About That Latest McCain Campaign Flail

by matttbastard

Re: the (illegally) manufactured half-assed October November Surprise currently popping a slow news day, Marc Ambinder (!) breaks it down:

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.

Sincerely,
John Conyers, Jr.

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Joe Sixpack in Vegas

by matttbastard

As Pod-Parker (h/t Betty Cracker) said recently regarding the McCain-Palin Campaign’s pro-American outreach effort:

“Palling around with terrorists,” as Sarah Palin said of Obama, gets to an underlying xenophobic, anti-Muslim sentiment. Using surrogates who strategically use Obama’s middle name, Hussein, feeds the same dark heart.

This tactic, denied but undeniable, has been effective with target audiences, some of whom can be viewed on YouTube entering a Palin rally in Pennsylvania. One cherubic older fellow totes a stuffed Curious George monkey wearing an Obama sticker as a hat…

To McCain’s credit, he has tried to correct his audience—when, for example, a woman said she couldn’t trust Obama because he’s an Arab. Gosh, wonder where she ever got that idea? But the McCain-Palin bad cop-good cop routine is what it is. The hot babe lathers the crowd; the noble soldier hoses them down. This isn’t a campaign; it’s a sideshow.

Related: More from the Henderson, NV rally by Matt Toplikar of the Las Vegas Sun (h/t David Neiwert)

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“Real” and “Unreal” Americans

by matttbastard

Well, looks like we’ve finally established where one of those anti-American domestic strongholds that Palin mentioned the other day are located: the Obamabot enclaves of Northern Virginia!

Think Progress:

On MSNBC this morning, McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer asserted that “real Virginia” does not include Northern Virginia:

I certainly agree that Northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. … But the rest of the state — real Virginia if you will — I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.

MSNBC host Kevin Corke gave Pfotenhauer a chance to revise her answer, telling her: “Nancy, I’m going to give you a chance to climb back off that ledge — Did you say ‘real Virginia’?”

But Pfotenhauer didn’t budge, and instead dug a deeper hole.

Real Virginia, I take to be, this part of the state that’s more Southern in nature, if you will.

Thorpe ended the segment noting that Pfotenhauer was appearing via satellite from Northern Virginia. “Nancy Pfotenhauer, senior policy adviser for the McCain campaign, joining us from Arlington, not really Virginia.” “Alright, I’m just gonna let ya– you’ll wear that one,” Corke responded.

Ok. Real Virginians don’t support Obama. Gotcha.

But then there’s this, straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak):

My opponent’s answer showed that economic recovery isn’t even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to “spread the wealth around.”

You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.

Socialism–totally un-American, natch. So is all this simply boilerplate campaign rhetoric, or is there a more disturbing subtext at play? Adam Serwer looks at the historical context of the ‘socialist’ smear as it relates to POC (h/t Jill):

Conservatives, now and in the past, have turned to “socialism” and “communism” as shorthand to criticize black activists and political figures since the civil-rights era. In The Autobiography of Malcolm X as written by Alex Haley, Malcolm recalls being confronting by a government agent tailing him in Africa, not long after his pilgrimage to Mecca. The agent was convinced that Malcolm was a communist. Malcolm spent years under surveillance because of such bizarre suspicions. Likewise, J. Edgar Hoover spent years attempting to link Martin Luther King Jr. to the communist cause. King, for his part, welcomed everyone who embraced the cause of black civil rights, regardless of their ideological ties. This included communists and socialists, but the idea that a devout man of God like King saw black rights as a mere step in a worldwide communist revolution was absurd. Malcolm was a conservative. King was a liberal. To their enemies, they were simply communists.

The feeling that black-rights activists were part of a front for communism and socialism was widespread. Jerry Falwell famously criticized “the sincerity and intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations.” Falwell charged, “It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed.” For the agents of intolerance, things haven’t changed much. On October 9, a McCain supporter told the candidate that he was angry about “socialists taking over our country.” McCain told him he was right to be angry.

The right wing continues to link the fight for black equality with socialism and communism. At the website of conservatism’s flagship publication, National Review, conservatives like Andy McCarthy argue whether Obama is “more Maoist than Stalinist,” and National Review writer Lisa Schiffren explicitly argued this summer that Obama must have communist links based on his interracial background. Schiffren mused, “for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics.”

[…]

John McCain is no George Wallace, and a direct comparison may not be what [John] Lewis intended. Rather, Lewis was expressing concern that the McCain campaign’s rhetoric could lead some of their supporters to conclude that violence is the only rational response to an Obama victory.

Also keep in mind some of the highlighted right-wing sentiments from this post as Billmon repeals Godwin’s Law, once and for all (h/t pogge @ BnR):

Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative “movement” aren’t just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they’re preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency — in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City.

[…]

I’ve been following politics for going on 35 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Republican candidate publicly refer to his Democratic opponent as a “socialist” — not even while hiding behind a cardboard cutout like “Joe the Plumber”. This from a man who told the entire nation on Wednesday night that believes an obscure nonprofit group is “perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

Likewise, I don’t think there’s ever been an American vice presidential candidate who explicitly referred to entire regions of the United States as “pro-American” — with the clear implication that other regions are something less than “pro-American.” Not since the Civil War, anyway.

