the top 1 percent of taxpayers.”

8) Calls opponents “elitist and expensive,” while being far more elitist and expensive.

Microsoft says Macs are expensive without pointing out that Macs save users wasted time cleaning up problems and money spent on anti-malware cleanup. Ballmer described the iPhone as being the most expensive phone ever, despite the far more expensive Windows Mobile models. And the company calls Linux expensive in total cost of ownership and a socialist “cancer” that hurts businesses, despite the fact that Linux actually helps get the most expensive spending under control by pulling expensive software licensing out of the server room.

McCain says Obama will raise taxes without pointing out that Obama will actually cut takes for most Americans apart from the most wealthy. McCain refers to liberals as big spenders, despite the vast spending of his own party that has sent the nation into massive debt, and the trail of massive debt that his running mate left behind as small town mayor. He says Obama’s plans will be expensive and McCain’s supporters describe them as a socialist cancer that hurts business, but Obama will actually help get the most expensive spending under control by pulling the military out of occupation of Iraq, a nation with a huge cash surplus to defend itself.

Microsoft’s Unwinnable War on Linux and Open Source
Soviet Microsoft: How Resistance to Free Markets and Open Ideas Will Unravel the Software Superpower

9) Can’t function on the web.

Microsoft’s efforts on desktop email and web have been plagued with security problems, and it has been unable to deliver usable mobile web and email products. In just a few months, Apple’s new iPhone surpassed the entire installed base of a half decade of Windows Mobile devices in actual web browser use.

McCain’s efforts with desktop email and web have been plagued with a lack of interest in learning how to use modern communication and information tools. His campaign was surpassed by Obama, who raised grassroots support for his campaign from individuals, rather than corporate sources who will demand favors in return.

Canalys, Symbian: Apple iPhone Already Leads Windows Mobile in US

10) Writing off an individual who wants to change the world as being a “celebrity…”


…then attempting to become a celebrity without changing anything.


Microsoft and McCain: More of the Same.

Note that this compairson is not meant to suggest Microsoft agrees with McCain in political issues. Microsoft has actually pulled its funding from the Republicans it has been primarily courting since 2000, and has recently been putting its cash almost exclusively behind Democrats, no doubt because it sees Obama winning.

It also shouldn’t be taken to suggest approval of Microsoft by McCain’s campaign, nor disapproval of Linux or Apple products by McCain. In fact, readers have forwarded in evidence that McCain’s campaign uses Macs and Apple’s Keynote software to publish its presentations.

The only real commonality is that neither Microsoft nor McCain is served by telling the truth, because they really have nothing to offer. And so they desperately try to copy those who are successful, downplay reality with distractions, and outright attack the truth with blatant lies.

They can only get away with it if Americans keep buying it.

Obama’s Apple, McCain’s Microsoft: the Politics of Tech
What You Expected, What You Got

This is now:

That was then:

Don’t let it happen again.

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  • earth2kelly

    Good for you Dan.

  • theskeptic

    You diminish your work by using blatantly one-sided political attacks.

  • mshettles

    This article is just sad, and yet you cast stones at other one sided “writers”.

    Too bad Obama is going to lose, it’s painfully obvious to anyone with a brain that the Democrats will mess it up despite 8 horrible years, they’ve already begun their downward spiral.

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    @ theskeptic: If our world were facing a potentially fatal collision with an asteroid , I would not take equal time to think of good things to say about the asteroid. Or those choosing to ignore the problem.

    That having been said, if you’d like to refute any of the facts or issues I raised, I’d be happy to hear your clearly articulated comments.

  • furball

    Dan. In particular, thanks for the Youtube link to Bush’s representation before getting into power; that was breath-taking and I’m far from naive.

    Thanks also for your very insightful analysis on the Mac world over a period of many years.

    I see great parallels in your revelation of truth regarding things Mac and things Republican (as the party currently stands).

    And great reply to “theskeptic”. I look forward to seeing any reply from them that outlines facts and rational argument !

    Godspeed for a rapid recovery, post-op.

  • august

    The surgery seems to have increased your writing output, Daniel. Guess not being able to open your jaw is a blessing in disguise.

  • TexasAg03

    I will say that I am disappointed in the political turn the site has taken recently. I have enjoyed your articles concerning computers and technology in general and even the occasional political jab. However, I get my political comments from political blogs and don’t want to see the tech-oriented blogs I read go down that path – no matter what side they take.

    Please go back to chronicling the adventures of Apple and the misadventures of Microsoft. You do so well in those arenas…[Note Microsoft in the title and throughout the article]

  • Fulcanelli

    Hey Dan, Stick to writing about tech issues. This is contrived and off the mark. It puts you in the in Rob Enderle category of journalism. [citation needed]

