Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 17, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

HEIL!....Ann Althouse comments on a video at John McCain's website:

The music is over-the-top....It announces the intent to manipulate you emotionally. That makes it a less effective effort at manipulation, though. I don't think Leni Riefenstahl would have done something so crude.

So McCain's big failing is that his campaign propaganda isn't quite as subtle as Triumph of the Will? Ouch.

Kevin Drum 9:53 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Comments

What happens when you throw out crap like this is people begin to put you on the same low level as Atrios and ThinkProgress. I don't read the former, but most of the latter's posts are "red meat" items, or they intentionally distort what people say, or they simply make illogical statements. Then childish "liberals" do their part by letting loose endless variations on the same pointless "jokes" we've been seeing for years.

Rather than reply to this, consider replying to the objections in the earlier thread.

Posted by: TLB on February 17, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, if you actually watch the video, you have to wonder just what kind of fucking militaristic lunatic made it. So Triumph of the Will comparisons don't seem quite so outlandish.

Plus, they're both in black and white.

Posted by: craigie on February 17, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

TLB: Go watch the video. It's the one called "Stand Up." Then come back and tell us if you really think Ann's comment was off the mark.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 17, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly. And stop clutching at pearls every time a liberal points out something unseemly on the other side.

Posted by: craigie on February 17, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with Al and TLB, don't lower yourself to the level of those other shrill bloggers. Unlike our heroes Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Rush Limbaugh, who are the embodiment of appropriate discourse on the right.

I am glad you guys got the same memo about how uncivilized the Left is.....

Posted by: Chas on February 17, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

No one is paying attention to John McCain, the elderly Republican candidate, so whether or not he's shown in black-and-white or color is academic at the most. He's just an old man now with old ideas whose time has come and gone, long gone. His future remains the carpetslipper brigade in the Senate where old pols get their very own shiny key to the nap room.

Posted by: buford on February 17, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

What's a facist?

Posted by: Disputo on February 17, 2007 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Don't make egbert go all upper case on yo' ass!

Posted by: craigie on February 17, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Even abroad they're taking notice!

Here's the headline of a Feb. 18 front page story by Sarah Baxter in The London Times and a bit of the rest of it:

BATTLE BETWEEN 'CROCK' MCCAIN AND 'WEIRD' GIULIANI

"Political opponents are quick to point out that John McCain will be 72 when he enters the White House if he wins the presidency in two years’ time. His disarming response is: “I’m as old as dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein.” And he never fails to mention his indomitable mother and her twin sister, who have just celebrated their 95th birthday.

"Age has become an issue for McCain. He has been hip enough to appear in a cameo role in the film Wedding Crash-ers and hiked in the Grand Canyon with his son last summer, but the risks of voting for a candidate who is already 70 and has suffered several bouts of skin cancer are sinking in with voters.

"A Gallup poll last week showed his campaign in a sudden fall against Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, whom Republican supporters said they favoured over McCain by 40% to 24%.

"Beneath the headline number, more than four in 10 voters said they would not vote for a “generally well-qualified person” who was 72."

If you're interested in the Giuliani part, here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/26ls96

Posted by: bert on February 17, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain gets screwier every day. He used to be a conservative who had some common sense. Now he is a man possessed with becoming President. He want's that job in the worst way and I fear for the worst reasons.

I watched Stand Up. The music made me want to stand at attention, shove my right hand in the air, click my heels and say "sieg heil mine furer." Where did he get his PR team?

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 17, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers --

I had been avoiding posting on this sibject but then I read your post: "...He wants the job in the worst way...."

Well that's it, isn't it? We don't necessarily pick the best, but the one who most wants it and mounts the "correct" manipulative campaign.

The reason it looks good right now is that Clinton isn't overly chasing the presidency, Obama was surprised he's been pushed forward, and the others will see how they run against the hot numbers.

On the Republican side, McCain has been itching to be there for years (and, yes, screwy), Giuliani is an egotist who hasn't paid full dues, and the others will come from behind.

God, would it be nice to hear from presidential candidates what they really wanted to do, not what they thought we wantd to hear.

Never going to happen.

