To deliver a message…

At our KC bloggers get-together the other night, I announced that I plan to apply for the FX reality show American Candidate. Why?

First, I think it would be, as we say in the Midwest, “a hoot.” Plus, if picked to be on the show, I can blog about it–always a plus! But, as a person who considers himself a public intellectual (i.e. someone who regularly engages the public with commentary), I also see this show as a great opportunity. To illustrate, let’s first consider what David Lightman says today:

The 2004 presidential field is beginning to acquire a collection of “message” candidates, people with little chance of winning but big hopes of influencing the eventual candidate and establishing themselves as spokespeople for their messages.

I think it’s far too early to decide who does and does not have a chance (although there’s a big common-sense factor at work here). Be that as it may, there’s nothing trivial about affecting the agenda of a presidential campaign with a “message.”

So, think about American Candidate this way: Handled well, it is entirely possible that the “winner” can insinuate himself or herself into the greater conversation. With the right spin and handling, this person could be seen as a spokesman for the mass of us who live in “flyover” land. Hmmmm…

Obviously, there are many obstacles–not the least of which is any number of possible wrinkles the producers might dream up to make the show more entertaining. The fact that it is a “reality” TV show pretty much guarantees that the network will monkey with the outcome. I’m not optimistic.

I’ll have more to say about the role of so-called message candidates as the campaign matures. (via PoliticalWire)