More Republican Flimflam And Illogic

A fellow named Todd Domke has a column in today’s Globe titled ‘Why Obama’s not leading by a landslide’. Domke is identified as ‘a Boston-area Republican political analyst, public relations strategist, and author’. Herewith the full column, with toothed commentary by The Lion.

WHY ISN’T Barack Obama far ahead in the opinion polls?

As nominee of the “out” party during an economic downturn, unpopular war, and even more unpopular presidency, Obama should not be in a virtual tie with John McCain.

Some Obama supporters offer blanket explanations for why he’s lagging in the polls: white prejudice; dishonest smears; Obama is too intellectual and voters are too stupid.

Apparently they think it’s time to elect a new people.

But Obama and his allies are not blameless. They’ve made strategic decisions – blunders? – that could cost them the election:

Recognizing that racial prejudice exists, that the McCain campaign has engaged in a sleazy campaign of smears and lies, that intellectuals and intelligence in America are suspect, and that much of the voting public doesn’t vote with intelligence but from emotion, all of that doesn’t mean we need a new people. That’s insulting to the people. We do need rational ways to address those problems – problems which the Republicans have used and manipulated successfully to win elections. It’s the Republicans who think the voters are stupid for falling for Republican racism, lies, and the populism of ignorance.

And now that the gloss is off of Sarah Palin, Obama is pulling ahead in the polls.

Obama rejected McCain’s request to have weekly Town Hall-style debates.

When Obama was the front-runner, he decided to play it safe and just accept the three established debates. But often the greatest risk is not taking any risks.

If Obama had agreed to weekly debates, this race would be more civil and constructive. When candidates debate, they don’t argue about pigs and lipstick because they know they’d look foolish. They try to act more presidential. And they are less likely to run unfair attack ads if they know they’ll be held accountable by the opponent and audience in a televised forum.

Town Hall debates would have allowed Obama to practice what he’s been preaching about a “new politics.”

This is a hot one among Republicans. The basic logic is that if only Obama had agreed to do what McCain wanted him to do, then McCain would not have had to launch one of the most disgusting campaigns of sleaze and lies and smears and more lies in the last century of American politics.

And if Obama had agreed to the so-called Town Hall debates? Domke and the rest of the Republican smear machine would have accused him of weakness for knuckling under to McCain.

As for the pigs and lipstick, let’s not forget that it was McCain that started that, not Obama. Any slur McCain made about that remark rebounded against McCain, since he has used the same phrase at least four times publicly, and at least once publicly against Hilary Clinton.

Obama rejected Hillary Clinton for vice president.

He should have at least put her on his short list and thus given her some public respect.

Obama reportedly didn’t pick Clinton because he didn’t want to risk having her husband embarrass him. Now Obama is in the embarrassing position of needing both Clintons to vouch for him.

Obama gave Hilary Clinton plenty of respect, and often, including devoting the better part of two nights at the Democratic Convention to the Clintons. As for the short list, putting her on it or leaving her off it both carried risks.

And Obama is hardly in an embarrassing position vis a vis the Clintons. They’re both actively supporting him.

Obama broke his pledge to abide by public financing limits for the fall campaign.

He sacrificed some “new politics” credibility to have a money advantage over McCain. But while McCain campaigns full time in swing states, Obama must spend precious time in nonswing states for fund-raising events.

And John McCain violated the regulations of a toothless Federal Election Commission with his financial antics. McCain’s crew complains about Obama’s so-called pledge because Obama was raking in money hand over fist while the Republicans were struggling. Obama made the smart move against a win-at-all-costs liar and hypocrite.

As for the swing thing, Obama has the money, the resources, and the organization to spend time wherever he thinks it will do the most good. He doesn’t need Republicans telling him how to run his campaign.

Obama didn’t use his convention speech to propose specific solutions.

Instead, he reiterated platitudes – against a Greek temple background. Holy Zeus, what were his event planners thinking?

He had a chance to disprove Clinton’s claim – echoed by McCain and others – that he gives “speeches, not solutions.” Offering specifics carries risk, but so does being amorphous. When candidates speak only in generalities, voters are more receptive to negative ads that purport to fill in the blanks.

