Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 20, 2008

THE RIGHT HAND AND THE FAR-RIGHT HAND.... Sometimes, Republicans are so quick to go on the attack, they manage to trip over themselves.

Republicans denounced an e-mail message that Senator Barack Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, sent to supporters on Friday that used the fiscal crisis as fodder for a fund-raising appeal and accused Senator John McCain of lying.

"With Wall Street in crisis and families struggling, Barack offered a solid plan to strengthen the middle class, including tax cuts for nearly all Americans," Mr. Plouffe wrote in the message. "John McCain continued the same old politics -- lying about Barack's plan and offering more of the same George Bush policies, including more tax breaks for Big Oil and no solutions for working families."

Alex Conant, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, called the fund-raising plea "the definition of political opportunism."

That's not completely unreasonable criticism; fundraising off of a crisis does come across as a little tacky. But this is a case in which the right hand didn't know what the far-right hand was doing.

At the exact same time the RNC was slamming the Obama campaign for using the Wall Street crisis to raise money, the McCain campaign was using the Wall Street crisis to raise money. In emails sent to McCain donors, the campaign explained, "The American economy is in a crisis. It is in a crisis," and promoted headlines such as, "McCain Promises to 'Clean Up Wall Street.'" The McCain campaign email also connected the solicitation to a recent TV ad, which begins, "When our economy's in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork."

What was that line about "the definition of political opportunism"?

Steve Benen 10:09 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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Do you really think the right hand doesn't know what the far right hand is doing? They are just following the playbook, accuse your opponent of doing the shady things that you are doing. This has been taught in propaganda 101 for decades.

Posted by: bigTom on September 20, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

The question is not why Repubs do it but why the Dems don't.

Posted by: gregor on September 20, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Our economy is in crisis. But the fundamentals of our crisis are strong!

Posted by: John McCain on September 20, 2008 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I got that e-mail, and was rather surprised to see the standard "Donate" button at the bottom. But it's not as though either campaign's e-mail did a hard push for donations. It's just that every e-mail from both of them invites you to donate at the bottom. These guys need to chill the heck out.

They also should have learned from Clinton's efforts that throwing the kitchen sink at Obama doesn't work. They need to pick a message and stick to it, but their own choices (inexperienced running mate, lobbyists on staff, etc.) have undermined their ability to do that. So they don't even have a kitchen sink - more like a handful of washers.

Posted by: The Answer Is Green on September 20, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Hypocrisy is such a difficult business, it's hard not to get your hands tangled up sometimes. But Bush and Cheney have shown us the trick is that the head never knows what either hand is doing.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on September 20, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

For the past one month, it seems, every issue the McCain campaign has been attacking Obama for is the exact attacked-issue the McCain had just been carrying water for. The campaign is attacking Obama in a way that tries to stick Obama with the very weaknesses McCain embodies himself. What charlatans these Republicans are these days! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 20, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Steve go check out the new AP poll its internal questions are so bad its mind boggling. Borderline racism, truly ron fournier and ap staff need to go cliff jumping

Posted by: jesse on September 20, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican policy: "Do as I say, Not as I do.

Posted by: wbn on September 20, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Um... I get fundraising request emails from David Plouffe just about daily. I didn't notice this one because ... he sends these constantly. So he referenced the Wall Street crisis? How is this any different than referencing the housing crisis, the high cost of gas, Ike, the decline of good health insurance, or unemployment?

News flash. Fundraisers often cite current events. Details at eleven.

Color me "Don't give a damn".

Posted by: anonymous on September 20, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I just want to support Jesse's suggestion about the Stanford run, AP-Yahoo poll about the race factor. Given the realities of the McCain record and potential as exposed on a daily basis, if 17% of white Clinton supporters will vote for McCain, that is a strong indictment of the Clinton legacy. I'll believe it when it happens, maybe. What happened in 2000 is a lesson few will forget, especially if reminded often in the last 2 weeks.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on September 20, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

how about someone putting a little clip together using the RNC's exact words the definition of political opportunism and then run a short clip of the McCain ad where he lambasts 'big' government (minus the mentioning of Obama)

Posted by: bruno on September 20, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK



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