  • lysander

    OMG. Seriously, you think Obama wants to change things? He’s just another leftist politician who wants to buy votes by raising taxes. McCain ain’t great, but its really kinda silly how hypocritical leftists are with their attacks on McCain.
    [Of course, this isn’t a comparison of Obama and McCain, its a comparison of Microsoft and McCain. If Obama is running a campaign dripping with false advertising, then please provide references and I can do an article on that too. I don’t think that is happening though ]
    I’ll take Palin any day over the warmongering, drug-war-escalating, assetforfieture broadening, fascist that is Biden.
    [When you say “warmongering, drug-war-escalating, assetforfieture broadening, fascist,” are you referencing Palin or Biden? If the race were between them, (and thankfully it is not!) I’d still prefer to be represented by somebody who has actual experience outside of catty ‘desperate housewife’ style manipulation. The other difference is that Biden isn’t running behind a 72 year old man with serious cancer problems. As skeptical as I am of Biden’s history, at least he has one. Palin is just a religious nut, emphasis on the nut. ]
    And Obama hasn’t really distanced himself.
    [from Biden? He’s his running mate! I hope I misunderstood you]
    What’s the change with obama? End the drug war? Nope, all for it. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? OF course not. End the punative tax rates that are impoverishing people, restrain government spending to let the economy grow, and cut regulation? You gotta be kidding.
    [Obama isn’t running on a platform to stop the War on Drugs, but that’s because he hopes to get elected. However, while I hold out some hope for Obama to change that, I see no glimmer of hope in McCain/Palin doing anything positive to rein in the War on Drugs. ]
    Think Obama supports privacy or opposes the PATRIOT act? Think again.
    [Everyone voted for the Patriot Act, sadly. But again, replacing the potential for change with Absolutely No F-ing Chance of Positive Change is not a solution.]
    Where’s the change?

    Every four years it sickens me to watch partisans lambast the opposing party while ignoring the fact that their own part is guilty of the same politics as usual.
    [I’m not a partisan. But I am obviously seeing more value in Obama than in McCain, and in the very disappointing Democrats over the bind/torture/kill Republicans. Politics is a bit like engineering. You can wish for perfection, but when i comes down to the achievable, you have to pick the best you can do, not throw up your hands and allow the nation to slide back into the 1850s.]
    One thing I can say about McCain, though, is that McCain-Feingold (which was very popular among democrats) has effectively excluded non “major party” advertising in the elections– ensuring that incumbants, and the two major parties keep things from ever changing.

    That’s their “Democracy” for you. And of course, nothings going to change as long as people keep voting for these guys.
    [That’s what they said in 2000 and in 2004, and looking back, it’s pretty non-controversial that Gore and even Kerry would have made far better presidents than the Bush/Cheney regime. I don’t expect Nirvana in 2009, I just want to be able to travel overseas without being embarrassed to have a blue passport.]

  • jerome_from_munich

    Personally, I see no problem with these political articles, because they are clearly labelled as such. Anyone is free not to read them and keep themselves to the technical articles.

    This being said, they have little interest for me, because I am not american. But the whole campaign forgets a very disturbing economical fact: the world reached peaked oil production (meaning oil production will slowly decrease in the next 30-40 years) and the US is the country which will find it the most difficult to adapt. Any candidate who does not state this fact is blatantly lying. You will have to halve your energy consumption in the coming ten years, each of you (and so will I).

  • TonyR

    Bravo Daniel, for exercising your right to free speech on your blog.

  • RobertR

    Sorry, I clipped off part of the NY Times quote:

    “Mr. Obama’s hands have not always been clean in this regard. He was called out earlier for saying, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain supported a “hundred-year war” in Iraq after Mr. McCain said in January that he would be fine with a hypothetical 100-year American presence in Iraq, as long as Americans were not being injured or killed there.”

  • Chas

    Dan – great article and insightful, as always. Yours is one of the few blogs I read on a regular basis.

    As to theskeptic, I’m tempted to enquire as whether s/he’s using the family braincell this week.

    Although a Brit myself, my father was American – he would be horrified at the state of his beloved country, even though he was a Republican. I don’t think the old boy fought his way across half of Europe just to see his homeland run by a bunch of morons like Bush, McCain et al.

    The word is “asteroid” :-)

    Good luck on your recovery!


  • http://antiorario.it/ antiorario

    I wonder if lysander knows what a fascist is.

  • harrywolf

    Funny how so many have this weird idea that ‘politics’ is separate from ‘real life’.
    Politics is real life, and if Daniel wants to give his opinions on his OWN website, I say ‘Bravo Dan’.

    If you dont like it, I am sure that there are other more fluffy websites to read about Mac stuff.

    Dan tells the truth, as he sees it. Thats more than good enough for me.

    EXCELLENT article, Daniel Eran Dilger!

  • Marc W

    #1, #2, #4, #7, #8, and #10 are also more or less true of Obama, if not more so depending on the specific issue. Obama at least has an air of honesty and integrity about him, but policy wise they are different sides of the same coin. There’s very few fundamental policy differences between the two.

    Who is questioning the interventionist foreign policy? Both candidates are pushing it further, they only differ on their preferred speed. Intervention begets intervention.

    Who is questioning the fiscal and monetary policy, and reigning in the national debt? Both candidates are pushing policies that will significantly add debt. This at a time when we’re having to bail out massive financial companies (a number of whom were receiving taxpayer’s funds to give them an unfair advantage in the market) so that the foreign countries holding our debt don’t make a run on the dollar. Once the dollar is weak enough, they will likely look for investments with better returns, such as US companies. Which can very quickly turn into a national security issue. What magic wand do we wave then?

    And the list goes on.

  • lysander

    Yes, Fascism is the common term for nationalist socialism which is a socialism which presents a facade of being capitalism but whereby the corporations operate at the pleasure or direction of the government, and the people are highly regulated in their lives. This is quite different from communist style socialism.

    While biden is a democrat and the democrats tend to be more communist in their style of socialism (while republicans tend to be more fascist) biden is one of the worst democrats out there.

    I don’t know how the term is considered in modern italy, and am more familiar with nazi germany than I am fascist italy.

