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Friday, October 17, 2008

How to Lose an Election in Twenty Days or Less

Is it my imagination, or has the presidential campaign trail gone weird all of a sudden? It’s not so strange on the Obama side of the campaign; there it’s business as usual, talking about the issues and ideas that people want to hear from the candidate. It’s a different story on the Republican side, where character driven rhetoric has veered away from the issues.

For example, in the course of the last month or so, the McCain campaign began to emphasize Obama’s past associations with various shady characters. The specters of Weather Underground William Ayres, Reverend Wright, and ACORN were dug up and brought back to life, just so they could be beaten to death in front of the voters. The Clinton campaign threw these issues at Obama during the primaries and it didn’t work. Obama won the nomination anyway.

I’ll repeat this point for the benefit of the GOP. The Clinton campaign threw these issues at Obama during the primaries and IT DIDN’T WORK! What in the name of Ronald Reagan makes you believe it will work now?

These campaign tactics have been tried and sometimes successful in past elections. The weird part happened when McCain expressed shock at the response he was receiving at his town hall meetings. After weeks of hearing from his own lips what an evil man Barack Obama is, the people attending his rallies began behaving in kind. McCain supporters began shouting back epithets like “off with his head” and generally acting like those villagers with the pitchforks and torches in the old Universal Pictures monster movies.

McCain suddenly realized that he had incited a mob mentality among his supporters. The straight-talking, rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth maverick had given way to a kindly, elderly gentleman who, sensing that the end of his life is approaching, adopts a more forgiving attitude towards people. In this scenario, the worst-of-enemies get lumped together with the best-of-friends as an individual gathers together the wisdom of his years and sees everything philosophically. It’s either that, or it could be the onset of senility combined with a lack of energy needed to take revenge on one’s enemies. This is also a possibility worth considering.

In McCain’s case, he actually grabbed the microphone away from one supporter expressing a dislike for Obama, and defended his opponent as a good man who happens to have fundamental differences on the issues than McCain himself. I have never seen an incident like this in American politics! It’s as if McCain suddenly saw the edge of the cliff and decided he didn’t want to fall over the side with the rest of the world.

Good for him, but it probably won’t help his campaign. His supporters must be baffled as to his sudden loss of spirit and aggressiveness. Actually, it seems like the entire Republican Party is having a change of heart about winning the White House this year. McCain has pulled out of Michigan, and today there are reports that the Republicans have written off Maine as well.

Of course, not everyone in the McCain campaign has had a change of heart, and here I am referring to the snarling, vicious rhetoric spewing from Sarah Palin’s lipsticked mouth. She is taking smears to new heights. Not only is she criticizing Obama’s past associations, but she is also questioning Michele Obama’s patriotism. News flash for Ms. Palin: MICHELE OBAMA IS NOT RUNNING FOR ANYTHING. HER HUSBAND IS THE CANDIDATE!

I doubt that this message will do much good. Sarah Palin is years away from having the philosophical epiphany of a wise elderly person. Hell, I doubt she has gone through menopause yet! Oh yeah, she’s going to be nasty long after the voters send her moose-hunting butt packing back to Wasilla.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depends on what issues are regarded as legitimate.

The accusations against Obama do not address the issues of the moment, but they do speak to the more lasting issue of Presidential character.

October 18, 2008 at 2:34 PM  

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