Inside the Beltway

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What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

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“If your WikiLeaks, plug it.”

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Here it comes: Non-commitment culture, the urgency economy, outsourcing self-control, de-teching. Of interest to political strategists, these are among the Top Ten Trends for 2011 from marketing giant J. Walter Thompson, and they reveal an impatient, edgy population who will be a hard sell as the 2012 presidential election looms. According to director of trend-spotting Ann Mack - yes, that is her title - Americans are seeking life choices that require “a less-permanent commitment.” They favor time-sensitive “flash sales” and temporary “pop-up shops,” which implies they could favor flash campaigns and pop-up politicians as well.

But folks have limits. And they’re picky. While these voters may need an electronic device to prevent them from texting-while-drunk, they are also capable of de-teching - “offlining, getting off the 24-hour work cycle,” Ms. Mack says. “People will be looking more closely at what they put into their brains.”

And the ultimate political campaign, perhaps? “All the world’s a game,” she continues. Game mechanics - playful privileges, superpowers, status indicators - help drive certain actions or behaviors. “Hyper-personalization” is the other byword.

“A personalized digital realm that offers up what they are most likely to need or want based on location, interests, demographic cohort, social network,” Ms. Mack adds, suggesting that using Google Street View to incorporate the viewer’s childhood neighborhood into the experience is not a bad idea, either.


- 77 percent of likely voters say WikiLeaks is a threat to U.S. security.

- 76 percent say WikiLeaks may endanger lives of the U.S. military.

- 63 percent say U.S. news organizations should not publish WIkiLeaks materials.

- 80 percent of conservatives and 37 percent of liberals agree.

- 52 percent overall say the U.S. should consider WikiLeaks a “terrorist group” and deal with it accordingly.

- 65 percent of conservatives and 19 percent of liberals agree.

- 31 percent overall say the U.S. government is “exaggerating” the risk posed by WikiLeaks.

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