With the CEO of Google campainging for him, Colin Powell endorsing him and Warren Buffet advising him, Barack Obama does not look like your typical terrorist-socialist. It is hard to imagine that this continual drum beat character assisination will serve McCain well. It seems to me that he is trading credibility for whatever is to be gained by demagoguery. That seems like a poor bargain as with McCain’s experience and the current crisis of confidence in the president. the loss of credibility would be a critical loss for McCain.
Palin, saying that she has not heard anything inappropriate, stated that threats against Obama were out of line and she would not continue speaking if she heard such things. This seems a little disingenuous since McCain has had to take a microphone away from a woman who was calling Obama an Arab. McCain no doubt correctly intuited that this woman was about to launch into an anti-Arab discourse or discussion of Obama as a terrorist.
She still though insists that it is appropriate to claim that Obama “palls around” with a terrorist. She maintains this position in spite of the fact that this claim has been thoroughly researched and no support for it has been presented. What is strange is that she supports this with allusions to undocumented claims and asays that there has not been a full explaination or disclosure. This sounds a lot like McCain’s claim that Acorn is a threat to democracy. Again no support and all research in circulation supports the opposite conclusion.
These viscious unsupported accusations seem to me to be utterly irresponsible and to bring the McCain ticket’s judgment into sharper question. To me this demonstrates a willingness to engage in the sort of conduct that got us into a war in the Mid-East and has led to the erosion of the credibility of the presidency. More than anything this sort of behavior links the McCain ticket with the current administration.
This sort of thing was tried by Goldwater when he was failing as the election approached. It seems to be wroking aginst McCain and Palin. When it is launched late in the campaign, voters seem to see it for what it is: a desparate attempt to win at any cost. It is hard to imagine a campaign that is farther from the standard of “putting America first.” It fosters hate and suspicion for the goal of getting elected, thereby fracturing a society that very much needs to unify to address its ills.
The Columbian newspaper endorsed Obama recently. This is interesting because it is a fairly conservative newspaper having endorsed Bush last time.
The basis for this endorsement was pretty much the factors that McCain ran on early in his campaign. First, leadership. The newspaper compares the divisiveness that seems to characterize McCain and his supporters with the way in which Obama has been able to unify his party and open it to others, attracting not just independents but according to the newspaper conservatives as well.
McCain has been hammering on the question of Obama’s judgment and it is that issue that The Columbian finds persuasive in supporting Obama. It compares the choices the two candidates have made during the campaign and finds these facts to favor Obama.
The personal attacks on Obama the newspaper finds to be true of McCain as well and it has little trouble discounting the terrorist and Acorn “issues” and it sounds like McCain’s pushing these issues diminishes him in the estimation of the newspaper.
What is interesting about this is that the McCain campaign has been intentionally trying to distract from the issues relating to the economy. (It was barely mentioned during the Republican convention.) McCain strongly prefers to direct attention to “character-related issues.” The Columbian’s endorsement is based entirely on the issues that McCain is pressing. It does not even mention the policy issues on which McCain is most vulnerable.
The National Association of Women endorsed Obama and today called Palin and an “incompetent” who might put the woman’s movement back generations. This is certainly not surprising but it is probably a welcome endorsement to Obama.
To my knowledge, other than a reference to the glass ceiling and her place in history (done mostly while she was courting Clinton supporters), Palin has not paid much attention to women’s issues. NOW takes umbrage at the obvious tokenism and says:
To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech, gun control, the separation of church and state,and polar bears. To say nothing of her complete lack of real preparation to become the second-(and possibly first)-most-powerful person on the planet.
This is a very broad swing, but there were unarguably far better and more qualified women in the pool of possible running mates.
What interests me is that people get this stuff and circulate false information based on it. No wonder Bush did not adequately fund education and cut back education loans.
Here’s a healthy sign: Bidden denounced a Palin statement. It has for me been weird hearing her highly inflammatory statements echoing through the news with nothing but denials by Obama and Biden. Palin has been treated like a little girl who should not be treated severely. This has given her a sort of immunity to make the most outlandish statements which seems to be mobilizing a segment of the population that everyone prefers not to talk about.
Today Biden called her out for apparently identifying areas of “real America” as apparently opposed to geographical pockets of sedition. This of course is (I thought) by now a hackneyed tactic of setting Americans against each other for political gain. All you need to do is fill some people (a majority) with self-righteous contempt for others or promote righteous doubt about the legitimacy of others, including candidates. (Palin informs us that Washington D.C. is not pro-America and cities should be viewed with suspicion.) It seems so transparent but it still seems to work to some degree. At least the tactic does not appear to be effective with a majority of the people. At least not right now.
Anyway, I say call demagoguery out. This tactic needs to be aired and revealed for what it is.
CNN reports that the only states that are still uncommitted (according to the polls) are six states that were for Bush in 2004. They are now a toss up but if they all go to McCain he will still lose. Nonetheless they are essential to a successful campaign and so McCain and Palin are forced to devote increasing precious time campaigning in these states, states which are historically linked to Republican candidates.
Again, as was the case with Hillary Clinton, Obama’s campaign seems better organized in the late stages of the campaign. Clinton ran out of money and McCain is running out of time. Assuming that he had several states in his pocket, McCain finds himself having to make last minute appearances in states where there has been heavy traffic by the other ticket.
McCain finds himself scrambling for the support of states which are necessary but not sufficient for success in November. Meanwhile Obama is pressing the fight in these states, apparently fighting for a landslide victory.
CNN’s David Gergen says that the Obama’s purpose is to have a decisive victory so that he can claim a mandate which in turn will presumably enhance his ability to govern.
We haven’t heard about mandates in a while. I don’t recall Bill Clinton talking about it but he certainly never acted like he had one. George W. Bush acted like he had a mandate (more than any president I can think of) but he certainly never had one. Each election boiled down to disputed election results in one state.
Reagan claimed a mandate to get stuff through a largely Democratic Congress. How would a mandate serve Obama? Particularly with what is expected to be a larger majority of Democrats in Congress.
In Washington State we have a super-majority of Democrats in the legislature and have experienced a withering of the party’s agenda. Few voting Democrats express anything but disappointment with the Democrat-controlled Congress after 2006.
It would be very exciting if Obama were looking to claim a mandate of leadership within his party. The party desperately needs direction. It has been a long time since the party stood for something that you could identify and point to legislation for examples. That may be a little broad, but I’ll bet it is true of at least 80% of people who are registered Democrats.
For twenty years or so the Republicans and the Democrats have been “pigs at the same trough” to quote William Greider. Obama has proved himself as a campaigner; wouldn’t it be great to find that he is as good a leader?