Saturday, August 2, 2008

Push Me and I'll Cut You, B!^@#!

The Votemaster makes the best summary I've read yet on The Campaign so far:
John McCain's strategy . . is to run a campaign attacking Barack Obama personally as too young, too elite, and too pampered to be President as opposed to attacking Obama's ideas and also as opposed to promoting McCain's ideas are something the country really needs.

. . This strategy puts Obama in a real bind. If he ignores the attacks, the charges tend to stick. If he hits back, he looks like just another politician. It is classic Lee Atwater and usually works. It is possible that Democratic 527 groups like will hit back hard (like running ads accusing McCain of taking bribes from convicted felon Charles Keating), but Obama won't touch that kind of stuff with a barge pole.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. While Lee is the father of the modern attack campaign, it's been the business of the GOP to campaign in this fashion since at least Nixon circa 1968. I expect McCain's troops to vary the attacks to see what sticks on the wall week-to-week, but don't expect them to be substantive or policy-based.

It's almost like the Democrats stopped learning about image-based campaigning after JFK in 1960, but the GOP found that Image + Southern politics is a winner. Image will continue to be a winner as long as an empty, shallow media continues to do what it's doing. Particularly if the playing field is titled from the start to a certain point-of-view that rewards the candidate most willing to kick ass (image-wise).

Democrats have been struggling to find a consistently winning answer to image politics ever since 1968. There's been some victories, but these exceptions are easily explained in their own circumstances. Jimmy Carter was Not Nixon (and Ford Pardoned the Bastard). Bill Clinton had Ross Perot, the economy, and H.W.'s refusal to kick Iraq's ass. The second time Bill had Perot again, action in Bosnia, Dole's age and infirmity, and Dole's own incompetent campaign.

We've seen McCain characterized as Old - particularly online - and the frame has made some inroads in the media. But being old and out of culture isn't a killer; most middle-aged parents identify as there or heading that way. What is a killer is not looking like you'll kick someone's ass with provocation, even if it's your hired muscle doing it.

Nobody harbors a doubt that McCain would kill any poor fucker that pisses His America off. Domestic or Foreigner.

When terms like pampered or elite get thrown at Obama, they're dog whistles, substituted for wuss, pandsy or effeminate. They mean that Barrack won't kill the people in our Country's Way, or whom make us uncomfortable when we walk down the streets.

We'll eventually see the campaigns spar over policy, but the policy differences will always be glossed over in favor of the personal.

So even if Obama has seemed like strong candidate for most of their year (irregardless if you agree with him or like him), I fear that he's going to turn into Kerry and my beloved Cubs. Falling apart after mid-summer.

The Cubs this year are leading the division, and have the second-best record in the entire league with 2 months in the regular season left. Anyone got a goat?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Idio, speaking as a Chicago area baseball fan, please don't talk about goats. C'mon, Man.