Watching the campaign lately has been agonizing. As my good friends Tom on his COOL BIRTH blog [check out his latest post] and RJ on his NIGHTLITE one (the latter and me had a long talk on the phone a few days ago about how disheartening it is to see Obama’s campaign let the rightwing Republicans, which unfortunately now includes McCain, define the campaign and Obama) have been pointing out, things ain’t going that well.
Obama should be twenty points ahead in the polls by now, given the last seven years and McCain’s amazing string of flip flops and “misstatements” (i.e. lies or ignorance). But as they’ve been doing for decades now, they’re defining the Democratic candidate by simple repetition of lies and distortions and when the media don’t bite they attack the media and make them feel guilty for digging the Democrat just because he’s smarter, better prepared, more charismatic, etc. etc.
As I said when Obama first started running, the rightwing Republicans would cast him as Stevenson to whoever the Republican’s ended up running as Ike. And now they’re doing it. That was the first campaign I worked on as a kid and I never got over it, or the lessons I learned from it.
Stevenson was smarter, more progressive and with positions that would have been better for the country in the long run, and despite his ability to give an intelligent and well crafted speech, and his general like-ability, (the famous shot of the holes in the soles of his shoes also reflected his actual everyman qualities), they were able to cast him as the aloof intellectual, the “egghead” as the times called it.
And Ike was the down to earth guy, everybody’s sweet uncle, even though he was known to have a temper and to not really pay a lot of attention to the workings of government etc. He turned out to be very prescient about the “industrial-military complex” as his famous late speech had it, but his presidency wasn’t marked by a lot of greatness (it was during his tenure that our government decided to get involved in Viet Nam, after the French were defeated and withdrew from their former colonial possession).
Anyway, the point was and still is that the rightwing Republicans have always been good at painting Democrats as “out of touch” and “elitist” when it has forever been the other way around. How could the Democrats not emphasize over and over again, and in fact still be doing it on a daily basis (the way the rightwing Republicans do with their propaganda) the reality that Junior was never a cowboy with a “ranch” in Texas, that the so-called “ranch” is not one since it doesn’t raise cattle and he only bought it for the presidential campaign and will leave it when he retires from office, just watch.
That should have been and should still be repeated by every Democrat on every radio show and TV show and speech and etc. As they should also be repeating over and over again how McCain left his wife to marry a much younger and much wealthier woman who is worth over a hundred million dollars (though it doesn’t look like that’s made her very happy does it?) and that McCain himself was born into privilege, like Junior, and has never ever known what it means to be an ordinary citizen of this country, while Obama was raised by a single mother on welfare and then by his working-class grandparents etc. etc.
But nope, our team is gonna be all above that and spend half its time trying to deny or brush off the repetitive lies of the rightwing Republicans, and more and more unsuccessfully. As they smeared Gore with “tree-hugging” and claiming to have “invented” the internet etc. and Gore just tried to be straight ahead about it and not attack Junior for all his lies and phony image jive.
When will our side learn? Bill Clinton got it, that’s why he won. I hope these guys can get it before it’s too late.