The Stupid is Starting

If you’re like millions of typical Americans, this stuff is pretty important to you:

Sen. Barack Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.

Now Obama’s wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she’s really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.

Here, we see conservatives releasing trial balloons into the air to see what sorts of innuendo are most likely to turn ignorant, gullible voters against Obama.  They’ll try another one every few weeks or so until they get a good combination of 3-4 mutually-reinforcing memes (possible examples: unpatriotic, thinks he’s smarter than you, hates/distrusts the military, spent time studying Islam) that do the most damage to Obama’s reputation.

Then, all summer and fall, dozens of groups will pour billions of dollars into coordinated, massive nationwide ad campaigns on these themes.  One pro-Bush group alone reports having collected a quarter-billion dollars to help finance this effort.

This thing is a long way from over.

10 thoughts on “The Stupid is Starting

  1. “One pro-Bush group alone reports having collected a quarter-billion dollars to help finance this effort.”

    Well, no they didn’t. The actual headline was:

    “Freedom’s Watch may spend up to $250 million in 2008 election”

    Boasting, sounds like to me. Or a scare piece. And won’t the other side (Soros, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley) be doing the same? Probably outdoing them by a considerable margin, truth be told. Don’t forget that the Dems seem to be outraising the GOP by a considerable margin on the measured indices, as they did in 2004 and 2006.

    As for trial ballons, well what would you call the snide little piece last week by the NYT about a ‘suspected’ extramarital affaire ten years ago? A bit shocking, the Times publishing something this emphermal and unsubstantiated. Dare I call it ‘swift-boating’? I expect to see this again and again this fall. Let’s not forget the little FEC scandal floated over the weekend. The demonization of McCain has begun – whether Obama wanted it or not.

    I think Obama will stand up pretty well to the scandals. I think he has a quality oft-imputed to Reagan in the past – a teflon hide. I think he’ll shed these little ‘scnadals’ like a duck sheds water.

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  2. “One pro-Bush group alone reports having collected a quarter-billion dollars to help finance this effort.”

    Well, no they didn’t. The actual headline was:

    “Freedom’s Watch may spend up to $250 million in 2008 election”

    Boasting, sounds like to me. Or a scare piece. And won’t the other side (Soros, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley) be doing the same? Probably outdoing them by a considerable margin, truth be told. Don’t forget that the Dems seem to be outraising the GOP by a considerable margin on the measured indices, as they did in 2004 and 2006.

    As for trial ballons, well what would you call the snide little piece last week by the NYT about a ‘suspected’ extramarital affaire ten years ago? A bit shocking, the Times publishing something this emphermal and unsubstantiated. Dare I call it ‘swift-boating’? I expect to see this again and again this fall. Let’s not forget the little FEC scandal floated over the weekend. The demonization of McCain has begun – whether Obama wanted it or not.

    I think Obama will stand up pretty well to the scandals. I think he has a quality oft-imputed to Reagan in the past – a teflon hide. I think he’ll shed these little ‘scnadals’ like a duck sheds water.

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  3. Unfortunately, Andrew, you’re right on track with this one.

    When Obama gets in–and it looks now like he will–he will get all kinds of muck thrown at him; and he may even be murdered like King and the Kennedys.

    Compounding the problem is that Obama will have a lot on his plate, thanks to Mr. Bush, right from the start of his presidency. Not just the Iraq mess but also massive budgetary problems, because much of the financial burden of the Republicans’ spending spree will fall due in 2009.

    Great politics–throw a party for your rich friends, launch an expensive war, and make sure most of the bill has to be paid when your competitor gets into the White House.

    As you say, the Republicans, in true Orwellian manner, will make sure Joe Ignoramus will give Obama the blame for their own fucking mess.

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  4. “When Obama gets in–and it looks now like he will–he will get all kinds of muck thrown at him; and he may even be murdered like King and the Kennedys.”

    You could say that about any President in memory; why should Obama be different? If they aren’t tossing muck thrown at you it means you aren’t doing anything effective.

