Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lies And Smears, Mockery And Sneers

As readers know, I have been absolutely shell shocked over the past few weeks regarding the depths the GOP, and McCain in particular, are willing to go to in this election. The lies have been so absurd, so audacious, that sometimes all I can do is just sit here in utter disgust and disbelief. And then another wave of disgust and disbelief hits when I see the media giving ample coverage to -- or perhaps a very weak correcting of -- the lies. And then, when that wave of disgust and disbelief subsides, a new wave hits upon learning that my fellow Americans (or at least half of them, apparently) have completely fallen for it.

I think I can only describe my current state as that of being perpetually enraged.

As an action-oriented person, my first thought is... what can I do about this bullshit? I live in a solid blue state so my canvassing here is not really a useful effort. I could do some work in neighboring states to ensure a more solidly blue outcome (except for Indiana they're already tilting that way). More effectively, though, I could continue to write. Not that I have a large readership these days, and not that I'm a particularly good writer... but lending my voice in chorus with all of the other voices out there might help the truth resonate. I mean, let's face it... the angry left has a pretty fucking good reason to be angry.

So that's my plan. But what is the Obama campaign's plan?

Obama has run the tightest, strongest, most competently organized campaign I have seen the Democrats run since I started paying attention (1997-ish?). I have nothing but awe and admiration for the mechanics of their approach on the ground, their reliance on individual participation, their 50-state strategy. Obama's vision is a 180 degree turnaround from previous Dem campaigns... people powered, people empowered. An army of informed voters reaching out to other voters in communities across America, swelling the ranks. It's exactly the way our democracy was designed to work and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of it. Word!

But the Rovian politics introduced in the 2000 election cycle have turned out to be a cancer on our political discourse. A malignant growth that feeds on the healthy parts of democracy, consuming and destroying the heart of it. The win-at-all-costs mentality... the divide and conquer approach... the ends-justify-the-means strategy. Ironically, McCain was the first victim of Rove politics in the 2000 Republican primaries. As a former admirer of McCain (if not the whole of his beliefs), I remember it like it was yesterday... especially the whisper campaigns in South Carolina regarding his "black baby". Absolutely disgusting and, sadly, speaking volumes about the Republican base that bought into it.

After Bush got the nomination, the same tactics were artfully and effectively employed against Gore. Smear and slander followed by sneer and mockery. It's a recipe that was followed again against Kerry. And the Gore and Kerry campaigns, like deer in headlights, like the McCain candidate of 2000, just clung helplessly to the belief that the American voters were smarter than all that. They didn't counter the lies. They didn't counter the sneers. They just kept doing their thing. And I think we know what happened to Gore and Kerry, right?

Enter Obama -- someone finally able to boldly articulate our ideals and our ideas -- we finally have someone to unify the Democratic party. Instead of a clump of fragmented special interest groups held together by Union dollars (the shameful legacy of the 70's), we have actually returned to our "party of the people" roots. A party that presents logical solutions to modern issues instead of merely relying on the recitation of platitudes from the glory years. Democrats finally have a voice worth listening to.

But while we are finally strong in the content of our ideas, finally strong in the core of our values, and finally strong in the unity of our voice, we are once again facing the cancer of Rovian politics: lies and smears, mockery and sneers. Call me cynical, but in a country that now seems to prize the lowest common denominator in its politics -- i.e. anyone too well educated or too well spoken is, God forbid, "elite" -- I don't think Dems can win on virtues alone.

Which really brings me to this: Although I respect what Obama is trying to accomplish by taking America off the path of self-destruction that Rove put us on when he divided us into two Americas for political purposes, I am now too cynical to believe it can be done. Although his desire to unify America is perhaps the only element of true statesmanship I've seen in my lifetime, the divide is too deep and America's taste for blood is too strong. I realized that as I watched the conventions. Obama kept the Dems focused on ideas, on his vision for the future. To the dismay of some party members, he only reluctantly gave in to the cries for "red meat" by allowing a very few jabs here and there on Bush and the Republican record. The only partisan references he himself made were direct responses to certain GOP attacks (the Britney/Paris ad, for example). Then came the GOP convention... no ideas, but wall to wall red meat. Lies and smears, mockery and sneers. In fact, Sarah Palin's much celebrated speech was nothing but. Every day it's more of the same... lies and smears, mockery and sneers. The media isn't calling it out like they should and I have little faith in a partisan public to root it out for themselves so I think we're fucked. Totally fucked.

What I want now is for Obama to just beat the shit out of them, daily. Fuck the truth. Lie. Smear. Mock. Sneer. Don't try to reason with voters... don't try to be logical... don't make them think too hard. That is apparently a non-starter for the O'Lie-ly, Hannity, Limboob, Fox&Friends, Drudge crowd. Lie, lie, lie like a fucking rug... or at least mock and snear. If people actually bought the convention line that we need to "throw Democrats out of office" because of the failed policies of the last 8 years (when Republicans have held all branches of office for 7 out of 8 of those years), then they are all a bunch of mother fucking idiots anyway. If they believe Ms Mooseburgers is an earmark hero just because she says so (despite the truth being very well documented and easily accessible) then they will believe anything. It's time to return the volley. And if Obama doesn't want to do it himself, fine... send out the surrogates. Saturate the media. Who will remember Obama's integrity and statesmanship if he loses?

It's all about lies and smears, mockery and sneers.

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