VP candidates unfit (for facebook)

September 4th, 2008

A few months ago I dissected the leading presidential candidate’s favorite movies. I relied on the inherent goofiness of candidates using facebook to tell me everything I needed to know about their taste and, most importantly, which one I’d want to watch a movie with.

McCain won that contest by a landslide. He was the only one to list a comedy, “Some Like It Hot,” as a favorite (he was also the only one to list a recent flick, “Letters From Iwo Jima”). Obama’s tastes tended toward epics like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Godfather.” Yeah, they’re great movies, but they’re also really, really long.

Like everything in a presidential election, favorite movies are a matter of personal preference. I’d much rather watch a 90-minute comedy than a four-hour drama.

But this is just the top of the tickets. We now have the full picture — Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin are running for Vice President, with Obama and McCain respectively.

I suspect, after Cheney’s tenure as No. 2, our next Vice President will have a lot more time on his — or her — hands. Read the job description, U.S. Constitution, Article I Section III and Article II: All the Vice President does is cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate and wait around for the President to die. That’s plenty of time to catch up on the Netflix queue.

Standard disclaimer: This exercise is not about either candidates’ aptitude for office, nor do I believe for a second Obama, Biden, McCain, Palin or any other serious candidate for office would actually take time out of the day to go on facebook, myspace or any other social networking site. Instead, advisors and staff members utilize these sites to reach out, connect with potential voters (and donors) by creating a virtual personality and humanize their candidate.

On that note, let’s pretend Joe Biden and Sarah Palin actually said to themselves, “Self, I am now running for Vice President. I need to make a facebook page to let all the people know my current Relationship Status and Favorite Movies. But it’s too bad I missed out on Scrabulous.”

We’ll start with Joe Biden.

I was anticipating more of the same. He’s an old, serious white guy. He probably reveres “The Godfather.”

Wrong. Biden does not have any favorites, besides books. No movies, television shows or music.

His Relationship Status is “married to Dr. Jill Biden.”

Imagine that first date.

Jill: So, Joe. What are your favorite movies?

Joe: I do not know what a movie is. 

But what we do know about Joe Biden, from facebook, is that his Religious Views are Roman Catholic, his Favorite Books are “American Gospel” and “Irish America.”

I like non-fiction too, but c’mon. Joe, I realize you love America, but let’s face it: My — and I suspect many of my facebook contemporaries — idea of a good non-fiction read with “America” in the title is Jon Stewart’s “America: The Book.”

Still, it might be fun to watch a movie with Joe Biden. If he’s never seen a movie before, I could probably convince him that “Superbad” is a cinematic masterpiece.

On the other hand, here’s Sarah Palin — young(er), attractive(r), with kids in grade school. My initial impression was this was the kind of nosey mom who’d try to friend her kids on facebook. She gives her kids ridiculous names like Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper. I know she looks like Tina Fey, but she strikes me more as Amy Poehler’s character from “Mean Girls”: The clueless mom who tries too hard to be hip. 

With that in mind, my guess is she’s about a year or so behind the curve, the kind of mom who thought “Juno” was “funny” and “edgy” (let alone see the irony of that pick).

Wrong again. Compared to Sarah Palin, Joe Biden is current as Lil Wayne.

Palin, as of writing this column, isn’t even on facebook. Sure, there are plenty of Palin-devoted groups, my favorite of which are “Sarah Palin is NOT Lisa Loeb,” “Sarah Palin, GO BACK TO YOUR IGLOO” and “Sarah Palin=Cougar” (actually, a good number of the Palin-devoted groups fall on one side or the other of the ILFitude debate).

This is a real head-scratcher. Even John McCain, who was born before Alaska became a state, is on facebook. What’s the deal? Is the idea of a social networking site in Alaska redundant because everyone already knows each other?

How could the McCain campaign let this happen? Even Michelle Obama, who is not running for anything, lists “Enchanted” and the Harry Potter books on her facebook page.

Then again, maybe it’s fitting that Biden and Palin are facebook non-entities.

That’s pretty much the Vice President’s job.

Staff writer Josh Eiserike can be reached at 703-878-8072


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