    I think responding to someone is more effective if you do it as another post in the blog, rather than inline in their posts during moderation. It kinda inhibits ones ability to make a point to have it interrupted with someone arguing against it.

    Palin is an unknown, I don’t see her as any more crazy than Obama or Biden (or McCain) but we KNOW Biden is evil.

    Obamas advertising is just about as negative as McCain and of course since the palin announcement you haven’t been able to click two links on the internet without finding some democrat bashing her. Its really like there are a thousand liberal rush limbaughs out there spreading lies.

    It may be non-controversial to say that Gore or Kerry would have been better than Bush in San Francisco, but that’s the left coast. I am not at all a fan of Bush, but I don’t see Gore (especially after he went crazy with his global warming religion) or Kerry as providing a significantly better alternative. I would say that the clinton regime was better than the bush regime– clinton actually shrunk government and wasn’t too bad with the taxes and regulation.

    But really these elections are just bread and circuses for people– nothing is going to change because the choice between McCain and Obama is the choice between natioanlist socialism and communalist socialism— either way we get socialism.

    I disagree with you, but I bear you no ill will, and I do appreciate your blog. In that spirit, I invite you to take a little time and read two works– first being “The New Libertarian Manifesto” from SEK3, which you can find on the net… .and the second being “No Treason: The constitution of no authority” by Lysander Spooner. Also out there on the net. I think you’ll find both of them thought provoking and well worth the time– I don’t think they will persuade you to see things the way I do, but I think its probably a safe bet that you’ll see some new ideas there you hadn’t considered…..

  • lehenbauer

    I am concerned that if McCain is as disabled as has been reported in the counterspin to Obama’s attack about his lack of computer literacy, he is not physically fit enough to be president.

    Gotta align with Café Hayek here and say the less government the better — they are both making all sorts of promises they can’t possible fulfill, and promote an absurd idea that it’s really government’s function to heal ills and make things better when, as Milton Friedman used to say, everything the government tries to do has the opposite effect.

  • RobertR

    Test- sorry- I posted, but don’t see my post with the “awaiting moderation” message- was my post too long?

  • RobertR

    Part 1:

    QUOTE: “6) … while shamelessly advertising misinformation and outright lies.”

    Are you willing to look at your own candidate as well, Daniel?

    * The Obama campaign claimed that McCain supported a 100-year war in Iraq — an egregious distortion of McCain’s comment that a long-term American presence in Iraq would be acceptable IF it were like present-day Japan or Germany, where our forces are not at war or in danger.

    * The Obama campaign claims he bucked the system & demonstrated political courage opposing the war in 2002, when in fact that was the default position for Illinois Democrats- and especially in his home district of Hyde Park. Democratic war opponents in Illinois included Dick Durbin, Carol Mosely Brown, and 80% (!) of the congressional delegation. Also, 90% of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    * The Obama campaign quotes McCain in a commercial as saying “I know a lot less about economics… I still need to be educated,” when the full quote is, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.” McCain spent decades working directly in military and foreign policy, so this is to be expected. The Obama campaign takes a moment of candor and purposely distorts McCain with a misleading excerpt.

    [Your supposed examples of “Obama lies” are silly.

    I’ve heard McCain talk about 100 years in Iraq, and he hasn’t denied saying that. He clearly supports a long term occupation. Suggesting that that can be done without forces “at war or in danger” is absurd. Iraq is now far more dangerous than before the war, and large portions are held by warlords and clerics that are far more dangerous than Hussein was. This is not Japan or Germany. Obama did not lie about McCain’s position, and there’s nothing here to even quibble about.

    Your second lie is that Obama “didn’t buck the system” because he was acting in concert with two others in congress and supporting the will of the people who sent him there? How ridiculously absurd. Obama was against a goosestepping, cross-partisan jingo mentality.

    Citing that McCain knows little about the economy isn’t a lie. It’s also critically important information when the most pressing issue to most Americans is the economy.

    Compare you’re quibbles with outright lies McCain has pushed forward. There’s no comparison. McCain is being dragged through the media as a dishonest liar running a shameful campaign. Obama is if anything acting too meekly in pointing this out.]

  • RobertR

    Part 2:

    And even the NY Times is (apparently unlike you) willing to concede that Obama has also distorted the record:

    “Mr. Obama’s hands have not always been clean in this regard. He was called out earlier for saying, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain supported a “hundred-year war” in Iraq after Mr. McCain said in January that he would be fine with a hypothetical 100-year American presence in Iraq, as long as Americans were not being injured or killed there.”

    “More recently, Mr. Obama distorted Mr. McCain’s record on schools financing and incorrectly accused him of not supporting loan guarantees for the auto industry — a hot topic in Michigan. He has also taken Mr. McCain’s repeated comments that American economy is “fundamentally sound” out of context…”


    Rocks, glass houses, etc. etc…

  • danviento

    An article like this deserves a point-by-point response.

    1) Perhaps people from the Left coast missed the boat, but the majority of Americans appreciate what eurotrash and hard core lefties fling around as hated Bush policies. That’s right. We *appreciate* the fact that even now, 8 years after the fact, there has not been one attack on Americans on our home soil. We have a grasp of economics further than ourselves that understands that the more you tax corporations and “the wealthy” (aka the people that employ the rest of us) the less spending you’ll see overall and the more jobs you’ll see shipped overseas.

