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Sunday September 14 2008

I am busy concocting a Samizdata piece (link added after its completion) that links to something said in this article, concerning the alleged secret racism effect, which may be causing Obama’s support to be exaggerated a little, which, given how close this race looks, actually means quite a lot.  I put a slighly different spin on that.

Something else in this Telegraph piece also caught my eye:

A Democratic National Committee official told The Sunday Telegraph: “I really find it offensive when Democrats ask the Republicans not to be nasty to us, which is effectively what Obama keeps doing. They know thats how the game is played.”

Mr Obama tried to answer that critique on Friday when he responded in kind, issuing an attack advert depicting his Republican opponent as out of touch and mocking the 72-year-old Mr McCain’s confession that he does not know how to use email.

An attack which may have misfired, because McCain’s email difficulties are apparently the result of war wounds.  And war wounds, as anyone with any knowledge of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus knows, are, in elections, good.  Especially if your opponent makes the mistake of reminding everyone about them.  Like everything else in politics, being nasty is a skill.  Do it wrong, and it hurts you.

Anyway, don’t you think this illuminates the Redford effect that I wrote about?  What this story suggests is that Obama really does want to keep it nice, and can’t do nasty.  And what’s more, the other Democrats are trying to give him just the lecture that the Old Pro Democrat did given Redford in The Candidate.  Redford did as he was told.  Can Obama, even if he wants to.  Isn’t some of his appeal that he wants to keep it nice?

And of course the whole Palin thing will have only confirmed to Obama and his people that being nasty does no good.  From what I hear, he has been begging his supporters to cut out the nastiness in their responses to Palin, because that only hurts Obama.  The real lesson of the campaign so far for Obama is that he has to do nasty right.  He seems convinced, still, that he mustn’t do nasty at all.

The Candidate is being shown on BBC4 TV tonight.

McCain can’t use email because of war wounds? I haven’t read anything about that and I don’t understand.

Posted by Lynn on 14 September 2008

Oh, Obama is nasty enough, but his nastiness is of the neutered, snarky sort that passes for cleverness these days. The subtle finger to Hillary, the reference to her “feeling blue,” that sort of thing is what he does. The finger was actually fun to watch, the kids were cracking up while the white haired older folks just sat there wondering what the joke was. That sort of thing works well in the right circles but it strikes many others as childish and unserious. I don’t think Obama has it in him to actually fight. Note, for instance, how often he says he is taking off the gloves. That’s a dead give away to anyone who remembers dealing with these puffed up sorts in high school. Think of Marvin the Martian puffing out his little chest.

Posted by chuck on 14 September 2008

Look, Obama doesn’t *need* to be nasty because the mainstream media (which has basically volunteered itself to serve his campaign) does it for him. It’s amazing how often the ‘talking-points’ of his campaign are disseminated by journalists and pundits, in newspapers and tv shows, not as his, but in their own (ostensibly objective, journalistic) voice.

When every single political article about the election in, say, the NY Times or the Washington Post is anti-McCain or anti-Palin, desperately seeking the slightest trace of scandal (meanwhile giving Obama and Biden a shockingly free pass, no remotely comparable scrutiny, investigation, or critique); when the overwhelming majority of talking-heads, journalists and pundits try every day to find a way to discredit, smear, distort, or caricature Palin, her views and her credentials; when the mainstream media is abuzz about the ‘lies’ and ‘distortions’ of McCain’s campaign (an example of this week’s Obama campaign talking point--incredible, considering the barrage of lies and distortions about Palin the media has peddled in the past two weeks)… Obama can (pretend to) remain above it all, pristine, only the victim of dirty attacks by those shameless, Rovian (ha, that word now = Machiavellian) Republicans without scruples. (Who are by the way, as NY Times editorials barely need remind us, racist, theocratic, backwards, bigoted, greedy, ultra-right-wing, Luddite, anti-science, fascistic, warmongering hillbillies. Ok, I paraphrase.)

