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Tilting at Windmills

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July 31, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

COSSACKS AND CZARS....At the New York Times, Jim Rutenberg lays out the McCain campaign strategy and where it comes from:

After spending much of the summer searching for an effective line of attack against Senator Barack Obama, Senator John McCain is beginning a newly aggressive campaign to define Mr. Obama as arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency.

....Mr. McCain's campaign is now under the leadership of members of President Bush's re-election campaign, including Steve Schmidt, the czar of the Bush war room that relentlessly painted his opponent, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, as effete, elite, and equivocal through a daily blitz of sound bites and Web videos that were carefully coordinated with Mr. Bush's television advertisements.

The run of attacks against Mr. Obama over the last couple of weeks have been strikingly reminiscent of that drive.

That's pretty clear. And the cossacks work for the czar, right? Not quite:

As Election Day nears, McCain's campaign is adopting the aggressive, take-no-prisoners style of Karl Rove, the GOP operative who engineered victories for President Bush....But the sharp-edged approach is being orchestrated for an unpredictable candidate who often chafes at delivering the campaign's message of the day. It is that freewheeling style that has made him popular with voters and cemented his reputation for candor and straight talk.

That's Juliet Eilperin and Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, who evidently can't abide the thought that McCain himself is responsible for his campaign's "sharp-edged" approach. Apparently he's just a straight talking guy who woke up one morning and found himself mysteriously under the sway of a vile cabal of political hit men and unable to do anything about it.

Enough's enough. McCain hired Steve Schmidt, he approves the strategy, and he signs off on the ads. If his campaign is mired in sleaze, it's not happening despite McCain, it's happening because of McCain. Stop making excuses for him.

Kevin Drum 12:43 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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I'll never understand the brain deadiness it takes for WaPo reporters or anyone else to write that kind of drivel. It is so far removed from reality that the reporters knowingly print falsehoods.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on July 31, 2008 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Call me crazy but, I think the sexual symbolism of the 'Celeb' ad runs even deeper than previously acknowledged. Consider the visual and audio markers:

1. First, two famous, attractive white women known in part (or in whole) for their promiscuity. [previously noted]

2. Immediately thereafter, photos of Obama and a voiceover describing him as "the BIGGEST celebrity in the world."

3. Next, camera flashes (which are obviously associated with publicity, but also with a different unsavory industry on the web... ahem).

4. Then, a shot which makes the tall, dark victory column awkwardly prominent (i.e. - Obama is squeezed into the lower right corner). It's taken from a terrible camera angle, which is probably why we haven't seen much footage like it on the networks. (Correct me if I'm wrong?) I think the real reason for the inclusion of the shot is to hit on a theme that Rush Limbaugh pushed the other day: http://big-girl.livejournal.com/1136521.html

5. Then, a second camera shot which pans up from the crowd and focuses on the tall column.

6. Finally, a voiceover and overlay pertaining to "drilling." (Even though offshore drilling is common line of attack for McCain, it seems oddly placed as the first volley in an ad that mostly focuses on Obama's celebrity status.)

Maybe I'm just a pervert or a crackpot for assuming this is all intentional, but if the admaker is already channeling semi-obscure fascist imagery (see here: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/liberal-fascism), I absolutely wouldn't put it past them to reach for subconscious sexual triggers (a la the "call me" attack ad against Harold Ford Jr. two years ago).

Anybody else agree with this? Or am I really just crazy?

Posted by: Anon on July 31, 2008 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

...he's just a straight talking guy who woke up one morning and found himself mysteriously under the sway of a vile cabal of political hit men and unable to do anything about it.

In America, you'll change the government, the weather, and probably the value of pi, before you'l change The Narrative.

On the tombstone of the Republic will be the epitaph "Killed By A Story Arc".

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 31, 2008 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Two (of a few) big differences from 2004: The Obama campaign seems primed to instantly reply. And more important, they should have the money to out-shout McCain.

Posted by: CSF on July 31, 2008 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

What part of "I am John McCain and I approve this message" don't these people understand?

Posted by: riffle on July 31, 2008 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently he's just a straight talking guy who woke up one morning and found himself mysteriously under the sway of a vile cabal of political hit men and unable to do anything about it.

