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Thoughts on the Campaign

Been a few days since I wrote about any of the political stuff, largely because I'm utterly obsessed with the campaign right now and really don't need additional reasons to focus on it.  That said....

Liars, Attackers, and Ayers!  Oh My!:  McCain, Palin, and the GOP continue to go after Obama for his ties to William Ayers, despite a) evidence that it's not helping them in the polls and might even be hurting them, and b) the fact that there really is very little to the charges themselves.  William Ayers did some terrible things in the 1960s, and his comments after 9/11, though distorted and taken out of context, do call into question his judgment.  But once again we have the GOP trying to smear Barack Obama for something that others have done and said.  In this case, Ayers' crimes (for which he was never convicted) were committed when Obama was eight years old.  Eight!  Ayers is now a distinguished professor of education at University of Illinois in Chicago, and he has served in the Administration of Chicago's Mayor. 

But really, that's not even the point.  John McCain and Sarah Palin would do well to ask themselves if they really want to play the guilt-by-association game.  Everytime they bring up Ayers, Democrats should bring up Charles Keating, whose illegal lobbying on behalf of banking deregulation resulted in John McCain being reprimanded by the Senate ethics committee.  Or Mark Chryson, the former chairman of the Alaska Independence Party, who is a close personal advisor of Palin's and who not only advocated Alaska's secession from the Union, but who also has ties to militia movements in several states.

Everytime they bring up Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Democrats should bring up the Reverend John Hagee, a virulently anti-Catholic preacher whose endorsement McCain actively sought early in the campaign, and then rejected later, when Hagee made offensive remarks about the Holocaust.  Or they should bring up Pastor Thomas Muthee, the preacher shown exorcising demons from Palin in that widely seen YouTube video.  (Imagine if someone had video of a black preacher exorcising demons from Barack Obama!   The GOP would be frothing at the mouth!)

Everytime the Republicans try to tie Obama to Louis Farrakhan (which they have done again and again despite the fact that there's no connection to speak of) Democrats should bring up Jack Abramoff, whose illegal lobbying activities and the Federal investigations spurred by them, have already brought down several Republican Congressmen, and who has had connections with several associates of John McCain.

Guilt by association:  It's a blade that can cut both ways.

One last note on this:  It seems pretty clear to me from comments made by both Obama and Biden that they were hoping McCain would use the Ayers attack in the debate.  They have both basically said in the days since the debate that McCain was afraid to make those charges to Obama's face.  They're calling him out, guessing that they can get under his skin and make him use the smears during the next joint event.  They must have a REALLY good response prepared.  McCain would be smart to avoid any mention of William Ayers or Jeremiah Wright at Hofstra next week.

It's Getting Ugly Out There:  Reports from the campaign trail over the past week or so (coinciding with the McCain-Palin attacks on Obama's "ties to terrorists") indicate that Republican campaign events are becoming less like political rallies and increasingly like lynch mobs.  The mention of Obama's name at some of these rallies has been met with shouts of "terrorist!" and "kill him!"  One crowd shouted racial slurs at a black cameraman covering the event.  This is enough to chill the blood, and McCain and Palin, instead of laughing it off or encouraging it, should have stopped the events then and there and made clear that while they differed with Democrats on the issues, they respected them as Americans.  They should have made it clear that slurs and threats of this nature have no part in American politics.  That they didn't is disturbing to say the least.

The Disdain of McCain:  I would argue that the anger reflected in this mob behavior is not all that dissimilar from the contempt with which Sarah Palin spoke of Obama and his work as a community organizer at the GOP convention in Minneapolis, and also  the disdain John McCain showed for Obama at the debate in Nashville Tuesday night (the "That One" Debate).  I think that when it comes right down to it, John McCain can't stand the fact that he's losing to a junior Senator, a guy whose Washington D. C. resume is not nearly as long as his own.  McCain seems to believe that he deserves to be President, that he's earned it, and that the fact that this whelp, this boy is standing in his way is intolerable.  Is there an element of race in this?  Absolutely.  But I think there's far more to it.  There's been a lot made of Obama's "elitism", but the truly arrogant candidate in this campaign is John McCain.  Did you listen closely to the things he said at the debate the other night?  How many times did he say "I know how to do this" or some version thereof?  He knows how to win the war in Iraq.  He knows how to fix health care.  He knows how to find Bin Ladin.  He knows how to cure the economy of all its ills.  Except, of course, that he doesn't know any of these things.  We're just finishing up eight years with a President who believes completely in his own infallibility, his own omniscience.  Do we really want four more?

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
markwise
Oct. 10th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
Hi David. You bring up some common retorts when the valid associations are brought to light between Obama and the people that he poorly chose to hang around.

Ayers: Yes he bombed buildings and killed people in the 60's. The reason he wasn't charged (after 10 years of hiding with his FBI Top 10 Listed wife) was because the FBI messed up on proceedures, not because he was not guilty. He also, is self admittedly not ashamed of what he did, mad that he and his gang of terrorists did not do more bombings, and given the chance - he would do the same even today. He said these things when Obama was in his 30's, not when he was 8 years old. Indeed, when is there a free pass for murder? How long can time pass before you forgive someone's murdering ways?