The irony, of course, is that this egregious mainstream media bias, and especially the media class’s anti-Palin rage, so flagrant they barely bother to hide it, is a huge factor in her rocketing popularity & the completely surprising shift in the electoral landscape. Whether or not Obama himself is implicated or innocent in the media’s overwrought attempts to help him, his campaign and his image have been tarnished by it. Americans have a strong sense of fair play, they love an underdog and can identify with a scapegoat, and in this media climate, McCain & Palin are definitely that. (This has always been a big part of Bush’s appeal. A perfect example of someone who can be at once the “most powerful person in the world” and still be seen as an underdog/scapegoat.)

Posted by tralala on 15 September 2008

The previous commenter get it exactly right.

Obama has been leading sheltered, protected life of a quota candidate, a poster boy, all his life. Somebody else fought all his battles for him. When he’s at his nastiest, he comes thru as a passive-aggressive coward, making snide remarks -but no names! no names! - just hints at something nasty.

I not always agree with Lexington Green, but on this topic I do: the media is delegated to do the dirty work for Obama. And this task now is so transparent, an average voter starts seeing things as they stand.
Nobody likes to be played for a gullible idiot. The next 2 months will be interesting.

Posted by Tatyana on 15 September 2008


re McCain war wounds, here‘s where I read about that.

Instapundit says it’s an Obama own goal, as we say here, but he then links links to a piece that says this was Obama’s cunning way to start a discussion of how decrepid McCain is.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 15 September 2008

Heh, this is a pretty perfect illustration of the widespread sentiment I described above. Found via Instapundit:

The Lying King

Posted by tralala on 15 September 2008

About media as Obama’s guard dogs: see also this

Posted by Tatyana on 15 September 2008

Tatyana correctly identifies Obama as a ‘quota candidate’.

However over at Samizdata you say

Voting for a black Presidential candidate, simply because you think that too many Americans will vote against a black candidate because he’s black, or that too many Americans did this in the past, as I say, makes sense.

You argue for positive discrimination and white guilt.

Do you want Obama to win so he can punish you and me for the slave trade?

Posted by Roger Clague on 16 September 2008

Roger Clague

I don’t want Obama to win at all, as you surely realise.

Read that Samizdata comment that you are complaining about, and do some more thinking.  In particular, please distinguish between me noting the existence of a voting intention or belief, and sharing it.

Plus, I do not suffer from white guilt, and do not argue that anyone else should, except if they are white and guilty.  I do not feel in the slightest bit guilty for the sins of dead white Americans and even some live ones, which are real but not mine.  There is guilt, and there is a straight intention, based on quite other considerations. 

Also, see what Perry de Havilland said, about the difference between thinking something which is very frequently and reasonably done by private individuals should be allowed, but not made compulsory.

I sense that you are going to have the last words in our disagreements, here and at Samizdata, because I will have anwered your final complaints already.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 16 September 2008

Thanks, Brian.

It’s seems the Republican candidates are untouchable this time. Can’t pick on poor Sarah because she’s a woman and we can’t pick on poor John because he’s a war hero. [sigh] The politics of victimhood really does work.

Posted by Lynn on 17 September 2008

Yeah, Lynn, not even one MSM organ touches Sarah Palin. Or John McCain.

The ability to talk oneself into complete 360deg reversal of reality, so characteristic of leftist of all shades of pink, always fascinating to watch.

Posted by Tatyana on 17 September 2008

I said nothing about the MSM. They always say whatever they think will attract the most viewers/readers. I was referring to the general tone of what I’m hearing from McCain supporters. Lately it sounds an awful lot like what I’m used to hearing from the Left. From my position near the middle, it is indeed fascinating to watch.

Posted by Lynn on 17 September 2008

Where else you hear from McCain supporters, Lynn? Can you point a specific conservative blog that states Palin should be untouchable because she’s a woman?

That view of the media is outdated - or they would not mount this tide of low-class partisan attacks (read: Dems). There would be at least some counterbalancing reporting on the other side, just out of their business interest: if last election is any indicator, half a nation does NOT support the Left, so there are money to be made by serving that other half.

Also, it’s a bit strange that you call Gov.Palin “poor”. Judging by our latest dispute, I was under the impressiont hat you’re the proponent of marriage “till death us part”. Of strong family values. Of traditional womanly virtues. If I recall correctly, you went personal on me and expressed how sorry you are about my unmarried state, etc.
Why, then, you don’t mind the attacks on Sarah Palin AS A WOMAN, MOTHER, including A MOTHER OF A DISABLED CHILD?  She is an essence of what you seem to value.
Why you don’t mind the attacks on McCain, who I presume is closer to you in age than to me - which, thru various Obama’s mouthpieces, are focused on him being “too old, computer-illiterate, disabled”, etc?

