Is buying advertising "sort of Soviet"?

Well, far be it from me to interrupt MS-NBC when they’re actually sounding critical of their favored candidate, but this is somewhat silly. Willie Geist and and Courtney Hazlett debate the significance of Barack Obama’s prime-time informercial buys, and come up with a silly verdict:

GEIST: Coming back to the Obama thing. Does it strike anyone else as creepy? Obama’s taking over every network? It’s sort of like when you imagined the Soviet invasion, it would take over the airwaves. Something weird about it.

HAZLETT: Seriously. Exactly, exactly. I mean, it’s even going to be on Telemundo – Spanish television. It’s everywhere — except for ABC. Now, I do want to be fair, ABC said that they offered their air to Obama and for whatever reason, he declined.

GEIST: Ok. It makes me a little uncomfortable.

If anything, the ad buys represent the free market at work.  Obama has the money to purchase air time, and he’s using it to promote himself and his politics.  If he can buy simultaneous network slots to do it, why not?  It’s his money, and he’s making business decisions that he sees in his best interest.  There’s nothing Soviet about it.  If MS-NBC wants an example of creeping socialism, there are a lot better places to look than this.

We can certainly question the business decision, though, and analyze it for what it says about Obama.  He has repeatedly demonstrated an odd predilection for pomposity and grandeur, whether it be his juvenile Vero Possumus faux presidential seal, the Barackopolis at Invesco Field that cost over $5 million extra for a convention already struggling to pay the bills, or a rally in Germany for people ineligible to vote for Obama.  Now he wants to launch The Barack Obama Variety Show.  Maybe he should call Sid & Marty Krofft to produce it.

Who does Obama imagine will watch these infomercials?  Most voters have tired of the 30-second campaign spots that interrupt their favorite programs and beer commercials.  Only the deeply committed will bother to tune into a stump speech they could easily download off of YouTube.  The rest of the public will just skip to another channel until the infomercial ends.

It’s worth pointing out that under the Fairness Doctrine, Obama could never have bought the time.  It would have forced the networks to give John McCain an equal amount of time for a rebuttal — which would have meant that they simply would have refused Obama’s offer at any price.