So a number of commentators are unhappy with the dem response to this pig malarkey, complaining that it's somehow weak. But at least one suggests that maybe Obama set the lipstick line as a trap, so as to divert the Palin narrative and re-moor the McCain campaign in the gutter.

Who knows? But I do wonder: among those who don't think Obama has been aggressive enough, he is all but guaranteed to yield 99% of the available votes, and that's a pretty good reason not to give them what we want if doing serves some other purpose. These are the same people still smarting from Kerry's inaction against the swift boaters in 04, the hyper-informed and jittery liberals-- people like us. Our emotional state is understandable, sure, but it might also be self-defeating. We want the emotional satisfaction of a winning newscycle (though really, I'm not sure we lost this one). But what does the persuadable, swing state voter want?

In the end, we should want Obama to give them what they want. Assuming basic competency, I think that must be what his campaign means to be doing here-- the lipstick comment aside (or not). I don't think we should take his high-mindedness at face value anymore than we do when McCain tries to come off similarly.

This new wolf ad from McCain seems to affirm the strategy. I won't link to it. You can go find it if you don't know what I'm talking about. But the point is they're on the defensive about their own tactics.

I don't know if it will work. That's another question. But this ridiculous notion that we're not getting what we want from the campaign because of some fundamental character flaw endemic to our politicians and strategists is sort of silly. These people are professionals. At the very least they have a reason for what they're doing.

TALLY: $20 to Obama on 10/9.


Ian said...

If you don't already, consider following Al Giordano's blogging at the Field:


He's an old-school operative, and his basic message is two-fold. 1) STFU, the Obama camp knows better than you. 2) THE GROUND GAME. It's a great antidote to both the MSM and all the doom-and-gloom and Obama must do this, that and the other crap dominating Kos and the other blogs.

Speaking of the ground game: I can't recommend canvassing enough. If you live in or near a battleground state -- even one like mine, Missouri, that leans McCain -- please consider a few hours of canvassing.

Grendel said...

* I'd like to believe Obama trapped them with the lipstick line. Phony outrage does play into the "Solve Real Problems" frame that may be emerging.

* Obama is far ahead of where Kerry was at the end of the Repub convention. It took the debates for Kerry to draw nearly even with Bush in the polls. We haven't had debates yet. We haven't had the image of fresh young optimistic energy side by side with 72-year-old warmonger being tied to Bush with every answer, over and over and over and over and over.

* Palin is a bubble that will burst.

* Bonus question: The last time a veteran candidate beat a nonveteran candidate was which year?

Trevor Jackson said...

For all the hissyfit outrage over Obama's supposed sexism, I'm surprised that there's been less talk about McCain's own sexism w/r/t Palin.

First, in his acceptance speech he talked about not being able to wait to show Palin around Washington, either like some trophy or a student.

Second, there's the whole "learning foreign policy at the foot of the master" creepiness.

Third, is the wolf ad that Pete refers to above. In this fact-challenged ad, Palin is being stalked like prey to the Democratic operatives' predator.

She's Nell Fenwick tied to the train-track. Except in this instance, she's been tied there by Snidley Whiplash as bait. Her pick as VP did two things for McCain: 1) energized his demoralized base and 2) distracted the press from the issues and policies that reveal McCain as the doubling-down on Bush's economic and foreign policies.

Fortunately, the press has been unable to avoid actually investigating and reporting the lies and misdirection because they've been given little else to report. We'll see how long McCain can keep her tied to those tracks. Bring on the debates.

Grendel said...

Trevor, but that would take actual journalism. What a quaint suggestion.

Trevor Jackson said...

I don't know, Grendel. I think the astonishingly radical policies and approach to governance that Palin has shown have gotten pretty decent exposure. The high level of interest in her combined with her unavailability to the press has left them with no alternative but to investigate. Consider what we've learned in just the last two weeks (!):

--Bridge to Nowhere
--"Hypothetically" looking into banning books, then firing the librarian who balked
--8-digit deficit after leaving the mayor's office
--Earmark porkaphilia (including projects McCain himself labeled as egregious in years past)
--Religious beliefs (Iraq War = God's will, etc.)
--Forcing rape victims to pay for their own medical exams

Arguably, these are things McCain is happy to distract the press with because most of them serve as distractions from how crappy a candidate McCain is. And every report just hardens the hearts of her supporters against the truth; i.e., its liberal bias.

But even in the most cynical view--that people are merely curious about Palin--a lot of what gets reported has got to raise some doubts in a few independents' minds, right? Right? Please, God.

Grendel said...

I'm not privvy to the American media anymore, beyond the blogs and news sites I gravitate to, which, like reality, have a liberal bias. So I take your word that that stuff really is penetrating. And you're right, Trev, it's largely a distraction.

