Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama Fighting: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Glennzilla has praised Barack Obama in a way that deserves to be amplified but also qualified. The right wing has begun circulating the meme that Barack Obama is unpatriotic on the evidence that he doesn't always wear flags on his lapels (e.g., here). Greenwald highlights the contrast between Obama's response and the sort of milquetoast we've come to expect from Democrats:

* "Even though I am kind of against the war and a little bit against the new FISA bill for now, I love my country and want to protect Americans, too, like the Republicans do -- honest" (the standard Democratic response); and,

* "If anyone's patriotism should be considered suspect, it's those who want to send Americans off to die in a worthless and destructive war and those who want to eviscerate our basic political values by torturing, detaining people with no rights, and spying on American citizens with no warrants" (Obama's response here).
This is exactly right. Obama dismisses the validity of the attack rather than just pleading not guilty to it; and from there he goes on the offensive, giving reasons (and damn good ones) why the Wide Stance idiots are themselves deeply, viciously unpatriotic by any meaningful standard. This, Democrats, is what fighting back looks like. Please write it down, commit it to memory, and apply its lessons widely.

An important qualifier is in order, however. Obama must be aware that he will have to repeat this counterattack time and time again, more times than would be expected in a discursive context in which rationality counted for something. This back-and-forth is not being scored on points by a panel of debate judges. Decency and fair play should not be assumed. As it is being carried forward by not only the McCain campaign but also by armies of of shrill, shameless professional liars (e.g., Sean Hannity, Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, etc.), it will persist. The counterargument and counterattack highlighted by Glennzilla is effective and well-played, but Obama's campaign should not assume it will make the attack stop any time soon. They will only be deterred in using the Obama-is-unpatriotic line after they have been wounded by the counterattack multiple times.

Democrats commonly make the mistake of mounting an effective rhetorical gambit only to abandon it after a few iterations because it doesn't immediately "win." This betrays a profound failure to appreciate the shamelessness of the other side. Please -- and this goes to the Obama campaign and Democrats everywhere -- know that this type of bullshit, given its source, requires a great deal of patient but vigorous scrubbing.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

3 comments:

Zennalathas said...

If only Billary had the balls Obama has...then I wouldn't have to be so worried about her winning...

Dale said...

Hillary Clinton is a treasure. Really too precious for the presidency, don't you think?

Zennalathas said...

She's a delicate little flower, and I think presidency might have her wilting.

Plus, I don't think America can deal with a person leading the country who's so prone to tears.