    [What evidence do you have that invading Iraq, rather than actually capturing the 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden, had any impact on preventing an attack on American soil? How many attacks on American soil did the US suffer under Clinton? And who do you expect to take you seriously after saying that failing to tax the wealthy will drive jobs overseas, when both are happening simultaneously under Bush? ]

    No, I wouldn’t mind more of the same in this regard. And now we may even see some reform on pork spending if the two candidates lambasted in this article live up to half of their propositions.

    [McCain and Palin have such as extablished track record for bold faced lying that anyone waiting around to see if they live up to half their propositions would have to be a moron. Did you not watch Palin chant to her audience to pray for her “God Will” pipeline and war, only to tell Charles Gibson that she would never assume to know the will of God? And if you haven’t seen the newspaper reports of McCain’s lies, including even Karl Rove saying that McCain has taken things too far in telling lies, well, then, shit, you must love being lied to. What a schmuck. ]

    2) Little men fail to examine beyond the public face. Let me applaud your initial skepticism, but sneer at your ready acceptance of the profoundly leftist media networks and their obvious, self-professed agenda. We could get into a whole discussion about the so-called “false-premises” and the “bush lied, people died” mantra, but it will suffice to say that should we have to into Iraq to unseat a dictator and faction fueling the terrorist groups that attacked us? Hell yes. Should we have lured fractured terrorist groups into an arena where our large, organized military forces can make them play our game (as opposed to the terrain of Afghanistan). Um, duh. Has the surge tactic and change under General Patreus been wildly successful and help promote democracy and peace in an area of the world that needs such work and an ally? How can you say no?

    [Are you seriously that ignorant to say that Iraq was responsible for 9/11? ]

    Maybe your a fan of the pacifist Carter and Clinton agendas. I can see your argument there (obviously), but an adherence to such a delusional way towards peace only invites more predators. You come across as a great scholar of modern technological development, but don’t seem to grasp the nature of American history. More on this later.

    3) I don’t think you could be more wrong one Sarah Palin being more specific on her platform. After watching numerous interviews and reading transcripts and punditry of both political stripes, she’s done a very good job of making her position damn clear. Here’s a few specifics if you haven’t been paying attention yet: First, a widely highlighted stance- Her take on abortion is quite plain: only in the case to save the mother’s life; not even in cases of rape or incest. Another, on taxation and government involvement: she’s got a rich history of cutting wasteful city and state spending, staring down and kicking out politicians (of her own party, even) taking kickbacks, and fostering businesses to compete for contracts with the state instead of taking sweetheart deals. She’s a strict constitutionalist (there’s a definite must) and understands that it’s the states responsibility to merely protect the people’s rights guaranteed within that document and defend against those who would take them away; not social programs, not charity, and not regulation of every possible facet of business it can get it’s tentacles into.

    Pre-Palin, McCain wasn’t doing so hot because he came across as wish-washy, a moderate that couldn’t resonate with the majority of our country. Palin came across as a strong Reagan-Conservative with a spine of steel that can stand up to the myriad of lies, exorbitant lies, and half-truths being flung at her and still take a bite out of the competition with some stinging truths. That fired up the base and the presidential candidate so that now momentum is swinging the other way in this race.

    As for whether or not she’ll “tank,” she seems to be doing better up against the other side’s candidate for *president* not to mention vice in terms of experience, view point, and general acclamation. True, there are opportunities for gaffes, especially when they won’t be glossed over by the cheerleaders heading up the newsrooms on major networks, but they haven’t got her yet, and that’s saying something considering the sheer scope and magnitude of attacks and trickery tried so far.

    [Apart from a fiery religious rhetoric, Palin does not even understand what the Bush Doctrine is, and couldn’t articulate whether she supported it or not. She thinks being able to see the eastern edge of Russia is useful to understanding Moscow. You are only making yourself look ridiculous. Were it not so serious, I would just laugh at your expense. ]

    4) Once again, you seem to be drinking the media kool-aid on this point. McCain has definitely proved his mettle on sticking to his guns when it accounts. This can be highlighted by positive points such as his time undergoing torture as a POW and voicing the need for a new strategy for the Iraq war a la Patreus, and also on not so positive points like pushing the amnesty bill that most Americans can understand as a disaster in the making. He even espouses the global warming pap that 60% go on record as doubting, though those same people ladling out your kool-aid back it anyway.

    [Now you’re losing me. 60% of morons don’t believe in global warming? Because even McCain has stated he understands climate change is being caused by human efforts. You are clearly such a nut you’ve driven past McCain. ]

    Palin has shown her resolve time and again. She got change in the PTA. Then cleaned up in the mayor’s office, leading onto getting establishment legislation like the bridge to nowhere and systems of bribes axed. She got went against the usual sweetheart deals when trying to get the oil companies to put in that natural gas pipeline and made the compete, saving the state money. She cut her own and her staffs paychecks, sold the state plane on eBay and returned increasing oil-revenues to the Alaskan state residents. That’s the kind of change and opposition that made Alaskans love her, and has the rest of normal American’s cheering for a campaign that would previously make them sigh in disappointment.

    [Republicans want to elect a fucking ignorant PTA beauty queen? That says too much about your party right there. Shame on you for passing off such bullshit as an enlightened position. And plenty of Alaska hates Palin. The state is swimming in oil money and everything is subsidized. Palin didn’t find Alaska’s oil, she only spent her town into debt and then demanded more Federal millions to burn on top of it.]

