August 22, 2008

Yesterday was the day the presidential campaign turned ugly.

Let's remember the date. I think it started when McCain mumbled a nonanswer to the question how many houses did he own. The Obama campaign chomped at what looked like yummy bait and spewed a clunky class warfare ad, and then the McCain campaign took that as license to churn out a local-election-style negative ad about Obama and Rezko.

Then there was this ad too — not an official campaign ad — but nevertheless a warning of how bad things are going to get:



Andrew Sullivan says:
The far right goes there. The source of the smear is a group called the American Issues Project. According to Ben Smith, its spokesman, Christian Pinkston, is a former aide to presidential candidate Jack Kemp, and went on to run the conservative group Empower America. Jack Kemp must be proud, don't you think? And Stanley Kurtz just had an obasm.
I wonder if Sullivan knows that Rush Limbaugh uses the word "obasm." Limbaugh uses it, however, not to describe the response of Obama haters, but Obama lovers. Interestingly different uses of the sexual metaphor, no?

And let's think about what it means to have gone there. What's the there to which we should be so concerned about not going? At the Ben Smith link (above), we see this:
The use of 9/11 imagery links Ayers, and Obama, to the American conflict Islamic terror, which is the subject of many viral e-mails attacking Obama.

The group's spokesman, Christian Pinkston, called the suggestion that the group is making any link with Islam "unfair."

"The idea here was to talk about the fact that his friends hate America, and that's who he's aligning himself with," he said.
I heard and saw the ad a few times without hearing any insinuation that Obama is Muslim, but perhaps that's because I know who Ayers is and what the Weathermen were. If the there to which one is not to go is simply terrorism, I agree that it's ridiculous to suggest that Obama is a terrorist, but it is certainly legitimate to investigate his connection to Ayers — as Stanley Kurtz is trying to do:
William Ayers—and his ties to Barack Obama—have re-emerged as an issue this week after Stanley Kurtz recounted Aug. 18 in the conservative National Review how he was unable to access 132 boxes of records of internal files for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge stored at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Ayers is a professor.

Ayers was a founder of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which focuses on school reform, and Obama was chairman of the board at the time he was getting his start in Chicago politics.

A 1960s radical in the Weather Underground, Ayers spent several years as a fugitive. Today, he’s a college professor and prominent political activist in Chicago.

Obama has described Ayers as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” and has said it’s absurd to link him to the terrorist acts Ayers participated in during the 1960s, including planting bombs in the Pentagon. “And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense,” Obama has said....

The Chicago Tribune pressed [Mayor Richard M.] Daley Wednesday on whether the documents should be released. “People keep trying to align himself with Barack Obama,” Daley said of Ayers. “It’s really unfortunate. They’re friends. So what? People do make mistakes in the past. You move on. This is a new century, a new time. He reflects back and he’s been making a strong contribution to our community.”
Well, if everything's just lovely, release the documents.

87 comments:

Meade said...

"Well, if everything's just lovely, release the documents."

Yes, or just have Barak's friend and presumed future Secretary of Education Bill Ayers sit down for an interview with Rick Warren. That would work.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

I recall this similar thing happening last election cycle. All kinds of attacks were hurled by Kerry's side, if not their actual office at Bush. As a removed observer with no particular affection for either, I wondered, for weeks I wondered, when the Republicans would finally respond and begin hurling back. The adage, that you can't engage in a shit flinging contest without getting any on you, came to mind. At long last they did respond and the caterwauling was incredible. (Even in my own building where I lived at the time, from dim-witted partisan observers who never saw the outrageous original attacks as anything but ordinary reporting, specifically Bush's service record. )

It's not the color of skin that's notable here, it's the thickness, should say thinness. How do these loons expect to hurl such ridiculous accusations without being answered in kind? Answer: they don't. They're too smart for that. It's a false effrontery.

But I wonder, still reading Sullivan? I'm not.

Roger J. said...

It does look like this campaign is going to hit a new high in lows--The rumors about Obama being a muslim are just ridiculous, especially given the controversy over the pastor of his (christian) church he has attended for the last 20 plus years.

It looks to me like the republicans are going to be able to define Obama better than Obama can define McCain, and that does not bode well for Obama. Ads don't have to be true to be effective. Sad to say.

The ad thing has obscured what I think was a telling Obama gaffe yesterday when he compared the US to Russia. This house kerfluffle is probably diverting attention from that much more telling (IMO) statement. I for one would be very interested in hearing both candidates views on how what diplomacy they intend to pursue with Russia. The reemergence of a Russia pursuing a Tsarist style foreign policy is ominous.

TMink said...

How can it be a smear when the data is accurate? It cannot. The left now just calls inconvienent truth's swiftboating which means "That is the truth but we do not find it to our advantage so we will attack the messager."

Trey

Peter V. Bella said...

”I agree that it's ridiculous to suggest that Obama is a terrorist…”


It is ridiculous. It is not ridiculous to question Obama’s commitment to fight political supporters of terrorism when he aligns himself with former domestic terrorists- Ayers and his wife Dohrn; especially terrorists who got away with it, suffered no consequences for their actions, and did very well for themselves. Crime pays. While Ayers has eschewed terrorism in his book, he has made some controversial comments while abroad.

Also, Ayers father was a political power player in Chicago as head of a major utility and responsible for much real estate development. He may have influenced the outcome for his son. There are more questions about Ayers than there are answers. They are legitimate questions.

The real problem with all of this is people like us; old enough to remember the Weathermen and their Weather Underground, old enough to maybe have known one ot two of them, old enough to remember the violence in the streets, and old enough to remember how they disappeared and laughed at the law for many years. Some who are old enough to remember this are in the media or are pundits and they keep it alive for whatever reason; even in favor of leaving them alone. Look at all the sympathy Ms. Olson got before she was sent to prison.

As to the papers from the Annenberg Challenge, it is my understanding that the owners of the papers have not formally transferred ownership to the University yet. The University of Illinois cannot release the documents until the ownership is transferred to them. That is according to the media here in Chicago.

Salamandyr said...

Yet again, I see someone claiming that accusing Obama of being a Muslim is "ridiculous". Okay, but who is doing that?

