Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Why does Sen. John McCain want to be President?

It's not often that I run the opposition's dirty work, the smear material devoid of issues but filled instead with malignant innuendo, but here you go:

Yep, if ever there was a whiny petulant campaign ad in a Presidential race, this is it. Imagine -- Obama's popular, hence he must be wrong for America. But what's really wrong, per Chris Bowers:

Let's do a quick rundown of the identity politics at work in such a comparison:

  • Obama is a girly-man. The ad only compares Obama to female celebrities, which is a direct shot at Obama's "manliness."
  • Obama will sleep with your white daughters: Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears are known for their sexuality as much as anything else. That must go for Barack Obama, too. And the history of attacking African-Americans in association with white women is such a positive one.
  • Obama is too young: For a campaign that is hyper-sensitive to attacks on McCain's age, they certainly have no problem attacking Obama's age. Which is what comparing Obama to Spears and Hilton is.
  • Obama is a Hollywood liberal: This is also a run of the mill attack on Obama as a Hollywood, liberal elite, in line with decades of conservative backlash narratives.
This is really atrocious stuff, and trying to bring out all of the worst aspects of America in order to win an election. At this point, the McCain campaign is just hitting Obama with whatever it can think of, and seeing if Obama will respond.
Obama's response? Brilliantly flips McCain's tactics around and uses them to reinforce Obama's core message...:

..which can't help but leave you thinking as well about McCain's age. What makes it fair game is that McCain's low road strategy -- or that of the Bush campaign vets like Karl Rove running his media campaign -- is to make Obama "other" whether black or foreign or uppity. In response, Obama is essentially painting McCain as "other" -- someone we don't really know as well as we thought, someone from a dark past from which we're all straining to break free, come November 4th.

If McCain can't run on the issues and won't bow out, if his only chance is to make this election a referendum not on eight years of failed Republican policies but on Obama, and if he can successfully muddy his image, he'll lose for sure. Hillary Clinton tried some similar tactics and ended up losing anyway, behind where it counted from early in the race, just like McCain.

Obama is exponentially better organized than McCain -- finalizing plans to use his stadium speech as the world's largest phone bank at the Democratic National Convention, reaching out to Republicans currently in the shadows, and for the first time breaking 50% in a national poll. And McCain, who's shredding his clean campaigning pledge with his media attacks being labeled "childish" and self-reductive by his former confidante and ally, he's desperately trying to define Obama as out of touch?

Per Barack, when asked about the ads earlier today:

Obama noted McCain had stepped up his attacks against him and questioned his approach.

"I don't pay attention to John McCain's ads, although I do notice he doesn't seem to have anything very positive to say about himself," Obama told reporters after visiting a diner in Lebanon, Missouri.

"He seems to only be talking about me," Obama said. "You need to ask John McCain what he's for, not just what he's against."

That's right. Everyone knows what Obama is running on: Change. That We. Can Believe In.

Meaning Change, Unity, Hope.

And John? What is he running on?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow is August. August is when the swift-boating begins.

Hold onto your hat.