    No, if you want to look for usual partisan hackery, look no further than the competition. We have Barack, a man who was raised on socialist and sometimes communist pap (just look at the people he heralds in his TWO autobiographies) and affirmative action BS who, while doing a good job at saying nothing for a while, has been slipping so frequently (thanks to lack of teleprompter aid) and giving away his political leanings that he is currently having to play to the center, professing things that wouldn’t sound odd coming from Bush himself. Then we also have Biden, a man who is DECADES in the Washington loop on the senate, and is noted right alongside Obama as the most liberal senator on record, but also knows how to follow the polls. For these obvious reasons, this particular point couldn’t be further from the truth.

    5) As for this current bit of hoopla, the Obama response sounds like a bad standup comic. His timing was off, the logic was painfully forced, and his response came off more as whiny more than stinging. Palin’s previous comments in her speeches seem to have hit a nerve in the Obama campaign, especially when they elicit as vague a response as this. But then again, being vague on the details has been his tactic from the start.

    6) Your ideas in this point fail to realize the idea of trickle-down economics. Before you throw the whole notion our the window, note that the table does not include taxes on energy, healthcare (funding programs), the death tax, marriage tax, death tax, estate tax, and a myriad of other sidelines that many people have to pay. These totals skew Obama as the ads have accurately portrayed. If you’re going to ask why all of these aren’t in a 30 second add, you may want a dose of common sense or a class in marketing.

    [If you want to argue a point, you’ll actually have to make it. Suggesting a premise and failing to deliver it is not the same thing as presenting an actual argument. ]

    7) Here is yet another point illustrating you can be drunk on kool-aid. Did we forget that these evil corporations and rich people employ the rest of us and pay us our salaries? Or what about higher taxes being a main proponent of moving HQs and production lines over seas? Two decades ago America was the place to do business because we were a far cry from Europe. It seems the elitists’ desire to be more like the “refined” uncle across the pond have temporarily buried these markets and wounded our competitiveness. I can see no reason for your desire to “soak the rich” than shear jealousy. As I move up from one tax bracket to the next, it’s not a great feeling to know my next raise or my wife’s raise will end up netting us LESS. If you truly want to foster ingenuity and personal improvement, then you don’t punish success. Trickle-down economics has proven itself time and again…

    [You talk a lot about KoolAid, but that expression comes from Jonestown (and it was FlavorAid), a wacko religious cult that isn’t very far from Palin’s own church. She is a roll on the floor fanatic nut, which is fine on her own time, but she clearly wants to rape the US and then deny the country family planning, child care, and sex education. And what a bang up job she’s done at home.

    Trickle-down economics has not proven anything. The longest peace time expansion in US history was under Clinton, not Reagan or Bush. The market also does better under Democrats. ]

    8) -addressed the same as seven since they’re basically the same point.

    9) Ah, one of the fallacy-laden approaches to a measure of leadership. If we’re going to require McCain to have these first-hand skills, then why don’t we scrutinize Obama himself? We haven’t seen any direct mention of his web design skills, or online networking proficiency. In reality, the staff takes care of this, while the leader usually approves outlines and talking points. This kind of point is as valid as “McCain is sooooo old, and Obama is a fresh new face.” You’d be surprised how often old school trumps new school when it comes to getting the job done. When it comes to the decisions of leadership and information, as long as someone has ready access (and believe me, a president can have all the web articles add reports printed out at the flick of a finger), then the exact method isn’t all that pertinent. At best, this point can work towards identity politics, a point that the entire Obama campaign is built on. Good luck with that.


    10) The purpose of the “celebrity” ads was to highlight certain points. At the time Obama was famous for being famous. There was no definitely stance or methods of implementing this loudly-voiced “change” that the whole campaign was riding on. The unspecific message was meant to let people fill in their own hopes and desires for what exactly the hope and change campaign was referring to. It forced them to get at least a *little* more specific outright, and Obama had a few slips when it came to off-prompter time. Now the celebrity is starting to wear off, so the add is becoming less relevant as we march towards November.

    [An easier word: hypocrisy. Palin is hailed for her “celebrity” after you tried to castigate Obama for reaching crowds. Again, hard to take you seriously. Impossible actually]

    Most of this dealt with your problems at the punch bowl. If I had to guess, I’d imagine your main source of news comes from CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and a few other major news networks. If all you see are the cheerleaders, and you live in a place where their crowd is predominant, then I guess I can see how you opinion could be coached to where it is today.

    If you read up on the specifics of these campaign programs, look the overall and the specifics, and have a real grasp of what American liberty was intended to be, then you might be persuaded into more skepticism and more not-so-common sensibility.

    From a guy with the same namesake, I applaud your usual depth in tech-industry commentary. You voice a historically-informed opinion that often adds a depth to your arguments rarely seen elsewhere. It’s your expertise.

    However, there seems to be a lack of expertise and information in this and other recent political comparison pieces. They mainly come off as cherry-picking mass-media talking points and forcibly trying to marry them with preferred computing camps. Good writers often use intriguing parallels, so I understand the effectiveness of using analogies to explain abstract concepts. These haven’t done so well. Here’s a good one you may like to examine to brush up on your compositional skills, whatever your political leanings:

    Again, try to hammer out some more specific details if you want to be convincing. I normally have no problem considering positions I disagree with, but when it comes across as press kool-aid, it’s just annoying.