Aside from that chain letter that is oh so credible, who, in any position of power or influence is doing that?

Barry said...

This is where I stopped reading yesterday and just laughed:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/08/21/mccain_spokesmans_retort_obama.html

McCain Spokesman's Retort: Obama Lives in "a Frickin' Mansion"

He also added: "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.

That last line... it's like a comedian, not a politician (or politician's spokesman). They're just looking for the punch line that will be the next day's meme.

Both sides are reaching new levels of absurdity. Maybe we'll get some substance again when we start having debates. But really, is there any more substance left to uncover? These guys have been at it for well over a year. If journalists haven't dug up anything significant on either of them yet, there can't be much out there. And the events of the next two months shouldn't really shake the foundations of their belief systems or their hypothetical plans.

Let's have the conventions, then either a media black-out until the debates or vote the next week. Spare us more of this crap.

downtownlad said...

Of course Chip "I refuse to associate with gay people" Ahoy is not reading Sullivan. Shocker.

Anyway - I don't mind these posts. But the "neutrality" stuff is simply bullshit. Is anyone buying this crap? It's been four months of neutrality, and still not one negative comment about McCain.

Yes - the campaign turned ugly yesterday. It didn't turn ugly when months ago when McCain started running negative ads. It only turned ugly when Obama hits back. Ummmm - okaaay.

Anyway - time for Obama to start running ads on the Keating 5.

And let's run ads on how McCain is a terrorist - why not. If McCain can make stuff up about Obama, then Obama can do the same about McCain.

Henry said...

David Brooks made an astute comment in a recent column that McCain couldn't get press coverage -- until he started attacking Obama.

In other words, the presidential campaign was sunlight on soap bubbles so long as the press could pretend that Obama didn't have an opponent.

But, as Zachary Paul Sire from the previous thread noted, the presidential campaign didn't turn ugly yesterday. It already was ugly. Crap from unofficial partisans has been piling up for months. Even if you ignore that, there's no question that the official McCain campaign has been in attack mode for a while now.

Now Obama is ready to approve a negative ad. Typically, the ad looks professional, but lacks a real edge. It confuses two different lines of attack.

There's the idea that McCain is out-of-touch because he's old and senile (he can't remember how many houses he owns). Then there's the idea that McCain is out-of-touch because he's rich (he thinks the economy is strong).

I think Obama's people were trying to hit both targets at the same time, but the result is a yawner. It's juvenile and worse, unmemorable.

They should have really hit hard on the "old and senile" idea. They've got nowhere to go with the "he's rich" taunt.

mcg said...

“People keep trying to align himself with Barack Obama,” Daley said of Ayers. “It’s really unfortunate. They’re friends. So what? People do make mistakes in the past. You move on. This is a new century, a new time. He reflects back and he’s been making a strong contribution to our community.”

First of all, Obama doesn't say they're "friends", he says the guy "lives in his neighborhood." Nevermind that they actually worked together.

Secondly, William Ayers hasn't "moved on" from the mistakes he made in the past; he still embraces and defends them. I would certainly not advocate permanently shunning someone for past sins they have repented from, but he hasn't even done that.

downtownlad said...

At least get your history straight. William Ayers never tried to bomb the U.S. Capitol.

Roger J. said...

I am wondering if today would not be good day to release the name of my VEEP choice and divert some attention.

downtownlad said...

Well if everything's lovely, then Cindy McCain should release her tax records.

Well if everything's lovely, then John McCain should release his military records.

Well if everything's lovely, then John McCain should release his medical records.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Meade said...

"Anyway - I don't mind these posts. But the "neutrality" stuff is simply bullshit. Is anyone buying this crap? It's been four months of neutrality, [and blah blah blah...]"

"Cruel neutrality" had a subtle irony to it from the start, lad. You didn't and don't get it because, although you self-identify as being gay in one sense, in another sense, you haven't the slightest bit of gaiety or sense of humor.

Find some. Your comments will be far more readable.

rightwingprof said...

Hardly ugly. Entertaining. Popcorn isn't just for watching the Democrats implode any more.

garage mahal said...

”Well, if everything's just lovely, release the documents.

Agreed. Then, McCain can release the 750,000 pages of documents he's chosen to seal until 2056 as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, charged with investigating Abramoff. Then also he can explain why he is taking money from Abramoff linked advisors and fundraisers, and why after taking a pledge that he would stop until the complete truth is told, why he never called Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist to testify when they are clearly implicated in those documents. Abramoff directed at least 4.2 million to Ralph Reed to mobilize Christian voters to fight the opening of casinos that could compete with Abramoff's Indian tribe clients. I suppose we can't ask him that because he was a POW though.

downtownlad said...

I don't care that Ann is supporting McCain. And I don't care if she writes blog posts 100% of the time supporting McCain. And I don't care if she's secretly supporting Obama, but is choosing to write a bunch of blog posts supporting McCain to fool people.

But the posts aren't neutral at all. All you have to do is count them. So why pretend that they are.

And being "gay" has nothing to do with gaity. It has to do with being attracted to people of the same sex, in my case hot men. Gay - as in gymnast Jonathan Horton.

http://www.towleroad.com/2008/08/beijing-olympic.html

Richard Dolan said...

I wouldn't waste a lot of time or energy with the "turned ugly" idea. It's an election campaign just hitting its stride. New?

The voters need to bring these two guys into focus, so that the voters can form a judgment about what will drive their decisionmaking. Ads like these may hit hard, but that's the point of advertising -- get people focused and thinking about things from your perspective.

McC's failure to remember how many residences he has would have played better if Team O had used it to push the "too old" shtick -- after all, not may people have a hard time remembering how many residences they own. That would have worked best if packaged almost as a "can you believe this" kind of joke -- the way McC did in the Paris/Britney ad.

But Team O fumbled by trying to make it a Shrummian "two Americas" moment. That was both dumb and predictable. If they stick with the "two Americas" thing, they're in for a lot of trouble. Amazingly, the Dems have trotted out that theme in every election for decades, and it never gets them anywhere. They're so wedded to it that they don't seem to have noticed that they've become the party of Soros, the trust fund kids (who aren't so young any more) and lots of others on the supposedly Rep side of the "two Americas" divide. So the "seven houses" ad is revealing about both teams, and shows how Team O is missing the point.

