Sunday, August 3, 2008

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN

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.

10 comments:

Charles Lambert said...

It's EXACTLY the same in Italy. the left is reactive, even when in power, while the right sells itself as the people's party, despite the fact it's composed of the rich (lawyers), the super-rich (business people)and the beyond-rich (Berlusconi). Berlusconi is not a self-made man. How many times need this be said before someone hears?

harryn said...

dig that - it really is time for the dems to pull out all stops - as you said, bill clinton knew how to play ...
if obama stands a snowball's chance, he's gotta utilize every resource at his disposal for some real street fightin - in this case the 'nice' guy will finish last if he doesn't get some of his people workin the despicable trenches the repubs are so good at ...
hope oliver stone's upcoming movie is the start of something ...
and how stupid is the american public - they keep portraying mccain as this ordinary guy - whose grandfather outside of hollywood has got a barbie doll wife like that ...
grrrrr ...

Lally said...

What a sad state of affairs when (no offense to your, or my, Italian friends Charles) the U. S. electorate is as bad at choosing national leaders as the Italians have been for too long! Berlusconi has always reminded me of a blowhard rightwing Republican politician dependent on his wealth and corporate power to manipulate the media into presenting him as anything other than self serving. He's probably somehow distantly related to Bush. Man, the trouble these guys cause. And the "left" and/or "liberals" act as if they're going to abide by some kind of fairness rules in these fights for power. Oy!

Charles Lambert said...

Berlusconi doesn't need to manipulate the media. He OWNS it!

One day we're all going to have get down and dirty...

Lally said...

Yeah, I know he owns it, I meant that's one way of manipulating the media, though maybe too obvious I guess. As they used to say in the old radical '60s, "Freedom of the press means freedom for those who own one." I guess that would translate now into those who own newspaper chains, news corporations, TV stations etc. like Murdoch et. al.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael: Very good article. I was just talking to some friends about this very situation this morning. We are all very worried out here. Keep up the good work, also thanks for the article on the New Yorker cover. Maureen Barry

Another Lally said...

I can always be assured of a good laugh when politics is the subject.

Nobama is moving into totally unfamiliar territory when he moves to center. The most recent admission that McSame is right about drilling for domestic oil plays into the claim that he is too inexperienced to be president.

The biggest laugh I got was when Nobama stood against the discussions of reparations for slavery. People will soon realize that he has no history of slavery. His background is more akin to the "house" slaves who were usually mulatto children of the overseers and slave masters sent out to calm the slaves when they got "uppity".

"And those greedy oil companies" should invest a large share of their profits (after paying $3 in taxes for every $1 of profit) in endeavors totally unrelated to their business.

Nobama should start using his feigned southern accent again and pander once more to socialism and capitulation.

The lemmings who voted for John Kerry and still cannot understand why, need a charismatic leader who can tell them what to think and how to act.

Similar to Kerry, the more Nobama speaks without a prepared statement, the more he exposes his lack of qualifications. Were Nobama a real statesman, he would have accepted the town hall format that McSame offerred. Were Nobama as glib and McSame as inarticulate as the Dems would have us believe, Nobama would win such debates with a smile and a wink.

The best Dem candidate in the race was probably Richardson.

I appreciate the Left in Italy far more than the USA Left. They at least make no pretense of being Socialists and Communists.

Charles Lambert said...

On the contrary, the left in Italy is still largely composed of people who make no bones about their socialist and communist affiliations. That's why they call themselves socialists and communists. Even the centre-left party (Partito Democratico) is largely made up of people who were members of the PCI (Partito Comunista Italiano), one of the two biggest communist parties outside the Warsaw Pact along with its French equivalent, until it rebranded itself some years ago.

The problem with the left in Italy is that it's been contaminated by catholic reformists and depends on shaky coalitions with self-serving centrists in order to govern. It certainly isn't because it no longer has its roots in socialist thought.

Another Lally said...

Must have lost something in the translation. To not pretend, feign or imply anything other than being Socialists and Communists.

It is good to finally see an admission that the USA Left is trying to turn us from a Capitalist Democratic Republic to a Socialist or Communist state.

Lally said...

This isn't a response to "Another Lally" (who I don't even know if he's really got my last name or not, assuming it's a "he") because I don't want to encourage him. But calling any U. S. Democrat a "socialist" or "communist" is just silly. Are there those on the "left" who would like to see more Democratic socialism of the kind that created universal accesss to public education here and elsewhere, and universal access to health care elsewhere etc. Sure. That's not "Communism." And the place where "capitalism" and Communism" seem to be proving very compatible—China—is now beating us at our own capitalist game, so go figure. That's all 20th century leftovers anyway and is pretty irrelevant to what's really going on now, except in the ways that corporate power still uses state power to protect its interests, whether that state power is fronted by Communists, Nazis, Facists, U. S. Republicans or some U. S. Democrats. And as for anyone who thinks McCain would make a better president for these troubled times than Obama, they must be missing a few brain cells, in my opinion. And since this is my blog, it's my all about my opinion(s).