    [And when your argument is nothing more than talking points, jingoism, and ironic references to “koolaid,” it’s hard to take your perspective seriously at all. I would hope people who view things different that I could express at least a reasonable alternative position. All I ever see from frothy NeoCons is self delusional rhetoric short of any specifics, dodging the point, and stirring up irrelevant digs that can’t be taken seriously. The desire of half the nation to wallow in and relish and celebrate ignorance is frightening. ]

  • Pila

    Brilliant article, I love your blog , always to the point.
    As a non-American, I just cannot believe that anyone
    will vote for a party which has effed up so much in the last 8 years.

  • Dan V. P. Christiansen

    This article is notably better than your Soviet Microsoft article. However, that article was exceptionally poor – the worst of yours I’ve read, ever – and a voluntary declaration of either rhetorical inadequacies or lack of insight. Microsoft cannot reasonably be compared to any regime whose leaders were responsible for tens of millions of deaths, if not more. At least you’re staying within the things you know this time. The upside is that it makes your argument harder to summarily reject. The downside is that it makes it harder to realise that it should be rejected.

    The article reads as one long [i]ad hominen[/I] attack on both the Republican leadership and the Microsoft corporation. The former is a group of persons, the latter is a abstract legal entity. One is suitable for attributing human values and properties, the other isn’t. The more I think of it, the more I wonder what your point with this article is. If you intend to argue that Microsoft and McCain are equally “bad” or “evil”, then I’d say it’s a silly, irrelevant point not worth made, even if made well.

    The article fails in its premises by considering Microsoft and McCain/Palin generally comparable entities. In this sense, it is similar to the Soviet series.

    (For the record, I’m not educated in either philosophy or rhetoric, and I don’t live in the US.)

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    @ lysander “Palin is an unknown, I don’t see her as any more crazy than Obama or Biden (or McCain) but we KNOW Biden is evil.”

    Evil is a big word. Can you provide some qualification? Palin is a small town busy body who wants to turn the Federal government into an evangelical force for burning books and dialing back science into the dark ages. If you’re not afraid of Palin, you are grossly ignorant and need to scratch the surface a bit. Seriously, demonstrate more curiosity than Palin herself does.

    “Clinton actually shrunk government and wasn’t too bad with the taxes and regulation”

    And Gore served as Clinton’s VP. It is hysterically ridiculous to suggest that any Democrat in the US is dangerously liberal. Democrats have been in control of congress for years and no socialist uprising has occurred. I’d sure rather return to the growth of the 90s than experience more of the tragic, embarrassing history. McCain makes Bush look moderate. I thought McCain would be the best Republican candidate outside of long shot Ron Paul, but he has converted himself from 2000-era reformer into an exaggeration of Bush.

    “the choice between McCain and Obama is the choice between natioanlist socialism and communalist socialism— either way we get socialism”

    Sorry, this is bullshit. McCain’s sword rattling with Syria, Iran, Georgia/Russia, and too many other countries and his poor scholarship have a lot in common with a certain famous national socialist, but Obama is not even close to supporting communism. When you subject the truth to such torture, you don’t have any truth left.

  • Jon T

    Please look at the example of Great Britain today. In 1997 we got Tony Blair as Prime Minister – very much the shining star in the same way as Obama today, and with most of the same “love everyone” politics.

    Blair’s Labour government has taxed the country in so many underhanded ways that it has left it today as the ONLY major country certain to enter recession in 2008. It’s wasteful spending, its dubious double speak and unutterable promotion of celebrity and fame has made for the most shameful period of British politics in a lifetime, almost certainly leading to the near destruction of the Labout Party at the next election, and in any event likely to keep them out of government for a generation.

    I’m sorry we don’t share the same politics, but my fear is that Obama would leave the USA in much the same position as Britain finds itself in today.

    [I donno, I think the world is more complicated than liberal:conservative. Obama is a centrist. His tax plan cuts taxes for most of the US, and he isn’t outlining massive new spending. The US is already sold down the river to China to finance the trillions of the Iraq war. Simply stopping that will do more to rescue the US than any spending/tax plan could. Blair might be the Labor Party, but LHR is an airport; they’re both f-ed up. That doesn’t mean the right wing and failing to fly are the only options. ]

  • de-villiers

    Far be it from me, as a Frenchman, to interfere in the American election. But perhaps I may respond to your article – in the spirit of a friendly discussion and a kind temper.

    I understand your main point as being that of old wine in new bottles. Nothing of change, nothing of honesty, nothing of integrity.

    McCain is on the centre-right. So he is likely to follow right-weighted policies. As much as Obama is on the centre-left. But within wings on each side, there is debate. Your criticism is from your political prism. No-one, including McCain, wants to see jobs leave America. In France, this is called délocalisation. But on the centre-right, that is seen as a consequence of free-trade.

    The principle is no different to the argument that in the 1800s, English factory owners should not have used machinery because it “exported jobs”. Manual spinners lost their posts to other employees who made the machinery. In the 1990s, coal miners lost their jobs to foreign producers of natural gas.

    Economist re-adjustment is part of the world of continual change. We do not live in frozen time. To stop jobs going abroad is to arrest economist development and new industry. It would result in each country jealously guarding each job of its own. There could be little international trade and movement. Or development.

    Insofar as Obama promises change, it is correct. There is always change. But “Change we can believe in” [or should this be “change in which we can believe”?] is an empty promise. To say that we want “change” is to say that we all want to go on a car journey without first deciding the destination.

    In France, in the UK, we have heard the endless promises of change. The English King Charles II promised “change” after the execution of Charles I. The French Kings Louis XVIII, Charles X, Louis Phillippe – they all promised change and a new beginning. They all lost their thrones.