He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't--and rightly so. He controls his campaign or he doesn't. He knows WTF he and his campaign is doing or he doesn't. At present, the answer seems to be he doesn't.

While he's shown some spine a few issues, as the months have progressed, he appears to be more a follower than a leader. Not what the country needs in a POTUS.

Posted by: has407 on July 31, 2008 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

It is that freewheeling style that has made him popular with voters and cemented his reputation for candor and straight talk.

This shit just makes me barf. Of course, even the "liberal" LA Times seems to think this.

Posted by: craigie on July 31, 2008 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

IOW - McCain is telling the truth.

And Kraft runs ads from which one would be led to believe that Velveeta™ is cheese...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 31, 2008 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

So the candidate who claimed he would solve all the problems in the Middle East by sitting everybody down and telling them to "stop the bullshit" can't even get the bullshit to stop flowing out of his own campaign. Nice.

Posted by: Dover Bitch on July 31, 2008 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Two (of a few) big differences from 2004: The Obama campaign seems primed to instantly reply. And more important, they should have the money to out-shout McCain.

My thoughts on watching this tonight and over the last couple of weeks...

also - most of the time, Obama has a lighter touch than Kerry. Kerry was always demanding someone apologize. Bad idea. The clip I saw of Obama tonight was great - he looked relaxed and loose, was laughing - it was good. (Course..in Bizarro World he may look childish and arrogant, I don't know.)

Responding quickly and well is key. I like that Obama countered with noting "same old politics" and then moved on to making positive points. And my sense (and hope) is that the attacks don't mesh well with McCain's image as being above the dirty style of Bushian politics. He keeps putting his name on bad ads. And it may get old - people may stop listening in the stretch.

Posted by: Miss Otis on July 31, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

"a newly aggressive campaign to define Mr. Obama as arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency."

Umm, there's no need to attempt to "define" Obama this way, because that exactly describes him. So the campaign merely needs to communicate this to the public.

This is known as "truth telling".

Sorry, but that's just how it is.

Posted by: am on July 31, 2008 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

I dont think their is anything more arrogant than guys who flew fighter jets.

Posted by: Jet on July 31, 2008 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Obama out of touch? Comnpared to McCain? Jesus, McCain doesn't even know how to use a computer. It's like not knowing how to use a toaster. What a joke.

Posted by: mkultra on July 31, 2008 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

to define Mr. Obama as arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency

Arrogance, we might concede as a necessary trait in any individual capable of running for the most powerful office in the world, though I haven't personally noted any attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner, nor any presumptuous claims or assumptions.

Out of touch? Please. Obama's position on every policy issue of note is closer to the view of the populace than McCain. He proposes workable solutions to the many real crises facing us, not the inconsistent, oft incoherent hand-waving that issues forth from the McCain campagin.

Unprepared for the presidency? You've got to be kidding me. Just in the last week, his trip abroad was more presidential than ANYTHING the current administration has EVER done. In any case, a president should have both judgment and experience, but if I had to choose one, I know which one I'd pick.

Better trolls, please.

Posted by: dob on July 31, 2008 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

This is known as "truth telling". Sorry, but that's just how it is. -am

Thats called an opinion and most opinions arent truthful at all because its someone projecting what they think on someone else. Its like me saying am is arrogant and its true because I am 'truth telling'. Sorry thats the way it is now try to disprove the negative truth about yourself.

Posted by: on July 31, 2008 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe that is how you and Hansen choose to see him, am, but I actually had a few minutes with the guy in Independence, MO a few weeks ago, and that is not how he came across to me, or the hundreds of supporters packed into a basketball auditorium in the Truman community building.

