Republicans think anti-immigrant forces are going to be rallied by attacking a middle aged woman in her fifties? This is what’s going to swing independents back to McCain? Reminding people (a) of an actual human face on the receiving end of anti-immigration policies and (b) that the Democratic candidate is personally affected by a complicated issue facing many American families?
Actually, I don’t think the McCain campaign, which, thus far, has been taking a hands-off approach to the smear, believes this blip will be an eleventh hour game changer. As I said before, issue #1 is still the economy, stupid. Sure, they might swing a few soft votes in OH, PA and FL. But I believe the primary motive behind this and other recent over the top accusations against the Obama campaign is to stir up the GOP base in anticipation of making a comeback in 2012.
The notion that this last-minute flail will have a significant effect on the polls is, as Ambinder notes, ludicrous. Instead, it is merely the latest addition to the increasingly unhinged narrative of fraud, radicals, and socialism to justify losing: not because of Obama’s superior ground game, nor the fact that McCain has run what has been possibly the worst presidential campaign since, um, Kerry ’04. Rather, all the weeping and gnashing of teeth seems purposefully designed to stir up resentment and class-based grievance, once again positioning the white working class electorate against the darkies, illegals and the poor (to say nothing of the liberal elite boogeyman), with the first black president (who, if you hadn’t noticed, has a scary foreign-sounding name) serving as the ultimate living, breathing wedge issue.
The right is trying to start the culture war all over again, utilizing, as Henry Farrell put it, the mechanisms of Nixonland in the hope they can salvage the flagging fortunes of the current GOP power structure.
Buckle up kids–the next four years are going to be a wild fucking ride.
Related: In response to a passage in Nedra Pickler’s AP report indicating that the information on the immigration status of Obama’s paternal aunt had been leaked to AP by federal officials, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. has penned the following letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff (h/t Taylor Marsh):
Dear Mr. Chertoff:
I was startled to read in today’s Associated Press that a “federal law enforcement official” has leaked information about an immigration case involving a relative of Senator Obama. Even more troubling, the AP reports that it “could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved,” a very disturbing suggesting indeed. This leak is deplorable and I urge you to take immediate action to investigate and discipline those responsible.
I note that this is not the first leak of law enforcement information apparently designed to influence the coming Presidential election — in recent weeks law enforcement sources leaked information about an alleged investigation of a community services organization, a leak that the Department of Justice informs me has been referred to the Department’s Office of the Inspector General and Professional Responsibility.
Such leaks are deeply harmful to the political process, and the American people expect and deserve better from their government and its law enforcement agencies.
John Conyers, Jr.