Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I guess what bothers me about the administration's attacks on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- apart from the fact that Team Obama can't really prove foreign influence on the Chamber's electioneering (Obama and his team are, needless to say, Democrats, and thus are held to extremely high standards of accountability in cases like this; it's not as if they're alleging, say, terrorist influence on the "victory mosque"), and apart from the fact that, naturally, others in the Democratic Party aren't pulling their oars in the same direction -- is the fact that we're being told it's OK to nationalize the midterms in this way, after all the Very Smart People have told us that Democrats can't possibly nationalize the midterm elections by talking about actual positions on issues that actual Republican candidates have actually taken.

Why is it wrong to tell voters all over the country that many GOP candidates -- including many who are almost certain to win -- want to gut Social Security and Medicare, support banning abortions even in cases of rape and incest, question the constitutionality of unemployment insurance, and so on, but it's fine to make what's really (for civilians rather than political wonks) a rather indirect attack on the GOP via the Chamber of Commerce via foreign donors whose existence can't be demonstrated and whose ill intent can't be shown.

I think the answer is that, for the Obama circle, this isn't complicated or obscure; they were master campaigners in 2007 and 2008, they're steeped in campaign minutiae, they're already looking ahead to the 2012 campaign -- so they assume that everybody in America dwells on these issues, and on the citizens United decision.

I'm reminded of the old David Letterman "Limited Perspective" sketches, in which, say, a heating contractor from New England would be brought on to review the Boston-based Paul Newman movie The Verdict and ignore the gist of the movie while fixating on how realistically winter indoor warmth was depicted. Team Obama has similar tunnel vision: campaigning is what the Obamaites know, so they think it matters to everyone.

I don't think this problem is unique to them, however. Our campaign are too long and too expensive; it seems to me that the breakdown of our political system is partly due to the fact that our politicians spend vastly more time working on getting and staying elected than their predecessors did decades ago. Our pols todays aren't legislators or executives first -- they're candidates. Candidating is their principal job skill. Obama's may not be any worse than most.

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