Keep pushing that meme, but it ain't gonna work - Today both Obama and McCain were in Missouri. Thousands stood in line for the limited tickets to see Obama in Rolla and Springfield, while McCain's visit got one of two reactions: it was for the most part ignored, and there was no sign-waiving throng at the airport. But people who were caught on the freeway or otherwise negatively impacted by the motorcade were, how shall I put it? I guess less than charitable will have to suffice.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on July 31, 2008 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

THE TRASH TALK EXPRESS

Posted by: Kevin k on July 31, 2008 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, trolls appear to be vanquished for now, so I am going to bed. But I leave you with the origins of the term "maverick." No liquids.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on July 31, 2008 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

all true, but let us nonetheless spend a moment on the cossacks.

these guys are all fundamentally totalitarians; they would have been at home in the middle levels of the kremlin. they only know one way, and it's the thug way.

they are the only organization the republican party has left.

it's a remarkable spectacle, and who knows: the machine is old and creaking and a shadow of its former shelf, but it's a street fighting machine and can never be ruled out due to its lack of any scruples whatsoever.

it is, in short, an immensely frightening group of cossaks that work for a nincompoop czar at this point....

Posted by: howard on July 31, 2008 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Damn straight, Kevin. McCain is a senile, mean-spirited, bitter old fool who can't even remember where he is unless he reads it off cue cards. Why anyone would want this Alzheimer's patient as a president is a fucking mystery.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 31, 2008 at 6:15 AM | PERMALINK

The most important thing is not the Republithug attacks, which we knew were coming at some point, but Obama's response. His surrogates have been pitch perfect with a "more in sorrow than in anger approach" - "We know John McCain is a better man than this, we don't understand why he is doing this" - but unfortunately, Obama himself has continued to veer into territory that will continue to feed the "arrogance" narrative - i.e., "Well, the trip was the same kind of thing McCain did - bit WE did it very well". I don't have a problem with that approach, but I always try to envision how things would play with my father-in-law, the prototypical 'Reagan Democrat', who will this year also be battling against a baseline of racial prejudice, even though he would never admit it, probably not even to himself. I can guarantee he would not like the aforementioned Obama response about the trip. Much better to stick with the the expressions of dismay and sorrow, sharpened a bit with language that comes just short of calling McCain a liar by pointing out the things that "he must just not know" about Obama's positions on whatever issue is being flogged that day. It reinforces the 'doddering fool' narrative against McCain, which is probably the most effective counter Obama has for voters who are going to vote on emotion rather than rationality.

Posted by: dcsusie on July 31, 2008 at 6:28 AM | PERMALINK

I was concerned until I saw Obama's latest response ad last evening. Frankly, it is perfect. McCain is getting serious push back around the water cooler. I don't know why the slime machine picked Spears and Hilton but if they did because they want folks to think that Obama is just another celebrity airhead it isn't working. Nobody thinks Obama is an intellectual light weight. New maybe, inexperienced perhaps, but an intellectual light weight, never. That is a dog that just don't hunt.

If they are blowing a Harold Ford dog whistle then their timing and delivery is way off. Ford, who if memory serves, was single and had a reputation as a ladies man, probably was trying to hook up with young blond women. The ad was ugly, but it played into a widely held view of Ford.

One thing for sure about Obama is that he is a family guy. I suspect the Republican and Clinton oppo research people have turned the covers in every hotel Obama has ever stayed in looking for his version of Lewinski or Flowers or (you get the picture.) I have never heard a word about any infidelity. Have you?

When you go negative it helps that your charge have at least some substance. It has to feed a common perception. In this case the ad campaign is just driving McCain's negatives higher and higher. He is coming off looking like a lying grumpy old man out of touch. His staff must be made up of closet Obama supporters. They aren't doing him any favors.

The attempt to divorce McCain from his Rovian staff is damage control. It is probably being pushed by the Rovian staff who have been stung by the media reaction. It won't work. The buck stops with the candidate who approves all the messages.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 31, 2008 at 7:55 AM | PERMALINK

Can't control his staff, can't stick to his message, can't remember which is Shiite, which is Sunni. This guy will do just great at foreign relations.

Posted by: dr2chase on July 31, 2008 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

I like the theme that McCain is not in control of his campaign. It fits in with effective themes: that McCain is not in control of his temper, and not in control of the criminal element that will continue to run the country after he becomes President.

Since the media is establishing this theme, ride it for a while instead of fighting it. When McCain fights back to declare he is controlling the campaign, then stick him with the exact words of his campaign. Rope-a-dope!

Posted by: Xenos on July 31, 2008 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Arrogance" is just another term for 'uppity n_____'. But this is only the beginning; just wait until late October....