Perhaps Mr. Domke needs to be reminded of George Bush’s Greek temple moment? I’m sure he can find the images out there on the Internet, unless of course the Republican party machine has scrubbed them away, like they did with Bristol Palin’s fiance’s web page.

As for platitudes, John McCain has spewed whatever platitudes he thinks will get him elected. He switches overnight, literally, from being a primary force behind the deregulation of the financial industry, which is now collapsing because of McCain’s deregulatory rabidity, to calling for strict regulations.

Obama has in fact offered many specifics, while McCain blows empty and hypocritical rhetoric up the public’s butt. McCain says anything and means nothing.

Obama wouldn’t challenge his own Democratic Party.

Obama needs to win independent voters who favor bipartisan solutions, yet he wouldn’t do what Bill Clinton did in 1992 – oppose his party’s liberal orthodoxy on some high-profile issues.

In the last 40 years, Democrats have won only three of 10 presidential elections. The two Democrats who won – Jimmy Carter once and Bill Clinton twice – did not campaign as liberals, but rather as centrists.

The Democrat-controlled Congress has the lowest approval rating of any Congress in history – sinking as low as 9 percent – yet its leaders embrace Obama as if they’re doing him a favor.

Clinton moved to the right because the Republicans had a stranglehold on Congress and he could have gotten nothing done if he hadn’t caved on progressive issues. Clinton was not a centrist.

As for the so-called Democrat-controlled Congress? Nonsense. The Republicans have, in reality, controlled the Congress since 1994. The Democratic majority today is so slim that the Republicans still effectively control the Congress. One need only watch their obstructive tactics to see that. They’ve hamstrung the Congress because the Democrats don’t have the strength to override them.

If Obama can pull off a major win in November, he may well bring a functional majority of Democrats to the Congress, which is a good reason for Congressional leaders to embrace his campaign.

Some Obama supporters attacked Sarah Palin personally, falsely, and hatefully.

Their attacks built a huge, curious, sympathetic TV audience for her convention speech. When Palin spoke more impressively than seasoned politicians like her opponent, Joe Biden, she became an Obama-like star, rejuvenating the McCain campaign and the GOP.

Wisely, Obama didn’t attack Palin personally, knowing that voters base their decision on presidential – not vice presidential – nominees.

Sarah Palin was new and a surprise, so naturally people were interested in her.

When the truth of her beliefs and actions started to come out, when her lies began to be revealed, not from personal, false, and hateful attacks, but from the press actually doing its job to investigate her, people began to turn away from her.

She was McCain’s one-trick pony, and she’s turning into a bad ride.

Some attacks on Palin ignited debate on cultural issues Obama tried to defuse.

Obama was still recovering from his gaffe about how when small-town folks “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion. . .” Yet some Obama supporters could not resist mocking Palin for having been mayor of a small town, a hunter, and religious.

Unfortunately for Obama, small-town folks who are religious and/or own guns vote in great numbers in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia.

If Obama loses, some of his surrogates may be bitter and blame those voters. They won’t blame themselves for alienating voters with insults. And they won’t see any inconsistency in their praising tolerance and multiculturalism while denigrating middle-American culture.

Not many people mocked Palin for being the mayor of a small town. They found out that she abused that office, as she later abused the office of governor, and that she lied about what she did. If she was mocked, she was mocked for her lies and abuses of power.

Hunters? Most people aren’t hunters, and most feel revulsion at hunting for sport, and at shooting animals from airplanes, which Palin likes to do.

As for religion, religious people have done far more damage to religion than Obama could ever do. Palin comes across as just another fundogelical freak who wants to use political power to impose her religious views on the rest of the country. She should be attacked on those grounds.

However, if Obama wins, perhaps he will begin uniting the country by asking McCain to join him for a Town Hall meeting.

Why would Obama want to dignify a man who has run one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history, a campaign of lies, racism, smears, and distortions? Obama’s better off letting McCain babble on in his carefully-vetted, restricted-entry meetings of his echo chambers.

 

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