Saturday, May 10, 2008

Barack Obama and the GOP's Failing Attack Strategy, Pt. II

My friend Anthony is not as optimistic as me about November, particularly as he tells me angrily, as long as "the Pantsuit Monster is still stomping around." He wrote to me after my posts, but before the results on Tuesday night out of North Carolina and Indiana (in which we began to see the general election light at the end of this primary tunnel)-
"I just don't see Obama coming back from this stupid little pastor thing. I really do think all the Repubs have to do is plaster Wright all over everything, even if Obama does get the nom, and it's fucking over. All you need is to remind idiots (at least 60% of America) that he knew a guy who said 'God damn America' and that's that. Plus, no flag pin and he's black (might be a Muslim!)... I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think it's too far outside of the GOP's power to use stupid talking points to ruin everything."

And this is the fear that-- while perhaps not without a basis in reality--has been causing Democrats to go into self-destruct mode left and right. Again, self-fulfilling prophecy.

The fact is that, contrary to Obama detractors seem to believe, no one ever expected the GOP to go easy on our candidate this Fall, no matter who it was. Obama supporters were hardly ever under some delusion that the Republicans wouldn't throw things at him that make the Swift Boat ads look like a tickle party. Their party has been exposed as a bunch of corrupt, incompetent, intolerant, and hypocritical blowhards who have ravaged our economy, foreign policy, environment, and even most voters' belief in the American dream itself. They cannot run on their record, or their policy platform, and so they will turn this into an election about attacks and caricatures. We knew this. Now that this is really sinking in, partly because the Clintons began their dirty work for them, people are freaking out anyway.

You don't want to let GOP attacks work? FIGHT BACK.

A recent, illustrative example... one of the biggest political fights in Washington this winter was over the President's warrantless wiretapping program. The President had demanded a new FISA bill-- to replace the still-functioning one on the books-- that would give him unprecedented authority and also give immunity to the telecom companies involved. The President and his allies in Congress went after the Democrats on this full throttle, holding numerous press conferences to insist their refusing to pass his bill "could aid our enemies" and that the country would be in immediate danger if the bill wasn't passed by his deadline. But then something truly incomprehensible occurred... the Democrats stood their ground on the issue. And then the Republicans-- all but admitting their fight on this had been a pointless, political one-- decided to concede the issue and move on to other stuff (for now), proving their chicken little, fearmongering rhetoric to be the hot air it is.

Methinks there is a lesson in there somewhere for normally weak-willed Democrats.

Back to the 2008 campaign, there is another House special election next week in Mississippi. The ad that the GOP is running against the Democratic candidate there is basically the same (failed) ad that they ran against Mr. Cazayoux in Louisiana earlier this month.

We'll find out in less than a week if this dog does hunt.

And for pure shits and giggles, here is an ad that GOP congressional candidate Vernon Robinson in 2006 ran to appeal to the fears of conservative voters in North Carolina.

Via Wikipedia, here's that worked for ol' Mr. Robinson: "On November 7, 2006, Robinson was defeated by Democrat Brad Miller in the race for North Carolina's Thirteenth Congressional District. Robinson garnered 36% of the votes to Miller's 64%. Robinson subsequently announced that he would not seek elected office ever again."

So, again, I hope you'll understand why I don't take GOP attack ads as seriously as others.


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