Posted by: bigapplegeorgiapeach on July 31, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

That Rutenberg guy's article is the biggest thumbsucking piece of cut-and-paste I've ever seen. The election is a referendum on Obama, yada, yada, yada.

Oh, and it's really to laugh at. In the last column, way down, it notes the "didn't visit the troops" ad and, in a parenthetical, no less, says that it was criticized by Obama's people and "undercut" by the versions of reporters!!! Undercut, my foot! It was goddamn disproved.

Also, are these reporters completely aware of the context of this stuff? Turns out, according to yesterdays CNN poll that the troops ad had no effect whatsoever -- 67% of respondents say Obama respects the troops or whatever.

Posted by: David in NY on July 31, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't part of the rationale for the McCain-Fiengold law that people running for political office shouldn't be able to say that they weren't aware of the tactics being employed by their campaign?

Or, as riffle said, "What part of 'I am John McCain and I approve this message' don't these people understand?"

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on July 31, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

David Ignatius takes the same line in this morning's column:

What's damaging the McCain campaign now, I suspect, is that this fiercely independent man is trying to please other people -- especially a Republican leadership that doesn't really trust him. He should give that up and be the person whose voice shines through the pages of his life story.

By 'his life story,' Ignatius meant McCain's 1999 autobiography. Dude, that was nine years ago. McCain hasn't been that person for years. And you still think that's the true McCain. Idiot.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on July 31, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, John -- don't worry about losing to someone who's "arrogant, out of touch and unprepared for the presidency." Bush isn't running again.

Posted by: sullijan on July 31, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but it needs to be added that Kerry was "effete, elite and equivocal."

He lost the election when he told Barbara Walters that he would have gone into Iraq - "knowing what I know now." Why vote for him?

Posted by: SteinL on July 31, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Enough's enough ... Stop making excuses for him."

This is not going to stop. It's going to get worse.

For the next three months the corporate-owned mass media will shill for Their Man McCain and engage in character assassination against Obama, in close collaboration with the RNC, the McCain campaign, and the right-wing extremist media. That's what happened in 2000 and 2004, and that's exactly what will happen this year, and just as in 2000 and 2004, it will get McCain close enough for the Republicans to steal the election with voter disenfranchisement and fraud.

Sensible liberal blogger-pundits like Kevin and Josh Marshall need to get a clue. These so-called "political journalists" are not stupid or lazy. They are not going to respond to liberals or Democrats who complain about their blatant propaganda. They are employees of giant corporations who want McCain to be the next president, and their job is not to practice "journalism" but to produce propaganda that will advance the agenda of their employers. They know exactly what they are doing, and they do it well, and they are very well paid for it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 31, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Shill reporters work for a pickpocket gang. And it's their job to spew vile nonsense on our sleeves, confusing and distracting us while other gang members lift our wallets.

Posted by: cogswell on July 31, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

It is that freewheeling style that has made him popular with voters and cemented his reputation for candor and straight talk.

Yes, it's the style. In substance, however, his reputation for candor and straight talk should however be destroyed by his actual and pathological lying, flip-flopping, back-tracking, cheating and corruption.

But hey, as long as you've got a reputation for being honest who really cares that you're actually not?

Posted by: Stefan on July 31, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

If appearance is everything, the one thing that Obama does not appear to be is a diva--the person who walks in a room and expect people to look at him. The Clintons, the Bushes, the Kerrys, all gave off that sense of entitled personal drama.

Obama is cool--confronted by events, the first thing he does is think; the second thing he does is recognize that confidence and intelligence are fostered by a calm atmosphere, and conduct the meeting accordingly.

No wonder the likes of Steve Schmidt are going nuts. They're not running a campaign, they're bulking out their portfolios.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on July 31, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

....But the sharp-edged approach is being orchestrated for an unpredictable candidate who often chafes at delivering the campaign's message of the day.

So who is running for the presidency anyway? McCain, or a nameless group in the background that is using him as a front man?

If it is McCain, his not being able to direct the message the campaign puts out tells me he would not be able to direct the implementation of policy if he became president. People who are important in campaigns often get jobs in the administration. If he can't control them enough to stay off the low road now, why would anyone think he could do it later when there would be many issues acting as distractions?