Wright: He was Obama's pastor for 20 years. He married the Obamas and baptised their children. Did Hagee do the same fdor McCain? Was McCain his parisoner for 20 years? No. As for the African missionary praying for her as governor, that is a common thing to do in Africa where they still believe in witches, demons, and voodoo. What was Palin supposed to do, stop him in the middle of the prayer and spout off in his face how wrong he is? That would be unbelievably rude and unprofessional.

As for the ugly campaign trail, those reports are false from what I hear. I have not heard or seen anythign to substantiate the claim, and in fact have seen reports to the contrary.

"You can judge a man by the company he keeps." And Obama is in bad compnay.
davidbcoe
Oct. 10th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
Ayers never said that he regretted not setting more bombs. What he said was that he regretted not doing more to end the Vietnam War. He is a known public figure now, accepted in the Chicago political community, accepted in the educational community, accepted in academia. Obama's association with him is not a legitimate issue.

As for the Wright thing, it's been covered again and again, and voters have decided -- correctly -- that it doesn't matter. Yes, Obama knew him for 20 years, and to reduce that relationship to a few incendiary quotes that were taken out of context and blown all out of proportion is ridiculous (not to mention a sign of desperation). McCain, on the other hand, had no relationship with Hagee, and he came to him this year, knowing that the man had said all those disgusting things, and STILL went after his endorsement. He got it, and then it promptly blew up in his face, just as he should have known it would. THAT is an indictment of judgment.

I notice you didn't bring up Keating. Probably a good move on your part....

As for the incidents at the political rallies, I've seen the tapes. They did happen. And there was yet another incident today. McCain did his "Who is Barack Obama?" schtick, and a woman shouted out "Traitor!" McCain looked right at her -- clearly he heard it. And then he went on, without saying anything. Sickening. A man should be judged by the things he does, not by the people he knows. And McCain's actions in the last two weeks have been cowardly, mean-spirited, and dishonest. But he's losing, so I guess this is to be expected.

You and I can disagree about all this stuff, and you can criticize Obama all you'd like. But you know as well as I do that Obama is not a traitor, that he doesn't countenance terrorism, that he doesn't hate America, that nobody should be exhorting others to kill him. McCain knows that, too, and he should be reining in his people. And if by some chance you DON'T know all those things, then we really have nothing more to talk about.
markwise
Oct. 10th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Ayers was asked if he would do all othe things he did over again and his response was "I can't say that I wouldn't do it again." Sorry, David. He is a terrorist and would be again given the chance. And Obama kicked off his Illinois Senate Campaign from this guys living room. How can Obama fight terrorists when he is friends with one?

The Wright situation simply does not equate to Hagee. Obama said of Wright, "I could not disown him ay more than I could disown my own family." Then the next week, he disowns him. It is not the same.

As for Keating, McCain was absolved of ANY wrongdoing by the Senate. It is a dead issue.

I haven't seen those incidents at the political rally's, but if they indeed happen then I condemn those people for going too far. If course, those people could also smioply be plants by the Democrats to make it appear like a mob when it wasn't.

DO I think Obama is a traitor. No. A Terrorist? No. Does he hate America? I think inpart he does. He is someone who reminds me of Moses. He was born of an oppressed people and raised apart from them by the ruling people. Then when he is of an adult age, he gets exposed to the oppression of his birth people and his strikes back against those who raised him. He now desparately tries gain acceptance and position within his birth community. In so doing, he will do anything and say anything to gain their approval. He desparately wants establish his identity and achieve validation.

So in his quest for this acceptance, he has made bad descisions about who to hang around with. They raised his standing his the Black Community, but now they are a liability on the Naitonal Stage.
davidbcoe
Oct. 10th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
So Keating is nothing and Ayers is everything?!?! Okay. I think we'll just agree to disagree on this one and move on.
scbutler
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
I find myself wondering why McCain doesn't realize that, if he called out one of these rabble rousers at his events and told them that he doesn't condone such language, it would do a lot more for his campaign than all the slurs and arrows.
hedwig_snowy
Oct. 10th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
I used to think that it didn't have to do with race. And, maybe McCain doesn't think it does, but when you have supporters, not just some man-on-the-street interview, but supporters at the events shouting that filth one does wonder if the tone wouldn't lean more toward mocking rather than toward violence if the Democratic candidate was white and had the name John Smith, no matter who he had to deal with over his career to get into a position to run for the Presidency.

Makes me not only embarassed to be an American but white as well. At least it holds up a mirror to the country to show what some of us are truly like. And McCain wants to lead us from their perspective. Not scary, pathetic and disgusting. I think you have it right by highlighting the word 'boy'. In all its connotations, that's how the fringe right sees Obama.