They want the post more than they want to do what they think is right. That is what democrats (small "d") need to recognize and to find a way around. A more aggressive press with a readership would be a start. I don't yet know if the internet is really pro truth or undermining it.

Thoughts?

Posted by: notthere on February 18, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

I watched Stand Up. The music made me want to stand at attention, shove my right hand in the air, click my heels and say "sieg heil mine furer." Where did he get his PR team?

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 17, 2007 at 11:50 PM


Did you have to ask? He got them from Smirk, if you didn't know.

Posted by: This Machine Kills Fascists on February 18, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

I keep thinking that the GOP nomination for el presidente is wide open. McCain has baggage galore and an extremely well documented record of flip-flopping, Giuliani is an Italian guy from New York with more marital issues than the Right will tolerate, and Romney is a lightweight putz. If somebody like Hagel gets in the game the other three are toast.

Posted by: global yokel on February 18, 2007 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK


TLB: What happens when you throw out crap like this is people begin to put you on the same low level as Atrios and ThinkProgress.
KEVIN DRUM: TLB: Go watch the video. It's the one called "Stand Up." Then come back and tell us if you really think Ann's comment was off the mark.
You get thousands of comments every week, responding to maybe a handful of them. So do you pick out those which explore your analysis in depth and perhaps add new insight? Or do you perhaps engage with someone who has a valid criticism or who has exposed a genuine contradiction in your work? No. You choose to respond to a known troll who insults two highly respected fellow bloggers on the left. Do you actually suppose that someone who thinks Atrios and ThinkProgress are "low level" is going to toddle of to watch the McCain video and come back convinced it was militaristic propaganda of the type employed by the Nazis? Or is it that you, yourself, think Atrios and ThinkProgress are "low level" and it's very important to you that TLB not believe you have sunk to their depths? Odd priority, I'd say.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 18, 2007 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. I wonder what she thinks of the fine works of D.W. Griffith? Perhaps the McCain campaign can consult with him beyond the grave as regards subtlety.

Posted by: Xanthippas on February 18, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

If somebody like Hagel gets in the game the other three are toast.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that there is such a thing as a "sensible Republican," why in the world would they want to follow an act like shrub? The GOP's reputation is in tatters thanks to him, and the situation in all its aspects (foreign, domestic, military, economic etc.) is a catastrophic mess. Only a loony would jump into that, at least on the Republican side.

Personally, I'm pulling for them to nominate Brownback. Grinding him into the dirt would be fun. And having him lose to Clinton or Obama would drive the wingnuts into a depth of frothing insane despair that would be highly therapeutic to watch.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 18, 2007 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

I think that when all is said and done, Jeb Bush will be the next occupant of the White House.

How this scenario is going to be brought forth is somewhat murky at this point.

Posted by: gregor on February 18, 2007 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Jayarbee: What?

It's a weekend. Lighten up. Get some air. You're projecting.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 18, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Poor John McCain. He lives in the strange post-9/11 pre-11/7 world where this advertising works on "Independent" voters. He thinks that *something* will turn in his favor and push voters back in that direction. Maybe it will be the surge, or perhaps a surge of anti-Iran sentiment will do the trick. (It worked for Reagan, the Alpha and the Omega of contemporary Conservatism.)

I wouldn't worry too much about Althouse. Her ilk are only this cynical in an off-election year. In a face-off against Clinton, this type of ad will make them salute their televisions with tears in their eyes. Don't cry for Giuliani, though. He well is much, much deeper than McCain's. If he's the GOP candidate, every day will be 9/11. That campaign is gonna produce some GREAT ads.

Posted by: Tuna on February 18, 2007 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

What the hell was that? It was a self-parody. Hitler wasn't 70+ when Triumph of the Will came out. To make good fascist propaganda, you have to look young and virile. The only old Republican in recent memory who could have at least removed that layer of self-parody would have been Reagen. It would have only been fascistic, not get-off-my-lawn fascistic. And did they have to get the picture of that blonde (his wife?) that made her look like she was the ideal Aryan women from Nazi propaganda?

Posted by: Reality Man on February 18, 2007 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

If I were McCain, I'd skip black-and-white and go all the way back to silent film.