But then, maybe McCain wants to be president in name only, with the help of the same group of people who put another front man into the White House eight and four years ago.

Either way, McCain is not president material.

Posted by: jcricket on July 31, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Arrogance" is just another term for 'uppity n_____'. But this is only the beginning; just wait until late October....

Let me make a prediction. Here is what Thesaurus.com lists as synonyms for uppity:

Uppity - impudent - Rude and disrespectful.
Synonyms: assuming, assumptive, audacious, bold, boldfaced, brash, brazen, cheeky, contumelious, familiar, forward, impertinent, insolent, malapert, nervy, overconfident, pert, presuming, presumptuous, pushy, sassy, saucy, smart

My very safe prediction is that we will see many of these terms as the GOP slime machine wastes millions of dollars trying to find a way to say uppity without saying uppity.

I have a feeling they will *not* use contumelious or malapert because their minions don't know WTF those mean. Also, "smart" will take the form of "he thinks he's so smart."

Oh, and pert probably won't make the list because it sounds like a shampoo.

Who knew the GOP could be so educational?

Posted by: Tripp on July 31, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

The WaPo's reporters and columnists have been so consistent with the line on McCain recently that you have to wonder whether this is an explicit editorial policy.

Posted by: skeptonomist on July 31, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

jcricket pondered: "So who is running for the presidency anyway? McCain, or a nameless group in the background that is using him as a front man?"

As Ralph Nader said of George W. Bush, John McCain is a corporation wearing a suit.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 31, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Great comments on this thread - especially noteworthy are Ron Byers and SecularAnimist. The commenters here "get it" much better than the blogmaster or most of the liberal media pundits. The GOP slime merchants are only going to get slimier. They know that there is no fucking way on earth John McCain can win on the issues or on the basis of his intellectual firepower (I had to laugh to myself as I typed those last two words).

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 31, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

As Ralph Nader said of George W. Bush, John McCain is a corporation wearing a suit.

Close, but not far enough. The "corporation" is a front for the ultra-rich executives. There are two levels to the indirection and few people bother seeing the first much less the second.

Posted by: Tripp on July 31, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

If the McCain campaign is a ship riding lower and lower on stormy seas, has McCain got anything left to jettison to lighten the load? Has he got any principles left to sacrifice? He abandoned his reasoned resistance to the Bush tax cuts. He backed off on condemning torture. Now he doesn't think we should stay in Iraq for 10,000 years. He reversed himself after taking the realistic position that taxes might need to raised to keep Social Security viable. He voted against his own immigration bill. Now he's running a campaign exactly like the one run against him by Bush in 2000.

If his campaign ship limps into Port Presidency, the hull will be empty except for the rats.

Posted by: cowalker on July 31, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of levels of indirection, listen to how NPR's economic editor Chris Farrel talks about recent
events.

When asked specifically "how did we get to this point" he dodges the question and begins talking about the economy like it is an act of God or something. Like it is the weather. Like she was asking "how did this hurricane happen?"

This is on a segment called "Straight Story!"

That is the kind of BS faux-journalism we get. Nary a hint that our economic system is created by people and did not spring forth from the head of Zeus. That's what passes for the "Straight Story" these days.

Posted by: Tripp on July 31, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp, I look forward to the later campaign ads.

"That cheeky malapert, Barak Obama, spoke to a crowd of thousands at his latest campaign stop. His saucy wife stood beside him, looking nervy and athletic in her bold purple sheath and pearls. So impertinent of them to believe that African Americans can play on the same field as old white men."

Posted by: cowalker on July 31, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

cowalker,

Don't forget Michelle's pert, ahem, attributes.

Actually I like Michelle and do not mean to be rude or disrespectful to her. I just couldn't pass up the joke.

Posted by: Tripp on July 31, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

And then there was David Ignatius' disgusting little paean to McCain in today's WP:

McCain's triumph, finally, was that he got over Vietnam. He didn't fulminate against antiwar activists. ("I have made far too many mistakes in my own life to forever disparage people.") He accepted the ways America had changed in his absence. He didn't bear grudges. He had finally grown up. McCain wrote in a magazine article soon after his homecoming in March 1973: "Now that I'm back, I find a lot of hand-wringing about this country. I don't buy that. I think America today is a better country than the one I left nearly six years ago."