Posted by Tatyana on 17 September 2008

About that media, that you think willsay whatever they think will attract the most viewers/readers.

Here’s a juxtoposition of Atlantic covers with portraits of two presidential candidates, by Neptunus Lex

You think they are trying to attract the most viewers? Or brainwashed them - and not too subtly?

Posted by Tatyana on 17 September 2008

Just because I approve of Sarah Palin’s lifestyle (insofar as I am aware of what that is) is not a good enough reason for me to vote for McCain - Palin and it should not be a reason to go easy on her when it comes to asking tough questions.

I’m not going to get into a comments war. I’ve posted my opinion and I’m perfectly satisfied to let it stand as is while someone else gets the last word.

Posted by Lynn on 17 September 2008

That “someone else” will be me, then.

I was not asking you to vote for McCain/Palin. Don’t know who did.
You didn’t answer my question whom did you mean, if not MSM, as the source of your impression in your original comment.

I agree - Palin’s lifestyle should not be a reason for voting for her and McCain. It is not - for most of the bloggers I read. It’s her energy policy, her no-nonsense approach to budget, her sense of fairness/justice with regards to fat cats in her own party, her executive experience. She is much closer to “small government republican” base of teh party that is comfortable for the moonbat Left, that is now the majority of Democrat Party.

As to “not asking tough questions” - do you mean propaganda movie, like the Gibson interview? I’d like to see him doing the same to Obama - no, really.

Posted by Tatyana on 17 September 2008

I always liked Obama… so I felt, no matter who won, I’d feel relatively OK about it. But it’s gotten to a point (and it’s early yet!) where I’m genuinely repulsed by his campaign. The combination of his minions’ tactics-- the “astroturphing,” the organized attempts to thwart the opposition’s free speech (e.g. jamming phone lines on radio shows), the smears, the disingenuous denials, ads distorting the truth far beyond anything the McCain campaign has ever put out (none of which were lies), lying with impunity and screaming “liar liar liar liar,” all the while maintaining the smuggest & most obnoxious self-righteous pretense to the moral high ground-- and the total, shocking, unbelievable, shameless media collusion (this is probably what incenses me most)… I can’t get over it, I almost can’t believe it. It’s like living in the twilight zone. Where one runs into comments like Lynn’s-- as Tatyana says, it’s an alternate reality. (Of course, it’s no surprise what “story” finds its way overseas.)

I suppose resorting to such tactics is a sign of desperation; and as I wrote in my post above, the media sycophancy/cover may well be as much liability as advantage. I always liked McCain, though never that much.... now I’m rooting for the guy with all my heart. Yet I know I should just chill out, lean back, breathe, and trust (hope) enough Americans will see past the light & magic, the stage fog, the mystique of “the One.” And if not, well-- our country will survive any president; it could be worse, after all we survived Carter. And someone who runs a despicable campaign (cf. Kennedy in Chicago) is not necessarily going to be a despicable president. (Though it’s not at all reassuring-- but at least I’d hope those hardball tactics would be judiciously used against real enemies. But how can I trust a candidate who’s been under the constant protection of a media bubble to deal with a hostile world? Especially if he actually believes his election will earn back the love of the world? Ugh, I now find his own self-adoration so, so creepy...). And it’s normal for the electoral pendulum to swing. And a few weeks ago no one expected McCain had any real chance to win this. So I tell myself, in order to get through the next month and a half (and possibly be pleasantly surprised, rather than terribly disappointed).

Posted by tralala on 18 September 2008

P.S. Even despite (in addition to) the all-out assault of the media (pro-Obama, contra-McCain), last week the Obama campaign was more negative (and if the Washington Post says it’s so...):

Recent Obama Ads More Negative Than Rival’s

(By the way, re media bias, don’t take my word for it. On any given day, just scan any major US newspaper or news outlet. Take the New York Times, any network, etc. Even just the headlines.)

Posted by tralala on 18 September 2008
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