12 September 2008

The recent nonsense, Part II

Speaking of the Hopemonger, his M.O. never ceases to make me laugh: First, you demand civility from your opponent, and speak in grand terms about engaging in a new kind of post-partisan campaign. Next, you take cheap shots at your opponent, distort his record and deploy surrogates to attack his character. Then, you express outrage that he hits you back, and insist that such attacks on you and your patriotism are the hallmark of the old, tired politics of yesterday.

As McCain communications director Mark Salter noted, that's called hypocrisy, and it's the oldest kind of politics that there is.

The latest Changemaker ad hits McCain for still being computer-illiterate, and shows less-than-flattering footage of him during his first term in Congress (circa 1982) wearing an ugly sportcoat and oversized glasses. The ad is complete with a disco ball, Rubik's Cube and an oversized cell phone. The point? John McCain is out of touch, so you should vote for Barack Obama.


To any Obama supporter: Is this really what your candidate means by a "new kind of politics?" I'd love to hear a response.

This post was originally meant to address the "lipstick on a pig" comments. So here's my take:

Taken in a vacuum, my first inclination was to defend the Hopemonger against Republican charges that he was referencing Gov. Palin. Then I started to think back to the last six months, and what we've learned about this "new kind of politics" he's peddling.

Throughout the Democratic primary and into the summer, Obama made sure to punctuate any remarks about McCain with a reference to his "five decades of service to this country." On the one hand, I saw such remarks as a cheap way to highlight the fact that McCain has been around for a long time. On the other, though, I thought it gracious of the Changemaker to acknowledge that he's running against an American hero.

Late in the spring, in response to an attack from McCain, Obama said that the Senior Senator was "losing his bearings." On one hand, that struck me as a not-so-veiled dig at McCain's age. On the other, I simply chalked it up to a slip of the tongue and thought little else of it.

In June before an audience in Florida and in July in Virginia, Obama warned that Republicans would "try to make you scared of me" because, among other things, "he doesn't look like all those presidents on the dollar bills." This, ladies and gentlemen, is called playing the race card. Team Hope attempted to explain their candidate's comments by pointing out that Obama is much younger than, say, George Washington (thanks, professor). Right...

Earlier this week, Obama made two comments that drew heavy fire -- the first was the "lipstick on the pig" comment. Taken by itself, I found it somewhat innocuous. Then I heard that Obama's crowd laughed and gleefully began a chant of, "No more pit bull!" I also read the second, less controversial remark -- that if you take an old, smelly fish and wrap it in paper called "change," it still stinks.

Lipstick? Old fish? I wonder what each of those terms could refer to.

Give. Me. A. Break.

At the risk of sounding like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, I've become convinced that Obama knows exactly what he's doing. These aren't mere slips of the tongue or innocuous responses to McCain attacks. They are carefully calculated, only-slightly veiled shots at his opponents. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Limbaugh and others on the right are convinced that Team Hope is imploding before our eyes. I'm not sure that's the case. He's still the favorite, and it's taken a near-flawless campaign by Team Maverick over the past 10 weeks to even the race. McCain and Palin will need to be on message, avoid gaffes and outperform Obama and Biden in the upcoming debates. Palin, specifically, must look like she knows what she's talking about as the press gains further access to her.

No matter how this race turns out, it's become eminently clear to me that, as Bill Clinton has admitted to his closest friends in private, Obama is nothing more than another product of Chicago's Daly Machine.

I suppose the question is whether any of his disciples can bring themselves to admit it.

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