The last time Bulletproof Diction was active was a much simpler time.
It was 2008, the economy was in freefall, and Chris Dodd was considered to be a “serious” presidential candidate.
Fast forward a few months. John McCain was visiting CSU Fresno for a speech about energy. His tepid, declining campaign stood in stark contrast to the dynamic, exciting operation run by his new Senate colleague, Barack Obama.
He needed a gamechanger.
An awkward bespectacled kid in his senior year of high school whose cousin was working event security sat on the stage right behind McCain while he was speaking. In line to enter the event, that kid was furiously texting his blog co-partner, wondering what he should ask of this man who was not just a war hero and a senator, but a major-party Presidential candidate.
When called upon, that kid asked Sen. McCain a two-part question: what was he going to do about comprehensive immigration reform, and would he consider choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his Vice-President?
For the first time that day, Sen. McCain was flustered.
He eventually responded that the governor was popular in her state, and that she had a bright future in the Republican Party. He forgot the second question, and asked the kid to repeat it.
Weeks later, on the morning of a press conference organized by the McCain campaign, networks reported that a chartered jet was leaving Alaska with the Senator’s VP pick.
That kid above was me btw. I sure as hell didn’t expect this to happen. I was playing dress-up as a serious journalist, I wanted to get linked to on Hot Air which was one of my favorite blogs at the time. I looked at Wikipedia articles of various governors (I didn’t expect the Senator to pick another Senator) and thought Gov. Palin was the best choice. Politico ran a piece a few months later offering options such as Carly Fiorina and Gov. Palin as potential VP nods *if* Sen. McCain was going to choose a female VP. It shouldn’t have been such a surprise, and I didn’t expect it to be – she seemed like a logical choice.
What started as a goofy side project by two high school kids who wanted to ape their journalistic heroes: Commentary, WFB, The Weekly Standard, assorted pundits – turned into an uncontrollable monster. All of a sudden people were linking to this little side-project blog.
We all saw how the story of the McCain campaign played out, and how the same campaign managers who suggested Gov. Palin as his pick outright failed to support her later down the line, later portrayed in their oddly-detached-from-reality production called Game Change.
As the McCain-Palin campaign declined, so did the blog. Obama won, my co-blogger and I got older, and our post volume declined.
Sure, we surfaced a little bit around the 2012 election. We thought Romney would pick Condi as his VP.
Perhaps he could’ve won if he did that.
Now it’s 2016 and the game has actually changed, by an even larger magnitude it did in 2008. The data-driven polling methods of Nate Silver did not predict the rise of Trump, and the collection of tweets and statements and articles by pundits and political personalities and know-it-alls who kept predicting a Trump decline now read as obituaries to their judgment.
But a diverse coterie of people did predict Trump, from Twitter users like @Bro_Pair to outside-the-sphere political commentators like Ann Coulter to decidedly apolitical celebrities like Adam Carolla.
Did people honestly think an election by the first celebrity political candidate wouldn’t be followed by an election with the first outright celebrity candidate?
Did people honestly think an obscenely-controlled candidate like a Hillary Clinton could thrive in our social media landscape?
More than ever the pundits are wrong, the commentators are wrong, the journalists are wrong, the establishmentarians are wrong, wrong, wrong.
Their fundamental detachment from real-life occurrences and real people is showing.
Bulletproof Diction was founded on the concept that words matter, that they don’t change, that they’re indestructible — bulletproof, even. It was a satirical reference to the overdramatic theme of V for Vendetta.
That hasn’t changed.
The professionals know that words matter.
They don’t understand why.
And that’s why we’re glad to be back.