The Rezko ad attacking O for corrupt associations struck me as a response to Team O's attack ad trying to link McC to the Abramson scandal (the point of O's ad was that McC didn't hold Senate hearings about Abramson). O's ad was weak, and a bit foolish to boot. No one claims that McC was getting paid off by Abramson; that "payoff" idea is exactly the charge against O with respect to Rezko. Given Rezko's deep involvement in O's acquisition of his fancy pad in Chicago, it's not a charge that O wants to deal with or invite comparisons about. But he did, and now he's getting them.

For all the clucking about ads like these, they drive electoral campaigns because they tell voters things about the candidates that, if believable, show the voters what's phony about the self-image each candidate is trying to sell. The trick is to keep the ads believable, as opposed to petty or (worse) phony themselves. Because McC is much better known, Team O has a more complicated problem in framing its attack ads, since a theme at odds with what people already know about McC can make an attack ad ineffective or seem phony. I think they need to improve their game above the level of this "seven homes" ad if they expect to pull it off.

Balfegor said...

Yesterday? Obama has been flinging around poisonous accusations of racism for weeks now. That's a lot worse for the tone than making fun of an old man for not knowing how many houses he has, or pointing out that a man has spent most of his adult life palling around with some pretty noxious friends. At least, that's how I'd see it.

downtownlad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

Echo Balfegor.

And then there's this, quoted in Ann's post:
"The Chicago Tribune pressed [Mayor Richard ] Daley Wednesday on whether the documents should be released. 'People keep trying to align himself [sic.] with Barack Obama,' Daley said of Ayers. 'It’s really unfortunate. They’re friends. So what? People do make mistakes in the past. You move on....'" Okay -- but Richard: Bill Ayers doesn't think it was a mistake.

former law student said...

Well, if everything's just lovely, release the documents.

One problem: Obama has neither custody of nor control over, the documents. But really, if you have nothing to hide, let me read your email. Let me root around in your files, or check what you keep in your nightstand.

Obama has been flinging around poisonous accusations of racism for weeks now.

But the McCain campaign had already pointed out that Obama doesn't look like the Presidents on Mount Rushmore, or the men whose portraits are on the dollar bills. Surely Obama is entitled to accurately describe his opponent's attacks. Watch McCain's attack ad from June 27. I wouldn't call it "poisonous racism" myself, but that's how balfegor chose to characterize it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDTJDv4hevU

Peter V. Bella said...

downtownlad said...
Anyway - time for Obama to start running ads on the Keating 5.

I heartily agree! Run the ads showing how McCain was totally vindicated. Run the ads showing that the accusations were considered shameless and false. Run the ads. Oh, and quote the many Democrats who stood up for McCain and considered him a paragon of honesty and integrity. Run the ads.

downtownlad said...
At least get your history straight. William Ayers never tried to bomb the U.S. Capitol.

Do you know that for a fact?

downtownlad said...
Well if everything's lovely, then Cindy McCain should release her tax records.

Why? She files separately from his. She is not running for office. We already know where her money comes and came from.

former law student said...

For all the negative points Obama receives for being acquainted with ex-Weathermen Ayers and Dohrn, shouldn't he win positive points for opposing ex-Black Panther leader Bobby Rush? An Army soldier who went AWOL, who named a son after Panther Party founder Huey Newton, a man described by a left-wing magazine as one who
“has continued to support progressive policies and has never disavowed his Panther past.”

The two unrepentant terrorists should thus cancel out, leaving Obama untainted.

Peter V. Bella said...

downtownlad said...
And being "gay" has nothing to do with gaity. It has to do with being attracted to people of the same sex, in my case hot men.


You really do not own a dictionary do you? For your information, there are several on the internet. You could look up the word yourself. Bout you would rather live in your gay delusional world.

former law student said...

She files separately from his. She is not running for office. We already know where her money comes and came from.

Let's stop this bs, shall we? There is no Chinese wall dividing the marital bed. Cindy does not make McCain take the bus while she rides in the jet. She does not dine upon foie gras while McCain eats Spam from the can. McCain is the beneficial owner of everything Cindy has. Prenups matter only upon divorce or death.

madawaskan said...

Meade-

... or just have Barak's friend and presumed future Secretary of Education Bill Ayers sit down for an interview with Rick Warren. That would work.

Uh, I dunno don't they have Ayers in some kinda "cone of silence"?

Peter V. Bella said...

garage mahal said...
Agreed. Then, McCain can release the 750,000 pages of documents he's chosen to seal until 2056 as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, charged with investigating Abramoff.

Um, in case you forgot, Abramoff was implicated with as many Democrats as Republicans. Some of your oh so progressive idols might get smeared when the equine excrement hits the fan.

Balfegor said...

The two unrepentant terrorists should thus cancel out, leaving Obama untainted.

What, you're okay if you supported Trotsky because you opposed Stalin? In what world does that logic actually work?

Peter V. Bella said...

bs?

Unlike all the other candidates who are mandated to release their returns, Cindy McCain has no such mandate. She files a separate return from his. It is up to her, not him, not his campaign, and not us to make the decision of her personal tax returns. She is not running for office. It would be nice if she released them, but there is no harm in not doing so.

Seven Machos said...

Free political advice for the left

It's really stupid to say Obama is not a Muslim or for Obama to say I will not stand for these attacks on my patriotism. This is 101, people. When you do that, you absolutely call the very thing you are talking about into question by bringing it up.

Try this simple experiment: Don't think of a pink elephant.

See?

Pogo said...

"One problem: Obama has neither custody of nor control over, the documents."

The bigger problem is thus raised: why should people vote for a guy who has neither the personal power (as Senator, or even as a Democratic Presidential candidate) nor the cajones (thanks, Jesse!) to do something Presidents have to do: call people up, make demands, and get shit done.

If he can't do this, he's too weak to be President.
If he won't release the records, he's hiding something.



Day 6 of Obama's refusal to release the Annenberg documents.

Trevor Jackson said...

