Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Referendum

I have come to believe that this election will be a referendum on the intelligence and maturity of the citizens of the United States.

If after seeing McCain's aberrant behavior, the constant, blatent, in-your-face lies, Sarah Palin's empty brain, and the horrible damage done to this nation by the Republicans as they've been in charge for so many years now, unfettered in their agenda by even the opposition party, people still put McCain (and potentially Palin) in the President's chair, then "we the people" flunk this test.

Of course, this is all more complicated than that. But I don't care. My last post about potential political ads represented my frustration with all of the above, particularly with the lies told by McCain and Palin over and over. They really think they can do that and get away with it and I fear they are right. Our press is a joke. Worse than that, they are in the GOP's pocket while simultaneously the GOP has everyone thinking that the press is pro-Democrat. Such masterful PR and political prowess deserves applause. Right before a bullet to the brain. Then again, it only works because there are enough dumb people out there, or not dumb, but RWA's (Right Wing Authoritarians). People who will vote the exact opposite of their own economic interests just for the sake of voting for someone they want to "have a beer with" or who pretends to follow the same imaginary sky being. I've often wondered these days what our political scene would look like if we only had non-RWA voters. And non-psycho lefties as well. (Because the wacko-left, while never all that much of a worry because they are less well-funded and far less organized than the lemmings on the right are just as bad as the RWAs in putting ideology over reality. One need only read such blogs as Twisty's or certain samplings on Shakesville or Alas or Violet Socks to see some examples of that - the latter has devolved into rabid Obama bashing and Palin-worshipping, all while pretending that she doesn't want the GOP to win just to spite Obama).

I go into the left as well as the right simply because I'm tired of all of the ideologues and empty bullshit rhetoric. I crave reasonable conversation with reasonable people. Fortunately I do get some of that in person. It is too bad it is next to impossible to find anything like that on any media outside of a handful of blogs (well, that I know of - I know there are millions of blogs).

So I crave reasonable conversation with reasonable people. People who aren't ready to take offense at every word, who aren't dripping with contempt with anyone who disagrees with them, people who don't use stupid buzzwords to shut off debate (be they from the left or the right - "liberal (when used by right-wingers), "-isms", "privilege", "blame-america firsters", "tax and spend", "death tax", and tons of others I'm too sleepy to think of now - Maybe I should put up a whole post about the words I'd like to see avoided like the plague.) There's a plan.

Anyone for some reasonable, if sometimes heated, conversation? Breakfast is on me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

If McCain were a Democrat, What ads and rhetoric would we see from the GOP?

Watching the Democrats yet again get spanked in the PR department of what is the 2008 Presidential Campgain, I got to thinking, just what would the landscape look like if it was McCain who was the Democratic Candidate for president. What would the GOP attack dogs be doing?

Well, before we get to that, we have to first acknowledge that the GOP is much better at "working the refs" (the refs being the media) - and so whatever they would do, they would get away with far more than the Democrats would. Witness Matthews and Olbermann being demoted from campaign coverage after a concerted whining campaign by the GOP. Also witness that FOX News continues with no changes.

Now, to the quesiton at hand. First, if McCain were a Democrat, we could expect a whispering campaign, aided by the media giving anonymous sources free publicity, with just two words: "Manchurian Candidate." You'd hear it repeated over and over and over. When any high GOP official was asked about it, they'd deny responsibility for it, and when directly asked about it, if McCain was brainwashed in captivity and can't be trusted, they'd reply with a weasely, "Well, I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure what transformation McCain may have had." This story would stay alive for the entire campaign. The underlying theme - you can't trust McCain - he's the Manchurian Candidate.

Related to that, you'd hear repeated over and over that "getting shot down doesn't qualify you to be president," with perhaps an added, "it might qualify you for being in the Libyan air force" (or pick some other perjorative). There would also be veterans all questioning his story - maybe he cowardly bailed out rather than face fire from the ground. Maybe he broke immediately in captivity and then tried to cover for it with lies later.

Then his honor would be more directly attacked. First, a "non-partisan" (really partisan) study would come out about every single lie the McCain campaign has told. Each time any falsehood is repeated (by anyone) it counts as two. Each time a commercial is aired (be it for money or free media talking about the commercial) is also counted. Then this is put into a commercial asking - "McCain - Man of Honor??" "McCain tells 12,000 lies just since the beginning of 2008 alone in this campaign. Is this really the sort of character we can have for the white house? Restore honor to the White House. And so on. The number can keep increasing, perhaps even during the commercial itself.