But I'm guessing Fox News is not showing in-depth investigations of Palin's misdeeds, nor is Mr. Limbaugh criticizing her mayoral budget deficit. Online media gives us a reasonably decent outside view of the issues going on in the campaigns, but probably most people don't really care about politics till the debates and take the traditional media consensus as a baseline, and that is a message put out by a small handful of corporations. I'll bet if one of us unplugged for a week and only watched Fox, CNN, CBS, etc. we would be scared shitless. They are also the ones paying for these national tracking polls to fit their narrative, so grain of salt with those. It's the state by state polls that matter most.

The trad media is clearly for a close race and I believe manipulates coverage to maximize profits. If they're any kind of businesspeople that's what they're doing. But the Obama and McCain campaigns not only know this as a duh, they know a lot more about what each decision, even each word, means when it's released. It's the people who are left on their own to try and figure out the truth, as usual. You can fool some of the people some of the time kind of thing. We have to trust in the sense of the American people, which always produces a nail-biting barnburner, and lately a couple dangerous errors. I am betting that a bare majority come around to seeing this as desperate, insincere bullshit versus flustered good intentions.

Your Nell tied to the tracks is an angle I haven't heard before. What a powerful, sickening image that is. That's really what he's doing, isn't it? (There was a 1999 remake in which Nell was played by Sarah Jessica Parker. And who was it that tied Nell to the tracks? Sidney Whiplash. Or should that be John Sidney Whiplash?)

They've taken the historic nature of women's influence in this election and tried to cynically turn it on its head. Along with most of what John McCain has stood for for most of his career. I used to like John McCain. Really he was my last hope for a rational side to the Republican party to prevail. He was probably the most popular Republican in America, and even the Republicans saw he was their only hope to avoid being properly tossed out on their asses, and saw it well before the Dems made their drawn-out and unnecessarily grating decision. What I never banked on was just how deep and even the political division is in America, so divisive that McCain felt compelled to suddenly pick an unknown woman with no national experience, someone he had met once before, to be a 72-year-old heartbeat away from being PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

What the hell happened to John McCain? Has he pulled a Reagan BEFORE the election? He seems really old and not clearly in control of his campaign. If he wins he'll be the oldest person in history to take the oath. We're in trouble on many fronts. He wanted Lieberman. They gave him Palin. SERIOUSLY? That's another tack I'd bet the Obama camp is studying: The Concerned for McCain frame.

A Colin Powell endorsement would swing one wobbling percent, I'd wager. Speaking of wagering, as we head toward the endgame here, don't forget that McCain is wild about craps, which won't be much talked about this election. In craps you win big by putting a lot of money on 49% propositions (or worse). Obama plays poker and is reportedly pretty good at it. I don't play poker myself, but I gather it takes more smarts and thinking ahead than tossing a couple dice down a table.

I have felt from the beginning that STFU is wise when it comes to the Obama campaign. They are smart as hell and they know the stakes here. We gave them a black candidate in a country where it's an open question how bad racism still is. Being from Indiana, I'd put it easily at 20% at least of the people I grew up with wouldn't be going out to vote for a black president. Yet he's close in Indiana. Long way of saying I'm not close to panicked and don't like the chicken littling.

Apologies for rambling overtyping. Peace out.

Oh one more thing. About a week ago this guy pulled up to the stop sign by the Irish pub, leaned out the window, and cried in a loud English accent, "I'm drunk as a cunt, and I couldn't give a fuck!"

And Ian, that Al Giordano blog is outtasight! I'm linking to it in the sidebar. Any other juicy election sites people can recommend?

Trevor Jackson said...

Well, you already link to Alicublog but Roy Edroso just compared Palin to Oliver North, which is just so brilliant I may be done with amateur punditry.

Pete said...

It's easy to forget, in the face of the day-to-day media coverage, that all the big facts in this election favor our guy. There's no way to spin out of existence McCain's age (or his VP pick in light of it) or association with Bush's failed policies (though he might be better at the latter than he should be...)

Point is- these facts aren't only undeniable, they're front and center in any rational decision-making. And they've been so from the beginning- which makes them pretty much useless to the media coverage at this point.

So even if McCain can weave the media narrative in some way that mitigates these things by some degree, he's not Rumplestiltskin (despite the resemblance).

He could win for any number of reasons. I'm just saying that any tangible effect of a media narrative in his favor is facing a steeper incline than it would have for any winning candidate in recent (or not recent) memory.

Don't get me wrong- I enjoy discussing media coverage as much as the next guy. It's important. But I think it's also useful to remember the big picture-- and how it puts Obama in a position to be cautious and McCain in one to be reckless.

Grendel said...

Answer to my bonus question, as far as I can determine, is 1948 -- Harry Truman, a veteran, defeated Thomas Dewey, a non-veteran.