Pogo, if that's the standard ("gets shit done"), then McCain was too weak to get the North Carolina Republicans to stop an ad smearing Obama from going on the air. That's not even a separate institution, it was his own party, immediately after becoming its presumptive nominee for president.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Then there was this ad too — not an official campaign ad — but nevertheless a warning of how bad things are going to get:

I really do wish those that refer to these ads as 'attacks' and 'negative' and how bad things are in presidential campaigns would do themselves a favor and take a look at some the presidential campaign ads of old and then get back to me. This stuff is tame and if anything is probably more on target than anything that was leveled against Lincoln back in the day.

But then that was a time when Americans had thicker skin and didn't get weepy when someone called them a meanie.

The Drill SGT said...

downtownlad said...
At least get your history straight. William Ayers never tried to bomb the U.S. Capitol.


He certainly takes credit:

A substantial portion of Ayers' book Fugitive Days discusses the author's penchant for building and deploying explosives. Ayers boasts that he "participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972." Of the day he bombed the Pentagon, Ayers says, "Everything was absolutely ideal. ... The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them."

Seven Machos said...

When do you start getting to hear the mainstream media lament the sadness of negative campaigning? Why can't the politicians just talk about the issues and let the gatekeepers frame the debate for once?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Limbaugh uses it, however, not to describe the response of Obama haters, but Obama lovers. Interestingly different uses of the sexual metaphor, no?

Actually Ann, its an old Rush line back in the day that America once was when Gorbachev was drenching the panties of Western Euro hotties during his Glasnost tour. He referred to the euphoria the gentle commie caused as Gorbasms

garage mahal said...

Day 6 of Obama's refusal to release the Annenberg documents.

I know! I'm on Day Two of McCain's refusal to open up the Abramoff documents. So far, nothing! It's almost like they're not paying attention to me or something.

Um, in case you forgot, Abramoff was implicated with as many Democrats as Republicans.

Linky?

Seven Machos said...

Right, Hoosier, but what's interesting is that for Limbaugh the asm was been a good thing. For Sullivan, it's negative and full of some kind of anguish.

A window into the mind...

Pogo said...

garage mahal said...

Linky?


Garage, when the MSM and Pelosi and Reid et al start demanding the release of the Abramoff documents, I'll know it excludes Democrats.

But that ain't gonna happen. Abramoff slept around; lobbyist-wise he was bisexual and not terribly choosy.

In fact, if it was so one-sided anti-GOP incendiary as you think, the records already would have been leaked. I mean really, dude, you canNOT be serious.

Anyway, it's the usual Democrat change-the-subject tactic. BHO was suckled by a terrorist???
Ummm....
Hey! Look over there!!!

Peter V. Bella said...

Seven Machos said...
When do you start getting to hear the mainstream media lament the sadness of negative campaigning?


Never, and never is a long time. The MSM will never lament negative campaigning or any other kind of campaigning. I will let you in on a little secret. No, I am not a conspiracy loon. It is a secret that has chained the media to all campaigns throughout modern history. It is a secret that the MSM does not want divulged.

I discovered it. It is called ad revenue! That’s why the media will never, ever lament the sadness of negative campaigning. They love it. They revel in it. They lap it up. All that wonderful money flowing in from all those wonderful ads. It is always about the money.

PatCA said...

Why is this a bad ad? I thought I was going to see Obama next to Atta or something. Obama's friend and supporter bombed the Capitol. Ayers and Atta both were terrorists, differing only in degree from each other.

Obama has had a lifelong political association with such people. Why can't we talk about that? Formerlawstudent, if he has rejected some radicals, why doesn't he talk about that?

Balfegor said...

I wouldn't call it "poisonous racism" myself, but that's how balfegor chose to characterize it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDTJDv4hevU


A) I'm not seeing the racism there. They're not even criticising him because he looks different from the people on Mount Rushmore -- they're criticising him because he's putting himself on their level, even though he isn't even President, let alone a great President. Or, in the case of Ben Franklin, one of the Framers. There's a certain amount of hyperbole, seeing as all he's done is make up a fake Great Seal, rather than photoshop himself into Mt. Rushmore, but no racism there. This exact ad could be run against any politician that ran a campaign like Obama. Well, provided you replaced the Obama-heads with the appropriate politician's visage.

B) I'm characterising it as poisonous both because Obama is accusing his opponents of racism, even though they haven't shown any -- that's pretty low. And it's poisonous because it poisons the well -- it primes the audience to see any criticism of the man as illegitimate, because it's coming from people whom he's slimed as racists.

vbspurs said...

People do make mistakes in the past. You move on. This is a new century, a new time.

Are you nuts, Mayor Daley? This isn't Winona Ryder, doing community service for five-finger discounting at Saks.

This is a native TERRORIST who suffered no penalties for the HEINOUS crimes where people DIED.

In fact, he lives such a peachy king life, his buddy who launched his campaign from his house is a few months away from possibly occupying the highest office in the land.

I guess for some morally-questionable people, the cleansing holy water of "community activism" absolves everyone of their crimes.

Cheers,
Victoria

Synova said...

The ad linked about "Change you can make in Photoshop" isn't even remotely about race.

Obama is the one who made the comments about how he doesn't "look like" the dead white men on currency. He did it in a sort of funky third person POV; sticking his words in his opponent's mouth; so we were all supposed to imagine that "they" really actually said those things (or would have, eventually.)

I know I saw more than one, "Ah HAH! and look! Being called a racists before the fact (when they knoooowwww they were gonna really do it) made people mad, which only proves that Obama was right! Racists! (A newspaper columnist named Eugene Robinson did so, so it's not just pro-Obama bloggers.)

There is a HUGE difference between Obama *saying* that his opponents are going to talk about how he looks funny and has a funny name and someone actually doing that.

J said...

We can only hope the campaign stays ugly. Negative ads are far more entertaining and revealing than the non-negative kind. We need more of them, not less.

Roger J. said...

did anyone really think we would not see negative ads? They work, as noted above they generate revenue, and appeal the lesser angels of everyone's nature. No one really cares what the candidate's response to revivalism in Russia is when we can play class warfare, hurl the R word around, and make insuiations about past actions.

former law student said...

