Comments: Linky Linky

The first one -- how the right would attack McCain -- is interesting. Most of what is described there has more or less happened: the Obama campaign itself has stayed out of most of it, but allied groups (bloggers, the more obviously liberal press like Slate, Nation and Rolling Stone) have hit those themes and more.

I don't think these are really unfair, though, which is the implication of the article. McCain's self-narrative is so much at odds with the truth that these criticisms are fundamentally about McCain's honesty and partisanship.

Maybe I'd feel differently if the shoe were on the other foot? I don't think so: I actually think that the Wright and Ayers discussions were worth having because, in the end, it provides a more nuanced and complete sense of the candidate. Also the other one: McCain's associations are still somewhat underdeveloped, but clearly in comparison he's got at least as much trouble as Obama does in terms of needing to clarify his present positions on past friends.

I think there's lots of room for lots of discussion. Four years is a long time to live with a leader of unrivaled power who you've picked with absurdly limited information.

Posted by Ahistoricality at October 13, 2008 11:36 AM

Well, I'll NEVER get any work done now that I know about that Twitter feed.

Posted by Lab Kat at October 13, 2008 11:43 AM

I thought it was interesting, too, Jonathan.

But I doubt that the "attacks" on McCain by Lefty bloggers and "obviously liberal press" have put much pressure on McCain. Not like the kind of pressure that the MSM would have put on him, had he been a Democrat.

Further, nothing that individuals or "liberal" publications say will effectively debunk McCain's claims or expose his hypocrisy for the undecided or inattentive voters. These outlets are preaching to the choir. They have self-selected audiences of Lefties.

These are not the voters the country needs to have reached. The MSM is what reaches them.*

And we may have even more problems. Just this morning (I think), I was listening to NPR and they interviewed a woman who is "deeply concerned" over Barack Obama's Muslim faith. She finds it "dangerous." So, she's voting for McCain.

Someone said it. She heard it. The statement has been debunked again and again and again--even by McCain. But this woman heard only the lie--not the correction. And it's influencing her vote.

How do you debunk lies when tens of thousands of people have already stopped listening?


P.S. I don't think the MSM is "fact-checking" McCain from any motives of objective journalism. I think they're in a snit because he's not pretending to be their buddy any more.

And maybe, hopefully, they were sort of shamed into it.

Posted by Anne at October 13, 2008 04:22 PM

More thoughts, Jonathan! :)

I don't think McCain will answer that many questions about his own history and quite frankly, no one can make him.

After all, Muslin Obama consorted with a terrorist. Some vague, historical white-collar thing McCain is said to have been involved in isn't going to capture anyone's attention in the same way.

Also? What the MSM really wants is a competitive race, because that's better for ratings. So they're not likely to rock McCain's sinking boat unless someone makes them.

Posted by Anne at October 13, 2008 04:23 PM

Some vague, historical white-collar thing McCain is said to have been involved in....

We can tie him to Watergate, to McVeigh-supporting militia movements, to religious figures who valorize abortion doctor assassins and clinic bombers.

We can destroy him, on his own turf, using his own tools. It's been said that the master's tools can't dismantle the master's house, but they can do a hell of a lot of damage....

Posted by Ahistoricality at October 14, 2008 09:08 AM

Two points:

#1 - A population that thinks of Iran-Contra as something that happened too far back in the mists of time to care about isn't going to care about someone connected to Watergate.

But, more importantly:

#2 - Yes, we could do that.

But, if We did that, We would be Them. And if We aren't better than Them, then what future does this country have?

So, you know, I prefer to keep pretending that none of Us have any desire to put such an option on the table.

Posted by Anne at October 14, 2008 01:04 PM

Iran-Contra was complicated (say that in a whiny voice, and you'll understand) (but it was more recent than Ayers' criminal career!) but even young folks (man, I feel old) understand Watergate to be one of the true low points in US political history; Nixon's rehabilitation among the pundit class hasn't filtered down yet into the masses, who understand just how vulgar and dangerous he was.

However, you're basically right on #2. I think what Obama did on the Keating video, though, was very effective: Making it clear that the campaign was prepared to fight that battle, without making it a centerpiece. I think it might be time for another dose of that, and there's speculation going around that Obama's baiting McCain on the Ayers accusations is laying the groundwork for a nasty slapdown in the debate tomorrow night.

Posted by Ahistoricality at October 14, 2008 02:15 PM

Yes, Iran-Contra was complicated. (It made my head spin at the time.) Whereas, the Ayers issue is simple. "Barack Obama consorted with an anti-American terrorist." Nothing the voting population likes more than a simple idea, after all.

I do think Obama has to lay some smackdown on McCain over the Ayers issue. I'd like to see the opportunity for him to do that in a forum as widely viewed as the debate. ("Senator McCain's own history is not without similar incidents." And then go on to mention two or three of the wild-eyed fanatics that McCain has been "associated" with (using the McCain campaign's definition of "association.")

Posted by Anne at October 15, 2008 08:06 AM