That healing gift is what McCain, at his best, brings to the presidential race -- not the brass marching band of military valor but the tolerance of someone who has truly suffered. It's evident in his achievements as a senator: He had been tortured himself, so he campaigned, against intense pressure from the Bush administration, for a ban on torture; he had been caught as one of the "Keating Five" in a sleazy campaign finance scandal, so he defied his party and became a crusader for campaign finance and ethics reforms.

What's damaging the McCain campaign now, I suspect, is that this fiercely independent man is trying to please other people -- especially a Republican leadership that doesn't really trust him. He should give that up and be the person whose voice shines through the pages of his life story.

While a lot of Dems are trying to tie McCain to Bush's policies and advertising a McCain presidency as a third term for Bush, what they're missing is that it isn't in their policy choices that McCain and Bush are alike, but rather in their temperment. Both are arrogant SOBs with an outsized sense of entitlement. In McCain's case he has better learned to act humble having been caught up in events beyond his control twice. First by getting shot down over N. Vietnam (a 45 year old piece of history which provides most of the evidence for Ignatius' opinion) and the Keating 5 scandal (which provides the rest of the evidence for the Ignatius piece). Both times he got out of what could have been a mess by acting properly humble, but the rest of his life his actions have spoken much louder than his humble words. When caught doing wrong his reaction has always been, "How dare you accuse me!!!??? I was a prisoner of war, torture victim and I have sponsored campaign reform bills.

It is time to start dealing with the McCain we have and not the McCain we might wish to have.

Posted by: majun on July 31, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

A simple counter-strategy that Barack can use to combat innuendos that he's arrogant: be self-deprecating. He's pretty good at poking fun at himself, and it seems to come easily to him; it wouldn't be a stilted attempt, like with Al Gore wearing earth tones instead of conservative business suits.

Posted by: Fred S. on July 31, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp--that would be a lot of pert in that ad!

I like Michelle too. Even if I didn't choose Obama for hundreds of reasons, I might vote for him to make her First Lady.

Posted by: cowalker on July 31, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Fred S wrote: "... it wouldn't be a stilted attempt, like with Al Gore wearing earth tones instead of conservative business suits."

Why are you repeating 8-year-old, fake, phony, made-up, scripted Republican smears against Al Gore?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 31, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"For the next three months the corporate-owned mass media will shill for Their Man McCain and engage in character assassination against Obama, in close collaboration with the RNC, the McCain campaign, and the right-wing extremist media."

Yup. By the time election day rolls around, the GOP will have convinced a sizeable portion of the electorate that it was Barack Obama who ditched his loyal first wife for an heiress bimbo half his age, while it was Saint John McCain who has steadfastly stayed with wife #1 for 40 years.

Personally, I've seen no evidence that the Obama campaign is remotely adequate to the task of dealing with this. Telling independent 527s to desist from putting out political communications on his behalf was well-intentioned and incredibly naive, as that's about the only means that Dems have of countering the relentless media regurgitation of GOP spin and talking points. There has been virtually no consistent coordination of attack on McCain or the GOP by the Obama campaign and the DNC, and so what comes out is fragmentary and diffuse. It's incredible to me that the Dems have an opposition candidate with a clear record of supporting one of the most unpopular Presidents in American history, yet there is amazingly little in the way of campaign communications tying Bush to McCain. Instead, we're treated to high-minded commercials of Obama talking earnestly about nuclear non-proliferation. The Obama campaign should have spent every day since he clinched the nomination tying Bush to McCain's ankles with advertising on TV and radio, not planning epic speeches to non-constituents in a foreign country.

As is the case every four years, the Dem candidate is the guileless straight-A student who haplessly takes the same route to school every day, and gets relieved of his lunch money by the same bullies who wait for him at the same spot and time. The student agonizes each night about why it happens, but just can't quite grasp the necessity of taking a different route to school, or of the advantage of carrying a blackjack in his coat pocket.

Posted by: bluestatedon on July 31, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

"If his campaign is mired in sleaze, it's not happening despite McCain, it's happening because of McCain. Stop making excuses for him."

Why would they (the media) stop now? It looks like it's working.

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