The bigger problem is thus raised: why should people vote for a guy who has neither the personal power (as Senator, or even as a Democratic Presidential candidate) nor the cajones (thanks, Jesse!) to do something Presidents have to do: call people up, make demands, and get shit done.

People who go out of their way to help their political adversaries are saps, and Obama is not sappy.

Obama is the one who made the comments about how he doesn't "look like" the dead white men on currency.

First, McCain made the point visually; weeks later Obama described it in words: Obama does not look like our Presidents; Obama does not look like the guys on our money. I would say that a point made visually is more likely to stick in the voter's mind than mere words are.

"Change you can make in Photoshop" isn't even remotely about race.

It's about uppity blacks trying to put themselves where they don't belong. The point that he's a misfit is made visually, not in words.

Peter V. Bella said...

former law student said...
People who go out of their way to help their political adversaries are saps, and Obama is not sappy.


Then why did he give Hillary her own night to speak at the convention. Worse than that, why did he allow Hillary to get a nomination at the convention? Now, the convention is about her; which is what she wanted all along.

He went out of his way and helped his main adversary, Hillary Clinton. Obama is the epitome of being a sap.

The Drill SGT said...

Niccolo Machiavelli made a statement that applies here, though I am going to do it from memory, so it's not a direct quote:

"Treat one's defeated enemies with either mercy or harshly. The defeated will remember small slights and attempt revenge, if treated harshly, they will be unable to return the favor."

Fen said...

But really, if you have nothing to hide, let me read your email. Let me root around in your files, or check what you keep in your nightstand.

Only if I'm running for President.

I love the logic that in vetting a candidate, we can't look too close. I think I'll try that next time my clearance comes up: "Agent, that question violates my privacy rights. Next?"

Fen said...

Okay, I just saw the ad. Why is it a "smear" to point out Obama's political alliance with an unrepentent domestic terrorist?

If McCain was this cozy with Terry Nichols, I'd want to know before I cast a ballot for him.

Roger J. said...

FLS--where did McCain make the point visually--the whole history of this campaign is not memorable for me. I am not doubting you, just would like to know the circumstances and imagery.

Po said...

First, McCain made the point visually; weeks later Obama described it in words: Obama does not look like our Presidents; Obama does not look like the guys on our money. I would say that a point made visually is more likely to stick in the voter's mind than mere words are.

No. The visual point is about Obama's egocentrism and his presumptuousness. In Dreams From My Father, Obama has one or more of the characters say to the younger version of him, "it's all about you." He seems self-aware of this character trait, but self-awareness does not seem to have mitigated the egocentrism. You can see the related presumptuousness in his recent trip abroad, where his conduct lent credence to the suspicion that he has already come to think of himself as acting president. The visual point is that, look, this guy thinks he's the √úbermensch or something. Or, at the very least, he's not even elected yet but he thinks he's better than all America's past leaders, if not the physical embodiment of American ideals as such.

There are no grounds for the confident assertion that there's anything racial in that ad. And even if the ad makers were trying to smuggle in that insinuation, underneath what seems to me to be the self-evident visual point, an enormous amount of plausible deniability is retained precisely because that point is so obvious. The independently minded observer is left with more grounds to think that Obama's the racializer here than McCain. Accusing McCain of racializing the campaign is bad for Obama's prospects, and it's bad for the health of the polity as a whole.

Synova said...

"It's about uppity blacks trying to put themselves where they don't belong. The point that he's a misfit is made visually, not in words."

Some days I think I'm really slow... would that ad not have worked if the no-term US Senator running for President was white?

The man is glaringly unqualified. A glaringly unqualified white person of any gender (or none) would just as easily and every bit as effectively (or ineffectively) be made fun of for using a faux Presidential Seal on his/her/its podium. Or starting the foreign leader of State visits and speech making... a white person could get slammed for that, too, and every bit as effectively.

And the whole point of a political campaign is to say why you belong in that office and the other guy does *not*.

Can we not even say that Obama is an unqualified upstart who has bad ideas without it being racism? I guess not. He's insisting on framing the criticisms as being about race because he knows that by doing so he discredits them automatically.

He did the same thing against Clinton.

At some point even more people are going to insist that he actually answer the criticisms.

DTL may always believe that the only reason that anyone dislikes Obama's church is because the preacher and people are black, but that doesn't make black liberation theology something other than it is. And it doesn't matter how often you or anyone else says that "rising above one's station" implications are always racist in nature because at some point the man is going to have to actually explain how we can take him seriously when he is entirely unqualified.

The Presidency IS above his station and it's not because he's black. It's because he should be a first term Senator in Washington DC. That's what he's qualified for.

Revenant said...

People who go out of their way to help their political adversaries are saps, and Obama is not sappy.

So you share the belief that Obama really does have close and friendly ties with the ex-terrorist in question, and that the documents in question would help establish this?

After all, if the contents of the documents are innocuous, releasing them would HURT McCain by depriving him of a rhetorical weapon. Releasing them only helps McCain if Obama's claim that he has had no close dealings with Ayers is a lie.

blake said...

So, Trevor sez:

if that's the standard ("gets shit done"), then McCain was too weak to get the North Carolina Republicans to stop an ad smearing Obama from going on the air. That's not even a separate institution, it was his own party, immediately after becoming its presumptive nominee for president.

But FLS sez:

People who go out of their way to help their political adversaries are saps, and Obama is not sappy.

Int'resting.

Though, I'm pretty sure that JSM using any kind of coercion against the North Carolina Reps would have been illegal.

I find this amusing: "Why didn't John McCain break the law to help his political adversary!"

former law student said...

Let's take it from the top. From the Associated Press on August 1:

John McCain accused Barack Obama of playing politics with race yesterday, raising the explosive issue after the first black candidate with a serious chance of winning the White House claimed that Republicans would try to scare voters by saying he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

But Obama hadn't said anything that the McCain campaign hadn't expressed visually. So if Obama's statement was racist, then McCain's commercial was racist. Similarly, if McCain's commercial wasn't racist, then Obama's statement wasn't racist.