Re-brand it "The Straight Still-Shots-Intercut-With-Calligraphic-Placards Express" or something like that...

Posted by: Chris on February 18, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Hitler wasn't 70+ when Triumph of the Will came out." Important point. The video was pretty tame and predictable really. Now, if the 2004 Republican Convention was in black and white on TV with Zel Miller...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 18, 2007 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Triumph of the Viagra.

Posted by: Nads on February 18, 2007 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Ann Althouse, fascist that she is, would be an expert of Rifensthhl, of course. We should take her word on this.

Posted by: CN on February 18, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

The geriatric leper from Arizona with chipmunk cheeks has no chance whatsoever of winning the presidency. None. He should take up stamp collecting or gardening or something more appropriate for a shell-shocked old veteran...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 18, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Does it start with an ewok's battle cry? I keep expecting Condi to step out in a floor length black leather coat.

They could have done a pretty cool piece if they focused on his comedic comb-over and podium smilgasms.

Posted by: B on February 18, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, as long as Godwin's law is null . . . do you think McCain can do for comb-overs what Hitler did for the toothbrush moustache? We could eliminate one more barbershop fashion faux pas from the face of the planet.

Posted by: B on February 18, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Did you know that America is composed almost entirely of soldiers and crowds? And that there are no women in America except John McCain's (ahem, second) wife and one female McCain staffer? In addition, did you know that the daughter of McCain, who is not white, also does not exist?

I tell you, it's a very strange America John McCain is living and shooting his campaign videos in.

Posted by: anonymous on February 18, 2007 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Cute. Mentioning McCain and Leni Riefenstahl's opus in the same sentence.

It is so hard to read these comments while surrounded by the chatter of my friends the terrorists, whose side I am, naturally, on, as clearly shown by my criticism of Bush's actions, which is, of course, a patent demonstration of how much I hate the U.S. and, further, the troops. Oh, and Iraq and 9/11! Saddamn and the World Trade Center!

Posted by: shortstop on February 18, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: It's a weekend. Lighten up. Get some air. You're projecting.

In jayarbee's defense, your comment might make sense if you did any heavy lifting in the comments during the week. No other blogger I know is as disengaged from his comments section. It's really strange.

Posted by: shortstop on February 18, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Once McCain is forced to release his medical records the party is over.
People were talking today that every single president has been a white male--what's up with that?

Posted by: consider wisely always on February 18, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like jayarbee touched a nerve.

And you never answered the question.

What moved you to respond to that particular post, Kevin?

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on February 18, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

The music sounded more like the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack to me. Made me want to drink rum and wear lots of eyeliner.

Posted by: Royko on February 18, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

I watched the video, and I want to know...
Where are the Valkeries riding out of Valhalla?

Posted by: Hunter on February 18, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just put the final nail in his own campaign's coffin - he came out against Row v. Wade.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on February 19, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Ann Althouse's level of discourse is to assert that her critics have tiny pricks.

Why waste your time?

Posted by: Roger Ailes on February 19, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Although Ms. Riefenstahl's movie is a masterpiece of propaganda cinema, it had little to do with Hilter's rise to, and manipulation of, power, which was achieved through the medium of radio. Radio is a hot medium, able to mobilize the masses.

Posted by: Brojo on February 19, 2007 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

"Mentioning McCain and Leni Riefenstahl's opus in the same sentence."

Dear heart, Kevin was simply quoting Althouse; if you have a beef with the connection, perhaps you should have a chat with her?

Amusingly enough, Althouse used an Atrios post to bolster her point about us evil liberals being so terribly unfair to poor little John. The quote (in reference to McCain's site)? "Imperial Stormtrooper Chic." The last time I checked, that referred to "Star Wars," not "Triumph of the Will." Someone should tell Althouse that there is a difference between the two.

Posted by: PaulB on February 19, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Cute. Mentioning McCain and Leni Riefenstahl's opus in the same sentence."

Ann Altmouse is a right-wing blogger (although she likes to pose as a libertarian). That Leni Riefenstahl comparison is Kevin Drum quoting what a right-winger has to say about McCain's campaign video.

Posted by: nemo on February 20, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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