Then the icing on the cake - just this week, McCain put out an ad about how Obama is bad for supporting a program that "teaches sex education to 5 year olds." Only it does no such thing. It actually was about teaching 5 year olds how to spot and protect themselves against pedophiles. Of course, Obama will put up the usual ineffectual denials or try to explain. This is the wrong approach. The GOP approach works much better. That approach is to put out an ad that does not try to explain anything. Instead, the ad should point out that "McCain is against a program to protect our children from Pedophiles. McCain protects pedophiles. What is McCain hiding?" Those last words should be illustrated with pictures of McCain with children, preferably with McCain smiling and the children looking less than thrilled. The money shot would be if the children had tears in their eyes. But then, that's nothing that photoshop couldn't fix. Anytime this ad is complained about, the GOP approach would then be to just turn it around and hammer home again and again "McCain is trying to protect pedophiles. Why is McCain protecting pedophiles?" Any attempt to discuss it rationally should just have that mantra repeated, calmly talking over any attempts to explain. That's the kind of politics the GOP plays. Until the Democratic party plays that way, too, the GOP will have a huge advantage. It is time to play cut-throat. Talking about issues doesn't work, not even when everyone agrees with you on the issues.

Note also that in all of that, there is no mention of Palin. All of the above gets McCain talked about in the news cycle. Palin then just disappears off of the radar - that is, unless she does something stupid. That would be the smart thing to do. Attack attack attack McCain. Ignore Palin as if she is a non-entity. That would neuatralize the GOP strategy now of Palin 24/7 (as a way to avoid talking or even thinking about McCain).

Of course, the Democrats would get reamed by the GOP and the media if they did this - the GOP is the only party that gets a free pass. But then to do it, you have to ignore that and just push hard. Message discpline, repeated messages, and media saturation with all of that cash does the rest.

The smart voters will see that Obama is doing this because the GOP plays dirty and so he has to too.

So repeat after me. "Manchurian candidate," "John McCain - liar with no honor, who will say anything to get elected," and "John McCain - Protector of Pedophiles." Because the election is never about the issues. What, you thought that issues and rational voting was what democracy was about? As long as Democrats continue to think that, they'll continue to lose elections they should otherwise win handily. (That is also part of GOP strategy - dire warnings of "backlash" if the Democrats ever start to use any of the extremely effective smear tactics of the GOP - that works so well, too - the Dems back off, the GOP goes for the throat).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin: Proving the GOP's cynicism knows no bounds

McCain selected Sarah Palin this past week as his running mate. At first, I was shocked. I never heard of her. It seemed at first blush like the kind of bold thing I was hoping Obama would do when he selected his own running mate. I wanted that because that is how I think I would be if I were ever up for national office. I can be impulsive. I also like throwing a wrench into things just to shake up the establishment. Which is probably why it is good that I'm not in such a position because who knows how much damage I'd do...

But then the more I found out about Palin and the more I thought about it, the more reckless the move seemed. Of course, some still have their blinders on, such as the PUMAs, who are now falling all over themselves about how picking Palin seals Obama's doom. Their hatred of Obama has blinded them to reality (much like my own idiosyncracies initially blinded me when I heard about Palin's selection). The reality is that this is going to put the final nail in the coffin of McCain's campaign. It was a reckless, irresponsible choice made solely on cynical calculations of identity politics. McCain doesn't know her. And unlike Hillary Clinton, she did not build herself up to being a national figure on her own merits (say what you will about Bill's help, if not for her own skills, Hillary would not have almost gotten the nomination). Instead, Palin was plucked out of relative obscurity at the last minute by a politico desperate to shake things up.

What is particularly ironic is that the PUMAs are totally blind to the huge sexism in the GOP. If you hear someone say they could never vote for a woman for president, odds are very good that you are talking to a die-hard GOP voter. Those people will never put a woman, particularly one as unvetted as Palin, one heartbeat away from the presidency under the oldest candidate ever on a ticket. In fact, I heard plenty of those voters interviewed during the primary on NPR - every single last one of the ones who said they can't vote for a woman said they'd be voting for McCain. Not exactly a scientific sample, but certainly what one would expect.

The GOP is run by pure cynicism right now. The party is out of ideas. The only thing they know how to do is do PR, run negative campaigns, and then give out the spoils when they win. The decent Republicans have long been run out of the party. The Democrats are generally spineless, poor at PR (which is part of why they are spineless), and also beholden to big business. But at least they know how to run the government, at least some of them haven't sold out, and they aren't dominated by the loons of the Religious Right. Hardly the ideal opposition party, but oh well.

After seeing McCain's VP pick, I'm quite confident now that Obama is going to win rather handidly. Which I think is a good thing. McCain is a loon. He should not be president. Whatever deceny he used to have, he sold out to get the Bushies to make him the nominee. This latest pick just proves it. (As will any cynical use of Hurricane Gustav as a political stunt this week).