McCain's followers can't have it both ways. If saying he doesn't look like the Presidents on he dollar bills is racist, McCain was racist first.

if the contents of the documents are innocuous, releasing them would HURT McCain by depriving him of a rhetorical weapon.

Wrong. You can't deprive a person of something he never had. But you want Obama to do a favor for his political enemies, to use his persuasive skills to get the unknown owner of those documents to let his enemies root through them -- which is stupid.

He went out of his way and helped his main adversary, Hillary Clinton.

I'm certain there will be a quid pro quo. It's not like helping National Review Online try to dig up dirt on you.

The man is glaringly unqualified.

Let's face it, W. lowered the bar for Presidential candidates for all eternity. Yale should revoke his diploma.

Revenant said...

Wrong. You can't deprive a person of something he never had.

Obama's association with Ayers is an effective weapon McCain can use to attack him. Ayers is a a former terrorist who is not merely unrepentant, but regretful that he and his group didn't carry out more attacks. Shocking as this may seem to you, normal Americans don't approve of that kind of attitude. Now, it may be that Obama's claim is true -- that he barely even knows Ayers, despite having worked with him directly and despite having had dinner at the guy's house. But until Obama can do something to establish that, the association will continue to hurt him. In other words, your claim that McCain "has nothing" is objectively wrong. They have, at a minimum, guilt by association, and guilt by association works in politics.

But you want Obama to do a favor for his political enemies, to use his persuasive skills to get the unknown owner of those documents to let his enemies root through them -- which is stupid.

The reason it would be stupid is that Obama is lying; he really was friendly with Ayers. He, like the other left-wing academics and Chicago politicians Ayers and Obama worked with, honestly didn't have a problem with Ayers' terrorist past. After all, it isn't like he could have known, then, that America would suddenly take a much harder line on terrorism than it had in the past.

If Obama really didn't have close ties to Ayers, releasing the documents would hurt McCain. His operatives would waste their time digging through them and come up with nothing, while Obama's toadies in the press trumpted how the documents "cleared" Obama of the charge that he was friendly with Ayers.

Revenant said...

I'm certain there will be a quid pro quo.

Considering that Hillary has almost as many supporters as Obama, the Democratic Party would be insane NOT to offer her a spot. Particularly since she presumably isn't going to be Obama's VP pick.

Obama isn't getting anything from her in exchange for letting her speak. She's probably getting that, plus more, from HIM in exchange for backing his campaign.

Seven Machos said...

What does expressed visually mean again? Is it similar to expressed olfactorily?

Revenant said...

What does expressed visually mean again?

It means they showed a picture of Barack Obama. Since Barack Obama is black, showing a picture of him was racist. He "doesn't look like the people on the dollar bills". McCain does, because all white people look alike.

Seven Machos said...

Got it. The arguments seem to go like this:

First premise. Unintelligible.
Second premise. Demonstrably false.
Third premise. Some triviality.
Conclusion. People who don't vote for Obama are racists.

montana urban legend said...

I think the distinction here comes down to pacifying one's adversaries versus destroying them. Obama, unlike his political opposition, seems to understand that the latter option isn't always possible. The last seven years have been an exercise in Manicheanism on every level. However, all politics are local, which the Republicans seemed to understand when it came to the American South, but not when it came to the administration's dealings in Iraq or anywhere else. Politics are local in Chicago too, and Daley's comments attest to that. He is, after all, the son of the Chicago mayor who came down with perhaps the heaviest of hands when it came to the urban riots of the 1960s. But building a political career in Chicago out of positioning oneself as Ayers' personal nemesis would have been retarded. Althouse lives in Madison and should know that, even if her readers don't. Heat over light and all that jazz, I suppose.

I think that Obama's strength is that not only is he good at pacifying his opposition, he seems to know how to go the extra step in figuring out ways to co-opt them. But to do that requires a better sense of how to avoid a single-minded and self-defeating aim of wanton destruction toward anything that gets in your way or upsets your sensibilities.

Roy Lofquist said...

Point the first: Saddleback pretty well settled the question of senility.

Point the second: In an appearance in Jacksonville, Florida (prior to the dollar bill) Obama said exactly the same thing except the last line was "and by the way, did you notice he's black?".

Anecdote: At the time of the Weathermen I worked for Scientific Data Systems - logo on my badge: SDS. Same as Students for a Democratic Society with which Ayers had connections. I was on the campus at UCLA on a service call. One student looked at my badge and said to her friend "I didn't realize they were that organized".

mark said...

It means they showed a picture of Barack Obama. Since Barack Obama is black, showing a picture of him was racist.

Here we go, let's make sure that we never show candidates on TV or in any printed magazine photos in future elections. In fact, since their names might also give a clue to their racial, religious, or ethnic identity to the racists or intollerant masses, I think we shouldn't name them at all, and just refer to them as candidate X and candidate Y. I think FCC should draft some rules on this right away.

Seven Machos said...

You know who's a bunch or racists? TIME magazine, that's who. Those racist bastards have put Obama on their cover seven times, continually reminding people that Obama is black.

blake said...

What does expressed visually mean again? Is it similar to expressed olfactorily?

It's like dancing about architecture.

Revenant said...

I think the distinction here comes down to pacifying one's adversaries versus destroying them. Obama, unlike his political opposition, seems to understand that the latter option isn't always possible.

Neither option is always possible. There are enemies which can't be destroyed (e.g. ones more powerful than you) and enemies which can't be pacified (e.g. enemies whose desires irreconcilably conflict with your own).

I think that Obama's strength is that not only is he good at pacifying his opposition

Obama's "strength" has been that he has run as a Democrat in solidly Democratic forums. His strategy hasn't been one of pacifying the opposition; his strategy has been to pretend the opposition doesn't even exist -- that nobody *really* disagrees with his position. It is the classic "we need to put aside our differences and agree to do things exactly the way *I* want to do them" approach that phony-baloney "bridge builders" from both parties like to pull.

Now that he's running for national office, the strategy doesn't work anymore. He could try to "pacify" Republicans, but that's only possible by giving some ground to conservatives and Obama's platform is (as his base expects) strictly leftist in nature. So he is trying to "destroy" McCain, first by painting him as "George Bush's third term" and more recently with attacks on his competence and personal wealth. Standard politics, really. McCain's doing the same thing to Obama, for the same reasons.