"They're calling him out"

Yes, they are challenging him. He can't let that stand and they know it. If he goes another debate without bringing up the slime, the right will abandon him. If he brings up the slime and Obama stays calm and explains why it's all bullshit, he'll lose just about everyone except those shouting garbage at his rallies.

McCain is rather single-minded. He tends to focus on one thing. While he certainly talks about several things at these 'rallies', he knows that the things that will get airtime will be the attacks.

What is disturbing isn't that the rabble fall in line and spout hate, but that McCain allows it. Can he really expect to govern (and I'm not talking about rioting in the streets as that concept as a campaign tool is offensive and ridiculous, no matter which side uses it - and both are now) if he somehow won in this manner? He would be a lame duck the moment he took office. Any democrat who voted for any of his programs would be targeted in their next elections, not just the far-left but the middle and probably some on the right.

So much for Country First. He'll be lucky if he loses by less than 10 points.
davidbcoe
Oct. 10th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
I hope you're right about that last. I'm gaining confidence as election day approaches. But at this point I don't just want a win; I want a blowout. I want McCain and Palin to be utterly and completely repudiated. That would be the rest revenge for the campaign they've run.
hedwig_snowy
Oct. 10th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
Hey, if this guy can pick the Rays making the playoffs before spring training, I think he has the skills to connect the dots in Presidential polls

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/

Obama with a 90.9% chance of winning, EVs: Obama: 348.3, McCain: 189.7

I would like to see the electorate give a repudiation not just to McPalin, but also Bush and the entire Conservative ideology not just with an Obama win but +10 senate seats (please get rid of Inhofe and toss Lieberman out of the caucus! :)) and +30 house seats. Who knows how long it will last, but one cycle would be a nice start after 8 years of this idiocy. Now, if the incoming freshmen can persuade them to do something about Pelosi and Reid... :)

Also, just heard on Chris Matthews show that McCain stopped during a rally today and chastised those in the crowd shouting garbage. Good. He may not win, but he may be able to keep a shred of dignity/decency if people can forget the last week... McCain pulling back may just have hurt the Dems chances to get more seats in Congress, but I can live with that...
madkestrel
Oct. 10th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
I just saw the video, and he told his (booing) audience that while he thought he'd be a better president than Obama, he still considered Obama to be "a decent man".

It was like the McCain I always admired so much had fought his way to the surface again, just for a second.
hedwig_snowy
Oct. 11th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
They can disagree on policy and ask questions about character, but I'm glad McCain stood up today (finally) whether it was because he realized that it was wrong or his internal polls showed that him doing it (will see what Palin does in the next few days to see) I don't care as this was just the wrong thing to do.

I'd prefer not to have Randy "Macho Man" Savage or Hulk Hogan ride into office after the political cage match this has become...
scbutler
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
"Also, just heard on Chris Matthews show that McCain stopped during a rally today and chastised those in the crowd shouting garbage."

Guess I should have read farther before my previous post. It's about time, though.
hedwig_snowy
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
Shows, at least, some integrity:




davidbcoe
Oct. 12th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
McCain and Palin are doing a good cop-bad cop thing. McCain has made a few high profile attempts to rein in the worst of the rabble at campaign stops, but Palin is still riling them up, so they get some good press and keep their supporters frothing at the mouth.
davidbcoe
Oct. 12th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
I'm a big fan of the FiveThirtyEight site, and I do think he knows what he's talking about. A friend of mine here at the university, a professor of mathematics, knows Silver from his baseball work, and has looked at the political stuff. He, too, thinks it has merit.
hedwig_snowy
Oct. 10th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
And, rather than stand up and saying even, "Yes, there has been a line crossed by some supporters at our campaign events and some comments have not been acceptable" like a decent human being would, the campaign put out this:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1008/Defending_the_crowds.html

That some don't realize that these events are going on means that they're only getting info from a 'select' number of sources. These facts are (almost) everywhere. Ayers, crum. Wright, idiot. But Haggee? Isn't it worse that McCain sought out that type of pastor for support? Keating? Didn't McCain work closely with him for years? We'll find out today what type of 'people' the Palins are, but even that pick shows what poor judgment this tired, sad, old man has.

I have no problem with the McCain campaign questioning associations, but McCain might not like the comparisons with some of his seedier associates, including Rick Davis. Maybe Obama hasn't been around long enough to pile up the garbage that McCain has surrounding him, but the scales don't work in John's favor on this. I'm sure Fox news will have jobs next month for all the 'genuises' who are advising him, but that won't help him get elected.
davidbcoe
Oct. 10th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
I agree with all that you've written here. The GOP's denials about the rallies are not credible. I just hope one of these wingnuts the GOP rallies are firing up doesn't go and do something truly evil.
scbutler
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
Have you read the Rolling Stone piece on McCain? I think it explains a lot, however one sided it might be.
davidbcoe
Oct. 12th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
Haven't read it, but you're the third or fourth person to recommend it to me. I'll get my hands on it soon.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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