    Murdered? It’s been a while since we lost a President and I don’t think Obama is at the kind of risk that Gore would have been – or even Bush. He’s too well-liked right now to raise real craziness.

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  5. Silliness! The insanity is ingrained. For those who think that the U.S. is a demoncracy take a look at “How to Be A Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention” to get an idea about what enfranchisement really means for those in Texas who hope their vote counts towards selecting a Democratic presidential candidate. Go to:

    http://www.txdemocrats.org/page/-/howto08.pdf

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  6. “For those who think that the U.S. is a demoncracy”

    Well, yes. Quite a few people in the UK indeed feel that the US is a ‘demonocracy’ with George Bush and Dick Cheney being the demons du jure.

    Presumably many in Germany also feel this way? 😉

    Now the Legions of Hell are embroiled in selecting our new ArchDemon. Will it be ArchDemon Obama, ArchDemon Clinton, or ArchDemon McCain?

    LOL!

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  7. @james rytting:

    For those who think that the U.S. is a demoncracy take a look at “How to Be A Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention” to get an idea about what enfranchisement really means for those in Texas who hope their vote counts towards selecting a Democratic presidential candidate.

    As opposed to us here in Germany, where every citizen feels the responsibility and power vested in him in the process of selecting the Social Democratic or Christian Democratic top candidate for the Bundestag election? Hahaha, just kidding – but if you’re a card-carrying party member, you’ll be allowed to observe the arcane backroom dealings from a somewhat closer distance.

    @Don:

    You could say that about any President in memory; why should Obama be different? If they aren’t tossing muck thrown at you it means you aren’t doing anything effective.

    Exactly. All this nonsense about his supposed lack of patriotism (he “refuses” to sport a goddamn lapel pin, LOL) sounds exactly like what was done to Kerry in 2004. The swift-boaters doubtlessly like to think they played a part in defeating Kerry, so they’re trying what they perceive as a successful strategy again. Whether that’s actually true, and whether it’ll work on Obama remains to be seen, but I actually doubt both.

    But this is a classic stratagem: Associating your opponent with supposed defects that his supporters hardly care about, but your supporters get riled up by. Because I mean, all the people who feel that Obama means a new beginning after the bitter and divided Clinton and Bush years probably won’t waste a second thinking about lapel pins 😀 — The purpose of such propaganda is to mobilize your own base. From what I read, Obama has been able to inspire a large number of people who were previously disillusioned with politics or simply uninterested. You can barely read a news feature about him that doesn’t have some story about huge crowds at previously deserted polling stations and the like. McCain, on the other hand, seems to have alienated a considerable part of the Republican party – I’m not sure why that is, but it’s apparent from the bile being spewed in the right-wing bloggosphere, maybe his skeptical stance towards torture is unamerican or something. The Republicans must find some way to bring out passive sympathizers, or they will be deluged in the presidential election.

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  8. They are doing it to McCain also, Sebastian, and they did it to Bush rather nastily both in 2000 and 2004.

    If anything the horrors of ‘swiftboating’ pale beside the Rathergate affair done to Bush. Forged memos from a dead officer in order to demonize one’s opponent and allege serious military offenses isn’t exactly Marquess of Queensbury rules.

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  9. A few months ago, I picked up this negative-campaigning-stuff by asking in an online community, which candidate was the one, who kills dog puppies, eats children for lunch and helds regular meetings with Hitler and Bin Laden.
    Surprisingly my “hidden” sarcasm was not recognized by many. Non-representative result: Most think, it’s Clinton.
    There is a tendency for throwing up very personal and absolutely non-political accusitions in US-election campaigns (Obamas middle name seems to be very popular about this), that’s really worrying.
    Oh yeah, and conspiracy. Whoever gets elected, of course was not because he gained the most votes, but because of some evil plot. Listening to those billions (only existing online) of Ron Paul supporters really makes paranoid.
    Will be an interesting election, but none to enjoy. Let’s just hope, that voters of Obama will not be compared to those of the NSDAP again…

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