    More recently, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, they all promised change. In the UK, the Conservative party now promises “change”. It was Oscar Wilde who stated that, “Youth! Youth! There is nothing in the world but youth!” Perhaps in politics, one could replace that which “change”.

    The complaint that McCain promises no change is inaccurate. It is better to say that McCain will try to deliver change within the boundaries of centre-right policy. Your complaint is that he will fail, unlike Obama as you consider, to deliver change within the boundaries of centre-left policy.

    Arguments about being the underdog and truth and lies is no more than normal politics. The right in France criticised Segolène Royal, the Presidential candidate on the left, for misrepresenting the policies of the now President Sarkozy. The newspapers criticised Tony Blair for falsely claiming that the policy of the Conservative party to spend money more slowly than Labour amounted to actual spending “cuts”. This is nothing new or surprising. It is expected from both sides.

    Perhaps I may suggest, with respect to yourself, that your political writing above is simply that. It is a skilful piece of weighted, political publicité. One could attack it with the same tools that you seek to deploy within it. And it suggests your complaint is not with McCain per se; instead, the criticism appears to fall on the American political system itself and the entirety of the centre-right.

    Jacques de Villiers

  • Jon T

    Dan, I’m in a very different time zone to you! Do you sleep?!

    And when we are considering deception, have you read about the stunt pulled on McCain by Jill Greenberg? Now THAT’S deception!


  • RobertR

    QUOTE: “Palin is a small town busy body who wants to turn the Federal government into an evangelical force for burning books and dialing back science into the dark ages. If you’re not afraid of Palin, you are grossly ignorant…”

    Actually, Daniel, I’d be just a bit more careful with accusations of ignorance. If you still believe that Palin tried to ban books, read this:


    According to Newsweek, Palin:

    * Did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library
    * Did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska
    * Was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party
    * Never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president
    * Did not push for teaching creationism in Alaska’s schools

    I’m a big Mac advocate who has always enjoyed your forceful Mac advocacy, so it pains me all the more to say:

    You’re completely misrepresenting your opinions as fact.

    [You are citing the McCain campaign as a source to deny fact. Your “facts” are disingenuous at best.

    The McCain campaign says Palin didn’t demand books be banned, but Palin was representing her religious group in an effort to get books out of the library, and even fired the librarian who stood up to her. The librarian was reinstated after public out roar. So is Palin not a censoring busybody who hates science and differing opinions, or is it just that she was stymied to do a task as mayor that she will have Cheney like powers to accomplish as VP?

    She cut efforts to raise special ed funding, why may be why God gave her a disabled child in retribution.

    Never a member of the Alaska Secessionist party? Her husband was, and she attended meetings. Recently, she even supported them publicly. Does she need a membership card to prove she supports deserting the US? Secession is a complex subject, but someone who is associated with a secessionist group should not be running as Federal VP.

    Pat Bucannan? She supported Obama up until McCain called her to be VP.

    Did not push for teaching creationism? She said she thinks she’s seen dinosaur fossils have human footprints in them. She very clearly wants to convert America into a knuckle dragging 1850’s backward society. And of course McCain is denying it.

    There’s a big difference between carefully wording a claim that you didn’t actually do something specific and not being who you actually are well documented to be.]

  • Jon T

    But, where would we be without some fun – I regard this post as more fun than serious – and in that vein this is a fun sketch worth watching, (but thank heaven the Clinton’s aren’t going near the White House again): http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/palin-hillary-open/656281/

  • RobertR

    Oh- and by the way- I noticed that you ignored my posts about Obama’s own “misinformation and outright lies”…

  • Jon T

    Carumba! – the comments on that Newsweek link are something.

    Wonder if anyone else notices the commonality of the bad language, slander and insult of the MS Windows and Dem advocates?

    Just a thought.

  • rosko

    I find the responses to these “political topics in a not-usually-political blog” amusing. Dan is clearly on the democratic side. There seem to be 3 types of responses to his pro-Obama comments:

    1. The people whose comments consist of “Dan, stick to tech articles” or “Dan, leave your political opinions out”. I wonder are the majority of these people republican or democrat?? Hmmm… that’s a tough one. If Dan wrote praises of McCain and attacks on Obama would these same people write these same comments? Hardly. These are the sort of people who need to get a life. Dan has every right to write what the hell he wants – you are not paying him to write. At least share your own arguments or opinions like some of your fellow commenters do. Also, step back and take a look at yourself – you are probably the most susceptible type of person to political propaganda – I hope you have formed your own opinion on who you are going to vote for in November rather than having had it formed for you.

    2. The people who launch step-by-step arguments to counter Dan’s points. Good for you. Nice to see some debate. Just keep it above belt (which most of you do). The one amusing thing about these responses (and Dan’s article, in fact) is apologist nature of some of the comments. Obviously there is no such thing as a perfect candidate – Obama has flaws, McCain has flaws. I’m not saying everybody must give 100% disclosure and reveal the negative aspects of their chosen candidate, but some (by no means the majority) of the comments made are clearly half-truths or glorified opinions made solely to counter these evident deficiencies, or to build an attack upon. I suppose it’s human nature really, everybody does it. I’m sure there wouldn’t be much of a debate going on without such comments!

