In reading the McCain campaign’s latest gambit to suspend his campaign, cancel the debates, and fly to Washington to solve the financial crisis, my mind wanders to a conversation I had with a university president in which she references High Point University’s newly created Director of WOW! According to an NPR story on the school’s initiative:
The campus now features ice cream trucks, valet parking, a concierge desk, a hot tub and free snacks. Classical music wafts through the grounds.
While academics scoff at the “bread and circus” elements of this initiative, it certainly does help break through the clutter of universities competing for students. I think the McCain campaign understands that to break through the noise of popular culture, you need a “wow” campaign. The pick of Sara Palin was a WOW! pick. The move to suspend the campaign and cancel the debates is a WOW move designed to break through the noise.
I don’t know that I have a solid opinion of whether periodically shocking a voting public with brazen measures has a negative effect on American politics. I do wonder what effect it has on governance? The problem with the WOW! factor is that it’s short lived, fleeting and not akin to building sustainable governing coalitions. It might be able to sway a close election if a WOW! move happens days before an election, however