Saturday, November 08, 2008

People Will Be Mining This Shallow Portrait For Years, But Its Worth Reading For Stuff Like This:

In Springfield, Mo., on July 30, the same day the "celebrity" ad first aired, Obama told the crowd, "So nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have [sic] the real answer for the challenges we face, so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky." Obama repeated the same message at two more stops along the trail of mostly white voters in Missouri.

At McCain headquarters, righteous indignation was the order of the day. Political campaigners rarely lack for excuses to describe the opposition as wicked and evil, but the race issue seemed to strike a particularly sensitive chord among the McCain advisers. Republicans as well as Democrats learned (or perhaps overlearned) the lesson of the Swift Boat attacks on Kerry in 2004: don't wait to hit back. At McCain headquarters, voices were raised against Obama for daring to suggest that McCain was using racial innuendo. It was decided to play a little jujitsu and have Rick Davis accuse Obama of playing the race card himself. "Barack Obama has played the race card, and played it from the bottom of the deck," Davis declared in a press release.

Emphasis mine. No mention of the fact that the McCain campaign and its supporters had, in fact, been making the "doesn't look like he belongs on the dollar bill" crack for months. And look at the bizarre false equivilancy between Obama's actual response to actual attacks by McCain's campaign--which from the first was based on making Obama look like a foreigner (The American President America has Been Waiting For?)-and the Swift Boaters. Is that what teh Swift Boat Ads were, just a mildly negative observation about strategy? Does the Newsweek Reporter really think that the "lesson of the Swift Boat Attacks" on Kerry was that if your opponent gives a campaign speech saying "they are going to try to make me look scary" you are obligated to go nuclear?

The essay is full of these strange false equivalencies. Sometimes its hard to tell what the reporter actually thinks but its pretty clear that the McCain people are either nuts or lying or both and the reporters are too lazy to call them on it. A case in point is an earlier example of the huge fuss the McCain people made about the imaginary, hypothetical, gimmicky, town hall meetings. We are told McCain "really wanted to do it" and "really thought Obama would want to do it" and that McCain and his team went ballistic when Obama refused to do it. But then we are also told, in an aside, that of course McCain's people "never thought Obama would go for it" and had really just been trying to use the whole thing as an excuse to go on the attack. With a *direct quote* to that effect you'd think they'd go back and review the earlier paragraph which presumes some level of sincerity in the offer. But no.


No comments: