The Freak Show’s Coming to Town

My position on Obama is clear: I’m fer ‘im, but think he’ll have a very rough time of it against John McCain. 

Europeans who thought John Kerry was a shoo-in because he was the sort of candidate they would vote for may be in for the same sort of shock in 2008. A few American political reporters at Politico look at what’s going to get hurled at Obama if he wins the nomination:

McCain … would have a free hand to exploit a paper trail showing Obama’s evolution — opponents would say reversals — over the past decade from liberal positions on gun control, the death penalty and Middle East politics. He would exploit Obama’s current position in favor of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and beginning diplomatic talks with U.S. adversaries like the dictators of Iran and Venezuela….

…The last two Democratic nominees, Al Gore and John F. Kerry, were both military veterans, and both had been familiar, highly successful figures in national politics for more than two decades by the time they ran.

Both men lost control of their public images to the right-wing freak show — that network of operatives and commentators working mostly outside of the mainstream media — and ultimately lost their elections as many voters came to see them as elitist, out-of-touch, phony, and even unpatriotic.

Obama is a much less familiar figure than Kerry or Gore, with a life story that is far more exotic, who is coming out of a political milieu in Chicago politics that is far more liberal.

The freak show has already signaled its early lines of attack on Obama. Polls show a significant percentage of Americans believe — falsely — that he is a Muslim. Voter interviews reveal widespread unease with minor and seemingly irrelevant questions like why he does not favor American flag pins on his lapel. Nor have we heard the last about [Jeremiah] Wright and his fulminations.

For more on this, let me hoist from comments to a previous post this excellent interview of David Paul Kuhn, author of The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma.

3 thoughts on “The Freak Show’s Coming to Town

  1. McCain won;’t have to deconstruct Obama’s image – by the time Hillary gets sone with Obama he’ll retain only a tattered shroud of an image left.

    Obama is perfectly able to shoot himself in the foot with extempore remarks about ‘”bitter” Americans in small towns’ in to Chateau Yqeum-sipping, artisanal cheese-nibbling bloated rich leftist plutocrats at a fund-raiser in San Francisco. Makes one wonder whether he has really mastered the art of politics after all, because this is Not Done ™. It doesn’t anger me because I no longer fit the description – but I grew up partially in that culture. I assure you it’s going to piss a lot of people off, and even more will wonder what the heck he was thinking – and whether he possesses the judgement for the job.

    John McCain’s purported resemblance to Lee Marvin won’t matter when the Democratic candidates are finishing each other off thjs way. If Hillary Clinton gets the nomination it will so embitter the other side it won’t be worth having. If Obama wins he will be go into the election campaign as a damaged candidate – both the damage done by Hillary and self-inflicted wounds. McCain staffers are writing the scripts for some of the ads right now, complete with videotape of Oabama ‘dissing’ small-town America.

    Not smart.


  2. Perhaps if they can win a lawsuit to apply modern scientific methods to the vote-counting process, as they earlier tried to do with the census.

    An ‘actual enumeration’ is only proper when weighted by the proper statistical methods to ensure that what we *know* is the actual population is taken into account.

    Applying this to a national election we can therefore get the outcome we *ought* to get rather than mere vote totals, so mundane and old-fashioned.

    But I have a still-better idea. We don’t need to count votes at all (or statistically adjust them). Too time-consuming and expensive. No, the answer is staring us in the face: Use the exit polls!

    Had we used the exit polls in 2000 OR in 2004 we would have gotten the proper result. President Gore and President Kerry. Never mind that Gore would surely have run for reelection in 2004 and just contemplate the beauty of it.

    Actually we could have gotten both, because a President Gore elected by such progressive means might well have discovered that half the citizenry regarded him more as a clay pigeon (aka a target) than as their President. So perhaps Kerry might have got his deserved shot (oops, is that word appropriate?) after all.


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