That's the thing people who babble nonsense about "putting aside partisan differences" just don't get. There is no such thing as a compromise between, say, aborting fetuses and not aborting fetuses. People who think abortion is "baby murder" do not consider "somewhat less baby murder" acceptable, nor should they. People who believe in women's rights do not consider curtailment of those rights acceptable, nor should they. The same holds true for every other one of the major issues. Neither people who think we need to withdraw from Iraq nor people who think we need to win the war in Iraq are going to be happy with a compromise policy of "let's fight a half-assed war in Iraq with fewer troops", for example.

American politics is about "destroying" the other side because most of the major issues that still divide us are ones which are not amenable to compromise solutions. They are all or nothing.

montana urban legend said...

Yeah, that's right Revenant. All that. Every argument by assertion there. Of course. No argument from me on any of that. Ever.

Except that neither side is going to destroy the other, jealousy is only going to get one of those sides so far, and moral outrage posturing is becoming way passe - except when it comes to the that whole competence thing.

So you can go ahead and continue to frame your issues and candidates in whatever manner you've become used to having those pictures spoon-fed to you. But then again, so can the other guy. Sooner or later, a few more people will tire of the mutually-assured circle jerk. And then a few more. And maybe you might be one of them. But if not, that's fine. You're only parroting the points they dictated, and not actually contributing to shaping public opinion or anything, let alone leading it. And the powers that be, who send the marching orders in the first place, know that too.

Revenant said...

Yeah, that's right Revenant. All that. Every argument by assertion there. Of course. No argument from me on any of that. Ever.

After that nonsense article about Obama's gift for pacification, you have the nerve to whine about "argument by assertion"? Try naming actual examples of Obama "pacifying" conservatives; then we'll talk.

Except that neither side is going to destroy the other, jealousy is only going to get one of those sides so far, and moral outrage posturing is becoming way passe - except when it comes to the that whole competence thing.

The anti-slavery side destroyed the pro-slavery side, the pro-civil-rights side destroyed the anti-civil-rights side, the anti-sexism side destroyed the pro-sexism side, the anti-draft side destroyed the pro-draft side... there is no rational reason to believe that it is impossible for either side in any of our current debates to completely and permanently eliminate its enemy as a political force.

As for morality being "passe" -- that's an empty statement. If you think nobody is motivated to vote (or stay home) because of moral outrage then you are welcome to prove it. If you mean that most people are sick of moral outrage then, well, duh. But all that means is that some folks are unaffected by moral outrage and others are, ergo politicians use it. Both Obama and McCain are appealing to moral outrage with their campaigns (e.g. abortion in McCain's case, corporate greed in Obama's).

Sooner or later, a few more people will tire of the mutually-assured circle jerk. And then a few more. And maybe you might be one of them.

Yes, yes. And eventually the sun will swell and engulf the Earth. It just isn't going to happen during any election cycle within our lifetimes. Politicians have been vilifying their opponents and appealing to moral outrage for all of recorded history. With the exception of George Washington every President we've ever had got elected in part through vilifying his opponents and painting them as bad people.

But if you want to fantisize about a world in which politicians don't do this, hey, go right on ahead. Me, I'll be living here in the real world, where both Obama and McCain run attack ads painting their opponents as wicked and/or incompetent.

blake said...

I don't recall Adams running anti-Jefferson ads, though his proxies might have.

Certainly Jefferson pioneered the dirty attack.

Fen said...

/echo

Okay, I just saw the ad. Why is it a "smear" to point out Obama's political alliance with an unrepentent domestic terrorist and marxist?

If McCain was this cozy with Terry Nichols, I'd want to know before I cast a ballot for him.

/ crickets chirping...

montana urban legend said...

Hard-fought and hard-won battles are one thing. Wedge issue strategies and administrations that are stuck in a permanent campaign mode are entirely different things altogether. It takes a tool to not realize the difference. It takes a tool for the latter to work, also.

Revenant said...

I don't recall Adams running anti-Jefferson ads, though his proxies might have.

Adams publicized Jefferson's affair with Sally Hennings, and pushed rumors that Jefferson was pro-incest and pro-prostitution. He also attacked Jefferson for being a Deist rather than a Christian.

Revenant said...

Wedge issue strategies and administrations that are stuck in a permanent campaign mode are entirely different things altogether.

They've been commonplace for 212 years of American history.

It takes a tool to not realize the difference.

Wedge issues are "different" from "hard-fought campaigns" in the sense that bullets are different from wars. It has been a long time since anyone won the latter without using the former.

It takes a tool for the latter to work, also.

If you consider the overwhelming majority of the electorate to be "tools" then, sure, I guess so.

blake said...

Really? I thought that was Burr!

montana urban legend said...

Bullets may be useful for fighting wars. But we don't have wars for the sole purpose of enriching bullet manufacturers. Or do we?

Seven Machos said...

Definition of tool: someone who disagrees with Montana.

Montana: careful. Rev won't just box your ears. He will tear you a new logical asshole. I've seen it many times.

montana urban legend said...

A "logical asshole"? My, my. I can see what part of one's anatomy some of us are used to thinking with.

Seriously, how difficult is it to comprehend when someone or an entire constituency is just acting a part in a piece of political theatre orchestrated by politicians? The most common complaint is that they're not genuine, not authentic. Your partisans here charge this of Obama all the time. And deep down conservatives believe the same thing about McCain. Both moderates. Both have compromised and achieved and secured significant bipartisan deals. Both are much less ideological than Revenant seems to understand. But the wedge issues remain animated. Do you really think that, this time, the politicians care about the alleged substance of these wedge issues so much or that they'd both rather get beyond them? If your answer to the former is in the affirmative, then you're not really being that astute about the characters of these two men. If your answer to the latter is negative, then may God help you understand the roots of your malignant cynicism.

This is not about tools being anyone who disagrees with me. It's about jabbering on about things that have nothing to do with the points I raised. If Revenant has faith in the utility of the never-ending eternal argument, that's fine. But then again, we seem to have no problem accepting that the majority of the electorate could be a bunch of tools for doing the same thing, only one of us doesn't realize why.

