Blown To Bits

McCain and Google

Thursday, June 19th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

In 1992, George H. W. Bush exhibited pleased astonishment when he discovered that supermarkets used barcode readers for the prices of items at the cash register. It should perhaps not have been surprising that he had not recently done any grocery shopping, but it raised the question of whether his familiarity with the way the world actually works had given him the right instincts on policy issues as president.

Last week John McCain said he was using Google (or perhaps “a Google”) to vet his vice presidential candidates. It’s certainly true, as he went on to say, that “What you can find out now on the Internet — it’s remarkable.”¬†The remark seemed a bit off, not that it isn’t true, but because, like Bush’s, it seems to indicate a bit too much surprise for the time it was spoken, and too little sense of the technology’s limitations. (Blown to Bits might be good bedtime reading for him.)

A friend pointed me to a video from earlier in the campaign that may help explain McCain’s comment about Google. McCain acknowledges that he doesn’t use a personal computer at all. “I am an illiterate who has to rely on my wife for all the assistance that I get,” he says. He doesn’t seem proud of it, though, and maybe his more recent “Google” remark shows he is trying to catch up.

The campaign is showing plenty of heat around energy policy. Will technology policy be an issue at all? How well prepared are the candidates to discuss the challenges that lie ahead? What would be some good questions they might be asked during whatever “debates” may occur?

One Response to “McCain and Google”

  1. Blown to Bits » Blog Archive » The Candidates on Net Neutrality Says:

    […] The story reports that Obama has reassembled some of the Clinton telecomm brain trust, including Reed Hundt, who had nice things to say about Blown to Bits.¬†I suppose McCain just asked Cindy? (See the earlier post, McCain and Google.) […]