We’ve crossed some more lines, in other words — in a long series of lines that have made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party and an explicitly fascist political movement. And John McCain and his political handlers appear to have no moral compunctions whatsoever about whipping this movement into a frenzy and providing it with scapegoats for all that hatred, simply to try to shave a few points off Barack Obama’s lead in the polls.

To call this “country first” only works if you assume your opponents (and scapegoats) are not really part of that same country. And we all know where that leads.

As Colbert King put it in Saturday’s WaPo, “[t]ell a rabid audience that Barack Obama is “palling around with terrorists” (as Palin has done), imply that Obama is friendly with people out to destroy America (as she also has done) and what do you expect?”

DJ rewind:

Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative “movement” aren’t just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they’re preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency — in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City.

Rhetoric–yes, mere words, Senator McCain–can have consequences.

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Just Don’t Call ‘Em ‘White Trash’

by matttbastard

Hey, remember that teapot tempest over Heather Mallick’s now-infamous (and since 404’d) CBC News online op-ed [link corrected — thanks, Alison] about Sarah Palin’s redneck pro-American support base?

From an upcoming NY Times profile of Palin’s overwhelmingly male booster club:

“You rock me out, Sarah,” yelled one man, wearing a red-checked hunting jacket as Ms. Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, strode into an airplane hangar here on Thursday. He held a homemade “Dudes for Sarah” sign and wore a National Rifle Association hat. Kenny Loggins’s “Danger Zone” blared over the loudspeakers, and the man even danced a little — yes, a guy in an N.R.A. hat dancing in a hangar, kind of a Sarah Palin rally thing.

*blinks*

Dancing to “Danger Zone” while rockin’ a flannel hunting coat and a (presumably meshback) NRA ball cap. If the stereotype fits…

I mean, Jesus — Bocephus even wrote a fiery, factually challenged Wallace voter anthem in honour of the 2008 Palin-McCain backlash campaign:

“John N Sarah tell ya/Just what they think/And they’re not gonna blink/They don’t have terrorist friends/To whom their careers are linked.”

It doesn’t get more ‘What’s the Matter With Kansas’ than that, true believers.

In light of all this overwhelming evidence, methinks that, rather than teh poor, put-upon Palin or the ever-aggrieved Fox News fanatics (and their Northern kin), it is Heather who’s owed an apology–and/or a dry Elderflower Martini.

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The Stench of Desperation (I am [not] Joe).

by matttbastard

Right wing identity politics and carefully-manufactured pseudo-populist rage against ‘vote fraud’; Race/red/God-baiting Obama to ridiculous extremes; the hyperbolic overreaction to McCain’s latest campaign stunt FAIL.

Oh, and my personal favourite, McCarthyism redux from Rep. Michele Bachmann:

Everywhere you turn, it seems doctrinaire right-wingers, in concert with the McCain campaign, are flailing wildly, lashing out with every trick they know, every demonstrative tactic that used to be filed under ‘slam dunk’ in the wingnutosphere handbook.

But you know what?

None of it means a goddamn thing, because–sorry, wingnuts–it’s still the fucking economy, stupid; all the irony-free ‘I am Spartacus’ circle jerks in the world won’t magically reverse the real average Joe and Josephine’s negative home equity, protect their jobs, nor will it restore their 401k, inoculate them from losing it all. Like it or not, in this election cycle, issues are trumping (trouncing, trampling) identity. Which is why your out of touch, totally overwhelmed and over-matched Maverick is losing.

Deal with it.

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Joe Six-Pack in OH

by matttbastard

h/t Jonathan Martin, video courtesy blogger interrupted

Related: George Packer on the challenge Obama faces in Ohio:

Gabe Kramer, the S.E.I.U.’s chief of staff in Columbus, told me, “You talk to people about the issues and the issues resonate. But what you hear people talking about on the street and on TV and radio is the other things. Is Obama like us? Does Obama share our experience of the world? Which is not the same thing as racism, but overlaps with it.” Obama, Kramer added, is “very good at talking to professionals—people who care about policy—and comes across as judicious, careful, thoughtful. But he has a harder time talking about them in a way working-class white Ohioans can relate to.”

h/t Eric Martin & Gary Farber

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Joe Six-Pack in PA

by matttbastard

h/t cleek in ObWi comments.

Update: Dana Milbank, on the road with the McCain-Palin campaign, quotes Lehigh County GOP Chairperson Bill Pratt at yesterday’s McCain-Palin rally in Bethlehem:

“Think about how you’ll feel on November 5 if you wake up in the morning and see the news, that Barack Obama — that Barack Hussein Obama — is the president-elect of the United States,” Platt said. The audience at the Lehigh University arena booed at the thought of it.

“The number one most liberal senator in the United States of America was, you guessed it, the ambassador of change, Barack Hussein Obama,” he added. “This election is about preserving America’s past and protecting the promise of its future.”

The sage Platt had more information to disclose. “Barack Obama refused to wear an American flag on his lapel,” he said of the man who, at the presidential debate the night before, was wearing a flag pin on his lapel. The audience booed. “Barack Obama, a man who wants to be president of the United States of America, removed the American flag from his chest because it was a symbol of patriotism. Perhaps Barack Obama doesn’t put country first, but he puts fashion first.”

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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