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Taking the Fight to Obama

Right now Republicans are feeling confident, too confident. The confidence is good as a way to energize the campaign and GOTV but it leads to the danger of overconfidence. The real challenge is not Obama, a lightweight campaigner who speaks in cliches and has limited appeal, but the behind the scenes dirty tricks and a media even more ruthless than ever about destroying McCain and Palin.

And so the double standard is in good and roaring form.

According to the media and Obama's supporters, it's okay to belittle the work of a State Governor, but not a Community Organizer. It's also okay to parse McCain's ads for "hidden racism" but it's not okay to criticize Obama for referencing a Navy veteran as an old fish and a female candidate as a pig.

The McCain campaign's attempt to call Obama on his "old fish" reference to McCain and "lipstick on a pig" reference to Palin that had Obama's listeners cheering ran into a hostile press eager to repeat back the Obama campaign's talking points.

But rather than emphasizing sexism, what the campaign should have emphasized is what those lines or Obama miming McCain's inhibited range of motion or the infamous middle finger scratch or the choice of theme song or the 3 AM announcement that Biden not Hillary would be his VP.

What it shows is a dangerous kind of pettiness, disturbing in a man who wants to be President because it suggests a man who feels the need to repay every slight, but to do it just enough under the radar to hold up clean hands. It's not only petty and immature, but it's the act of a coward who can't deal with a straight up fight.

It's a part of a pattern for the man whose campaign first covertly released an ad depicting Hillary Clinton as a Big Brotheresque Tyrant on YouTube, denied he had anything to do with it and when it turned out the video had been put up by an employee of his campaign, claimed that he had done it on his own initiative. None of this stopped the media from celebrating what amounted to a vicious attack ad by promoting it as some sort of new model in political advertising.

This is what set the ugly pattern for this campaign. Obama stabs his opponents in the back or attacks using proxies and then holds up clean hands, smiles and makes a joke of the whole thing. McCain changed the rules of the game by taking the fight to Obama and making him look weak and indecisive for trying to play his old game of dirty attacks through media proxies while maintaining a clean image.

Backstabbers whose strategy is to show a positive image in public rely on maintaining a facade of civility that disarms their opponents and critics. "But he's such a nice guy", they expect everyone to say, even as they're doing their dirtiest work. They don't know what to do with a full frontal attack because it sidelines their entire strategy of a public high road and a private low road.

Backstabbers like Obama are by definition cowards, they don't know what to do with a Mano a Mano fight. While Obama's supporters are pushing him to go negative, he's too cowardly to actually hit back, relying on under the radar lines like "Old Fish" and "Lipstick on a Pig" to satisfy his supporters.

Obama's whole effort has been to develop a public "nice guy" persona and he's too afraid to jettison it because he won't have anything left. After all if Obama isn't the nice friendly guy who's eager to reach out to everyone, what is he? The short answer is nothing. The long answer is far more troubling because it would involve finding out who Obama really is under the phony smile, something he's worked to keep from happening, whether it involves sealing records or sealing lips.

Obama has always counted on having his hired guns and his media pets sink in the knife. Now he's realizing that he really will have to fight and his supporters are realizing that he's too weak to do it. They want him to go negative, but Obama is smart enough to know that if the race goes negative on both sides, he will lose no matter what the media will do on his behalf. He's tried to run on being a uniter, offering a new age hug for America and the world. McCain is instead trying to force him to play the warrior and on those terms he will lose.

Instead Obama has released a weak ad attacking McCain for not using the internet, more of a compliment to himself than anything else, whined about Swift Ad attacks and continues using the media as his crutch to do the attacking for him. And while the media is more than eager to do Obama's work for him, the American people are not stupid and know an unfair umpire when they see one.

McCain has offered Obama a man's fight, Obama instead called out a bunch of paid off referees and the polls on media bias show the public gets it and doesn't like it. After two weeks of relentless media attacks, McCain's poll numbers continue rising.

But the race is not over by far. Beyond the media assault, the ace in the hole for Obama will be dirty tricks and a possible desperation alliance with the Clintons, as Bill Clinton and Biden's comments signal a plea for reconciliation. It will be a tough fight and the toughest is yet to come.


  1. As I read this about Obama an image comes to mind--Eddie Haskel from "Leave It To Beaver." Eddie Haskel as the perpetual suck up and brown noser; sweet, kempt, attrative and polite parents and teachers and mean-spirited bully when parents and teachers aren't around. There's the famous episode where even Ward Cleaver thinks Eddie has gone over the top, saying, that Eddie is so polite it's almost un-American.

    Eddie/Barack does indeed resort to sucker punches and calling women pigs and older war heros old fishes and gets away with it with a big smile on his face.

    Eddie Haskel is running for president. That's it in a nutshell.

    BTW: While I dislike Bill Moyers and his take on the election he has a female political analyst (Kathleen Hall Jameison) on his show each week.

    She even picked up a subtle trick Obama's people used in an ad against McCain--slowing down a video image of McCain so that he blinks very slowly, moves very slowly.

    That's sort of subliminal if you ask me and also below the belt. To the Obama camp ageism is okay, sexism is okay, but don't you dare say Muslim and terrorist in the same sentence.

    Shavua tov, Sultan

  2. shavua tov and interesting, yes the obama campaign has been trying to spread the old meme about mccain for a while now so it would fit

  3. Anonymous14/9/08

    (inspired by day-by-day cartoon of same theme)

    "Who would cross the bridge to nowhere,
    Must answer me these questions most unfair."
    -- Chucky Gibson


    Vice President


    Which network?


    That depends on how long it takes for your bosses to see you for the liability you are.

  4. Anonymous16/9/08

    If you watched the Republican convention on the night John McCain introduced his mother you would very well understand that John McCain aint going nowhere. His mother popped up out of her chair faster than women half her age. That woman is spry. And not only spry, she has a hyper alertness in her eyes. This is an extraordinary women.

  5. What gets me is that Obama claimed he was an agent of change. He was going to run a different kind of campaign. He wasn't like all those politicians of the past. He wasn't going to get involved in dirty old politics. It's been one lie after the other. He has done all he can to smear McCain and Palin. He has run a vicious campaign. Plus he had his cronies in the media and other liberal establishment. Besides being so nasty, he's also a major whiner. He believed he was anointed to be President. He's scared that it's now slipping away.


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