Sunday, October 12, 2008

McCain Shows Us His Nuts. The Golem Rises. You. Yes, You. You Are Responsible.

This leaps out at me this morning from the front page of the paper:

“I think there have been quite a few reporters recently,” said Mr. McCain’s closest adviser, Mark Salter, “who have sort of implied, or made more than implications, that somehow we’re responsible for the occasional nut who shows up and yells something about Barack Obama.”

Here in a nutshell is the problem with McCain's campaign. They have run on innuendo and paranoid smears, implying Barack Obama is simply not a real American, not a Christian, likely a Muslim, and probably a terrorist, like the people he "palls around" with.

Now they seem surprised that "Joe and Jane Six-Pack," who they celebrate for their lack of sophistication, and praise for being the opposite of educated "elites," actually believe what they have been told: Obama IS an Arab. He IS a Muslim. He WAS educated in a religious Islamic school; he IS a terrorist.

So, you, Mr. Salter yes, you, and John McCain are responsible. Who else would be?

To the McCain campaign, these are strategic talking points designed to peel away voters to their side. But after a six-pack or two, Joe and Jane, fresh from not studying politics, or economics, or finance, or international relations - or anything, since education is after all a badge of "elite" snobbery - don't see it that way.

They believe what they're told!

John McCain knows Barack Obama is no terrorist. He knows his campaign is distorting his association with William Ayers, and that there is no "there" there. He knows that Obama voted against one military spending bill for the same reasons he himself voted against another, for political reasons, not because he isn't a "real American." I believe that McCain knows he was lying when he told us Obama would willingly lose a war to win an election.

The McCain campaign has followed this dangerous and divisive strategy because they have no other compelling reasons for you and me to vote Republican. McCain and his party have been so wrong about so much, for so long, that the friction of reality has truly ground the spin machine to a shrieking halt.

Mr. Salter, Poo-Bah of the McCain campaign team, now blames the media for creating the Golem they in fact have conjured into existence. Instead he should congratulate himself that the propaganda campaign has been so effective, at least with the base. The real problem with calling Obama a dangerous terrorist is not that it's a lie, it's how ugly the sight of "Joe Six-Pack," terrified and screaming for blood on the evening news, has been.

When a losing campaign has to do damage-control over its own successful propaganda, the writing is truly on the wall.

This is a greater problem than just an election-cycle problem. If, after November, a fourth of the country still believes the new president is a terrorist, someone sooner or later may attempt some kind of daft "rescue." There is a word for a violent, paranoid person who tries to bring down a president - the word is Terrorist.

Obama may be using some of those new-found presidential "war-on-terror" powers sooner than he might have thought, and much, much closer to home.

* * * * *

Last year John McCain told the Wall Street Journal, "You are interviewing the greatest free trader you will ever interview, and the greatest deregulator you will ever interview."

Republicans have for decades promised economic prosperity based on the now-discredited idea that industry regulations are unnecessary, and that free markets could regulate themselves. Putting aside the amorphous call for the return to "family values," this has been the centerpiece of the GOP's economic platform since Ronald Reagan.

"Call off the cops," Republicans told us, "we promise not to steal." Lots and lots of us have been flabbergasted over how successful they were in creating the perception that government had no place in business.

It has been a boondoggle from the start. Industry boomed and the productivity of workers skyrocketed, but workers saw their real wages stagnate, their union power evaporate, their good-paying jobs go abroad. Their anger was legitimate and understandable, and was effectively channeled by the GOP "values conservatives" away from the source of their problem and onto "liberals."

The word "Liberal" has had some rehabilitation recently. The Gun Toting Liberal feels a great deal of satisfaction in this. Liberals treat the country better when they are privileged enough to control its government. Liberals never demand less scrutiny of their plans, because we don't need to.

Liberals understand the basic rule of economics, the law of Supply and Demand that says, "no matter how you regulate industry, it will always make a profit - so go ahead and protect society from the excesses of industry." Europe figured this out ages ago. We have yet to do so.

Maybe now we will.

Postscript: The GTL must be on to something when Frank Rich hits the same theme at the same time!

1 comment:

nomis said...

I'm seeing some kinks in the armor; just down the street, amongst other political signs (which still remain), I noticed that a McCain sign disappeared from a lawn (I doubt vandalism, because there are still a few others up in the neighborhood).

It could be the people are just disgusted?