Tuesday, October 7, 2008

McCain Campaign's Endgame: Forget The Issues, It's Slime 24/7

"I just have to buy into the judgment of the voters not to buy into these negative attack ads. Sooner or later people are going to figure out that if all you run is negative attack ads, you don't have much of a vision for the future or you're not ready to articulate it."

That was John McCain in 2000, when he was the subject of Karl Rove's negative ads in behalf of George Bush's campaign.

What a difference eight years makes.

The recent financial crisis has been a disaster for McCain. It's forced him to talk about the number one issue of concern to the American people, the economy. On that subject, McCain has nothing to offer. He's been a champion of deregulation for years. We see all too well the results of the lack of governmental oversight of the financial industry. We were told, "hands-off, the-market-will-take-care-of-itself." We then got reckless speculation and a bailout paid for by the taxpayers. And this bailout is nothing but a stopgap.

McCain's "campaign suspension" gimmick also exposed a candidate who was full of bluster about forging a resolution but ultimately provided no leadership.

So now that the McCain campaign is out of ideas, the real slime season has begun. Its opening theme: Bill Ayers, Obama's supposed "terrorist pal."

Ayers, former Weatherman radical who conducted a bombing campaign, eventually became a professor of education at the University of Illinois. Barack Obama, among others, worked with him on school reform in Chicago. Mayor Richard M. Dailey said, "[Ayers has] done a lot of good in this city and nationally." That doesn't justify Ayers' reprehensible past actions; it is an example, though, of the fact that not everyone who has had something to do with him since then is a terrorist. Daley, hardly a bomb thrower, has long sought the advice of of Ayers on school issues.

Suddenly, though, according to Sarah Palin, Obama "pals around with terrorists." At a campaign rally, she even cited a article from that northeastern liberal elite newspaper, The New York Times, as evidence. But how did the Times actually characterize the Obama-Ayers relationship? Excerpts follow: 

"...the two men do not appear to be close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.' ...Since 2002, there is little public evidence of their relationship ...Mr. Obama's friends say that history was utterly irrelevant to judging the candidate, because Mr. Ayers never had a significant effect on him. Even some conservatives who know Mr. Obama said that if he was drawn to Ayers-style radicalism, he hid it well. 'I never saw evidence of a radical streak, either overt or covert, when we were together at Harvard Law School,' said Branford A. Berenson, who worked on the Harvard Law Review with Mr. Obama and who served as associate White House Counsel under President Bush. Mr. Berenson, who is backing Mr. McCain, described his fellow student as 'a pragmatic liberal' whose moderation frustrated others at the law review whose views were much further to the left."

So what's really going on here with this nonsense about Obama as a "terrorist sympathizer"? Take a look at a passage from The Daily News of October 5, in an article on an increasingly harsh electoral contest:

A top McCain adviser signaled last week that the campaign intends to "turn the page" from economic issues — which polls show have staked Obama to a significant lead — and ramp up attacks on Obama as an inexperienced ultraliberal.

"I know the policies he's supported these past eight years and wants to continue are pretty hard to defend," Obama told a rally at a high school football stadium. "I can understand why Sen. McCain would want to turn the page and ignore this economy."

The Washington Post of October 4 stated:

The Arizonan's campaign is also eager to move the conversation away from the economy, an issue that strongly favors Obama and has helped him to a lead in many recent polls.

"...We are looking for a very aggressive last 30 days," said Greg Strimple, one of McCain's top advisers. "We are looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama's aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans."

What's too risky for John McCain is to focus on the issues, especially the economy. So his campaign is "turning the page" back to the negative strategy that McCain once found so objectionable. All evidence of a campaign that, as McCain once put it, has no vision for the future.


Anonymous said...

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Jeff Tone said...

Many thanks for your kind words–and for helping to get the word out about the McCain slime machine!