Revenant said...

Your partisans here charge this of Obama all the time. And deep down conservatives believe the same thing about McCain. Both moderates.

McCain is a "moderate" in the sense that he has left-wing views on a few issues, like campaign finance and immigration. The notion that Obama's a "moderate" is just silly; he has no significant moderate or conservative positions. On taxes, affirmative action, environmentalism, abortion, education, free trade, campaign finance, gun control, labor, corporate regulation, the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism -- in every case, his position is left-wing. If you think he is a moderate, that's because you listen to his pretty speeches instead of paying attention to his actual behavior.

Both have compromised and achieved and secured significant bipartisan deals.

You still haven't come up with any examples of Obama's alleged "bipartisan deals". Or a significant deal, for that matter.

Both are much less ideological than Revenant seems to understand.

You've missed the point entirely. I don't know if Obama and McCain are ideologues or not, nor do I especially care. I'm just pointing out that your fantasy of a world where wedge issues and destructive political campaigns don't happen bears no resemblance to any world we'll ever live in. :)

Do you really think that, this time, the politicians care about the alleged substance of these wedge issues so much or that they'd both rather get beyond them?

That's empty rhetoric. How does one go about "getting beyond" the question of whether or not abortion should be legal? How does one "get beyond" the question of whether we should keep our troops in Iraq? Hundreds of millions of Americans honestly care about those issues. A politician who truly "gets beyond" them (i.e., ignores them) gets bounced out of office in short order. When a pro-choice politician says "we need to get beyond the argument over Roe vs Wade", what he means is "pro-lifers should give up".

Your cynicism about the two politicians in question is also pretty obviously ridiculous in, at the very least, McCain's case. McCain has supported a number of political positions that are unpopular both with Republicans and with voters in general, illegal immigration being the most obvious one. Either the man is dumb enough to think these positions don't hurt him or he honestly believes in them strongly enough to support them anyway. The latter possibility is the only one that makes sense.

If Revenant has faith in the utility of the never-ending eternal argument, that's fine.

Faith has nothing to do with it. Unless you can magically find a way to, for example, make everyone either pro-choice or pro-life, that particular argument IS eternal. You can't both allow AND disallow killing babies or violating women's fundamental rights. Since the disagreement is immune to resolution and people vote at least in part based on their beliefs, that means politicians will argue the issue "eternally". That's simple objective reality, and tough cookies if you can't deal with it emotionally. :)

Seven Machos said...

What's with the smiles? I don't get smiles.

montana urban legend said...

Wait... so I'm living in a fantasy, when your depiction of Obama as an extremist is too ignorant to even address his well-documented bipartisan legislation? That's the uninformed pot calling the kettle black. You lack the knowledge to even defend your own points. Ask Tom Coburn or Richard Lugar for details. Then ask the conservatives he co-opted to unanimously support the bills he authored in Illinois to require that crime confessions be videotaped. Et cetera. Et cetera. Rinse, lather, repeat... until understanding sets in. Or else just keep the cycle going.

Nice strawman in your penultimate point. You're arguing against precisely the opposite of what I stated and you don't even know it! Very smooth move there, Ex-Lax.

And your last paragraph just seals the deal. Of course you won't get agreement from the two "sides" (and there are only two sides to this? there's actually a huge middle that incorporates elements of both "sides" into their sentiments. There are books out about how Americans often like to believe that they should have two things at once. Read them.) you have appropriated to falsely frame the terms of a debate when you use astoundingly incorrect terminology such as "babies". But you know this. You argued the opposite side of that argument with Joan less than a month ago. You have no direction and are just arguing for the sake of arguing - slipping and sliding over the points you didn't want to address, and not seeming to even understand the others. What's clear is that if you had a point you actually thought about, you'd have made it. As late as it is, I can tell that proof by verbosity is one of only about a dozen fallacies that you're making, but I'm done grading your paper for tonight. At least students have the self-respect to not get as sloppy as you are... with too many non-sequiturs to count. As you always make evident, you just like the sound of your own arguing. Even though that's, ironically enough, the name of the case you think you're defending, you are just being evasive and unresponsive and not saying anything remotely pertinent, let alone insightful. How ironic. But I can only hit an open pinata so many times.

Illegitimati non carborundum.

montana urban legend said...

Oh, the smiles? They kind of remind me of when the student in Indiana Jones' class slowly closes and opens her eyes to blink at him, Mr. "Machos". The word "LOVE" on one and the word "YOU" on the other. Very flirtatious. But like the sales rep who keeps rubbing her assets against me as a way to drum up business, no dice. All his winking and smiling won't improve his grade. He needs to try harder. But I've already thought this out well enough. If someone's going to challenge these posts, I'll require that they actually read them first. Revenant, unfortunately, is not even at that level where he's shown he can do that. It's ok, though.

Fen said...

so I'm living in a fantasy, when your depiction of Obama as an extremist is too ignorant

Not ignorant:

1) Obama made political alliance with unrepentant marxist terrorist.

2) Obama's religion "craves the love of a God that particpates in the destruction of the White race"

to even address his well-documented bipartisan legislation?

If its so well-documented then why can't you cut-n-paste it here? Why the blind assertion? When asked about his bipartisan record at Saddleback, the only example Obama could point to involved McCain...

montana urban legend said...

Fen, you need to take your head (or whichever body part is in there, whomever it belongs to) out of your ass and follow the discussion. You're anonymous... not even pseudonymous. You don't blog. Already two strikes against whatever credibility you'd wish to establish as a meaningful interlocutor. So no, I won't name the legislation... obviously not because I don't know it (I obviously do), but because it allows me to extend the astonishing willful ignorance you display, and which - in order to reinforce your beliefs - you will cling to, as someone who's not worth addressing generally. It's easier, more fun and much more useful to watch you contribute to your own self-depiction as a moron than to try to correct someone who's simply not amenable to correction. But don't get down about that. Surely there must be video on YouTube worth commenting on that will accommodate the level of knowledge and literacy to which you've limited yourself.