Want to run for President? You better start Tweeting.

Yes, Twitter and Facebook can be fun. But increasingly the social media sites have become important barometers for very serious things, too. A recent survey found that 61 percent of adults expect candidates in the 2012 U.S. presidential election to have a social media presence.

Karina’s Capsule: Braxton Price

Show me a circa-2008 satiric political web video, and I’ll show you well-meaning liberal media makers who, more likely than not, haven’t had much contact with real people (as in, not TV talking heads or vitriolic blog commenters) who represent the opposite side of the political spectrum and almost certainly have never seriously considered even a moderate Republican point of view as potentially legitimate.

This is something I think we all know about the current new media landscape, and so when confronting new works of political media art, much of the work of analysis is automatic. It’s a video about Obama? It’s probably an unquestioning celebration of style over substance. It’s a video about McCain? It’s probably kitsch-wrapped critique.

But there’s something that seems just a little bit more complex about Braxton Price: The Price of Freedom. Produced by Titan.tv and described as a “partly scripted/mostly improvised single-camera political comedy show,” Braxton stars creator Aaron Nauta as a young robo-Republican hired by the fictional National Federation of Young Republicans to host a web show-within-the show “that makes conservative ideals cool again — and also debunks loony liberal logic.”

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Karina’s Capsule: Obama Girl Returns

The Obama Girl videos are not actually funny. They’re not actually sexy. They don’t actually have any kind of message and they don’t perform any kind of practical analysis. And in their very evasion of any kind of substance, they’re totally genius.
The latest Obama Girl video, Obama Girl Returns For Iowa!, was released on Jan. 2. The Girl makes her return via a faux movie trailer, an election-minded spoof of Rocky Balboa that positions the Girl in a new light: she’s not just a writher, she’s a fighter.
The Obama Girl videos have never had anything of substance to say about Barack Obama’s candidacy or campaign, but unlike the previous clips, Obama Girl Returns amounts to more than just the (admittedly powerful) theme that the desires of attractive women make the world go around. This time, Obama himself is pushed way to the periphery, to make room for an even more powerful theme: the catfight. It’s no longer about Obama vs. Hillary; it’s about Obama Girl using sex and celebrity to clear the path for her man.
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