    3. The people who cheer on Dan with one-line comments. Again, I wonder are you democrat or republican?? Oh wait, I think I can figure that out. I suppose the comments you make are fine, but it would be also nice to see you join the debate and personally argue the points in other comments which contest Dan’s article instead of just hear- hearing. Also, as for (1) above, I hope you guys have formed your own opinions, and are not just following the lead of and/or getting excited about Dan’s well written measures!

    It will be interesting to see what happens in November.

  • RobertR

    Daniel- can you respond to my challenges- or not?

  • jdoc

    Obama has virtually no voting record. McCain has a LONG voting record of reform in Washington, and has been a loud voice of change over the years, many times against the Bush administration. Look the record up for yourself, instead of regurgitating Obama talking points.

    The GDP grew 3.3% last quarter (more than the 0.7% it was projected to grow) despite the many untoward events that have brought the economy to its knees lately (mortgage crisis, war, etc). The GDP compiled 20% more revenue under Bush than under Clinton, inflation-adjusted. And although the unemployment rate is at 6.1%, that is historically low, and still lower than a couple of years under clinton (6.5%+). It’s a cycle, and will improve.

    Politics are politics- the lipstick comment was a bad choice of a metaphor by Obama at that time. I don’t think that he meant to insult Palin (that would have been really stupid), but I don’t know that for sure. But did you see the crowds reaction? Raucous cheers over a political metaphor? No, they definitely thought that Obama was referring to Palin, and if his Liberal crowd was cheery about that, you can bet that the conservative crowd was equally as upset.

    The Democrats took over congress 2 years ago, and have since garnered the worst approval ratings in US history. The Republicans controlled congress since 1994.

    Palin has a great history of reform in Alaska- you should look it up. Obama only has the most liberal voting record in the Senate- you can also look that up.

    Currently, 43% of Americans DO NOT pay taxes (data from the IRS). Under the Obama plan, this will go up to 50% and more- do the math. The wealthiest in America already foot the majority of the bill.

    Bill Clinton had nothing at all to spend money on, yet tanked the GDP and sent us into a recession. He gave us a deficit surplus for one year, yet the national debt climbed over 22%. His national debt to GDP ratio was still higher than any time under the Bush administration, even now.

    Daniel, it’s disappointing that you would resort to being an Obama pigeon instead of having some facts and reasoned argument to back up your views. McCain has a long record of bucking the Washington trend, making correct choices about the Iraq war and others, and reform. Please view his voting record before you spew some of this information. I appreciate the tech ties though!

  • Ludor

    All Americans I’ve met were very, very nice people. I fear for them now. As far as I understand, the Bush administration has almost driven the US to the point of financial collapse, and either way, that will continue to cause unnecessary suffering for the rest of the globe for a long time. I can almost understand the republican fear of socialism or whatever, but seriously, if you continue down this path, you’re starting to look less like patriots and more like a suicide cult.

  • kent

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Barack Obama and John Wayne Gacy

  • kent

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Barack Obama and the Messiah

  • kent

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Barack Obama and Segway

  • kent

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Barack Obama and The Chicago Daley Machine

  • kent

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Barack Obama and Mao

  • qka

    O’Cain, McBama.
    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
    Both were one thing during the primaries, both have regressed to their respective party’s mean for the general election.
    The great thing about the American system is that it will survive, regardless of who is elected, just as it has survived the long line of n’er do wells who have occupied the office previously.

  • http://www.reemergemedia.com CW

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Barack Obama and Saul Ailinsky.

    I reject the socialistic mindset of Barack Obama. For example, his “tax plan” is to take, yes, TAKE money from the top 5% income earners (i.e. small business) and GIVE it to the other 95% in the form of a check. Yes, a check (stimulus), not lower taxes. He’s not going to LOWER taxes, so while he gives you someone else’s money (redistribution of wealth) he will RAISE takes.

    As for the lip stick on a pig. That doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that he choses his words wisely; but unfortunately for him, Palin (VP mind you) seems to make Obama stutter and think before he actually speaks. Speaking of VP, where is Plugs?

    Earmarks, earmarks, earmarks. How much did Obama ask for. Oh, that’s right. Roughly $1 BILLION in earmarks.

    There’s your change agent – less change in your pockets and more of the same.

    So, all this “McCain is the same,” “Bush’s 3rd term,” is what’s needed to fill the void of Barack Obama. You loons picked a terrible candidate and he’s already proved to make terrible decisions.



  • kent

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Liberals and Sexist Racists Fascist Comuninist Littering No Bathing Urugula Eating Whole Foods Shopping Eco Hypocrite Latte Drinking Lying Smear Merchant Hate Mongers

  • kent

    Ten Striking Parallels Between Daniel Eran Dilger and A Doofus

  • kent

    What’s The Main Difference Between This Post of Daniel’s and A Bag of Excrement?

    (the bag)

    [It took you 20 minutes to come up with those three posts? Well done Kent, you have articulated my position that McCain’s lack of honor and honesty is indefensible.]

  • http://antiorario.it/ antiorario

    Now that’s mature.

  • ANTIfusion

    I read roughly draft to hear about Apple, not politics
    If I want a Biased review on some presidential candidate I will go to FOX news, or CNN
    You lost me man
    Last time I read your magazine.

    Dude not smart

  • kent

    Daniel inspired me. When he talks politics, I can’t help but be moved. It’s like going to NASCAR and watching for the pileups.

  • kent

    Guess – Which Political Party actually has “voter fraud” as a core strategy?

    (Hint – from little ACORNS do mighty oaks grown.

    Hint 2 – which party is aware of the Daley Machine, the Rendell Machine, etc.)