Friday, August 1, 2008

McSame: The Audacity of Shamelessness

John McSame is an old man with not so many political campaigns left in him. He doesn't really know anything or stand for anything, but he definitely wants to be president, and he has come to the realization that the way he can rally the Wide Stance base is to serve them up the new Liberal to Hate.

They don't have Hillary Clinton to kick around, so McSame's campaign is showing them that Barack Obama is just as good: he's inexperienced, arrogant, presumptuous, uppity, vain, effete; he "plays the race card" recklessly; he had a terrible pastor who applied Christian teachings in an unflattering way; he may well be a Muslim; he doesn't always wear a flag pin; he hates the troops and wants to lose in Iraq; he has inspired a frighteningly cultish following; he once used the word "bitter" to describe some Americans; he's insubstantial, thin, flimsy, unaccomplished -- famous merely for being famous in the worst tradition of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

The American right wing savors the hatred of The Liberal Other in the way that a spider broods over her keep of desiccated insects, and through these lines of attack and plenty more to come, they will be summoned to vent their rage in the voting booth.

It should go without saying that the truth and relevance of the attacks is entirely beside the point. In fact, the truth shows a persistent liberal bias and as such must be handled, controlled, and bracketed with extreme care. McSame's handlers realize that the GOP depends, now and always, on ignorance.

In the face of all this, here are a few gigantic mistakes that the Obama campaign should work tirelessly and aggressively to avoid:

  • Do NOT assume that voters will see through the mendacity or laugh off the more ridiculous accusations. Some of them will positively feed on it (the right-wing haters), while others will not take the time to check them out, and the sum of those might get McSame to 50%+1, as it did for the current Disaster-in-Chief. This is how the mechanism works and why it succeeds.
  • Do NOT assume the political media will set the record straight in any meaningful way. They are mercurial at best, often unfavorably biased, and always biased in favor of 'controversy,' even if the controversy is between transparent lies and straightforward facts.
  • Do NOT assume that McCain and his surrogates will grow a sense of shame between now and November. They will not. They will lie loudly, lie repeatedly, lie shamelessly. They will mix in some truths and half-truths to make it slightly palatable, but the overall message will be brazenly false, and there will be no pangs of conscience about it. It can't be emphasized too strongly: they have no shame.
Cf. Eugene Robinson, Joe Klein -- even mainstream pundits are catching on. I'm not sure how much that matters in the end, but I welcome it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Political discourse in this country has degenerated from adults debating policy around the dinner table to rubes spewing idiocy around the cracker barrel. How low will our collective IQ get? No one is happy with the direction this country is headed, but people are honestly considering an old corporate shill like McSame? The fix is definitely in.