Patterico makes the case for Obama’s decency. Why a right-blog has any business doing that, I have no idea. Let the lying lefties make that case, if Patterico’s thesis is correct, their abuse of the truth these 8 years will cause them to be disbelieved, even when telling the truth. But it won’t, because there is no downside to demonizing your opponents, we have found. If this election has taught us anything, it’s that decency goes unrewarded and the smearing of decent people works.
There was a time I might have agreed with this post. In a perfect world, we should focus on issues and other lofty frou-frous. But we live in the real world, and I think the real reason McCain lost, and why the Republican brand is so damage is the unanswered venom directed at the President since a few months after the 9/11 partisan holiday.
I talked to many people about the election this summer and fall, in the greater Tampa Bay area, and even those who you would consider conservative had hard feelings about Bush and the GOP. Not just wrong-headed, but actually evil. Many of these were low-information types who didn’t follow the blogs and hardly followed the news (one guy I talked to didn’t know Palin was from Alaska) but they all knew Bush lied people died and that Bush was responsible for the financial crisis because “the Republicans are in charge”, all evidence to the contrary.
So, I’ve been turned around on this. Give _nothing_ to the opposition. Spot them nothing, credit them nothing. Demonize them at every opportunity. Invent resonant urban myths and propagate them: they will BECOME truth by virtue of the number of people who believe them (think plastic turkey). Distort the enemies policies and charge mean-spiritedness and evil where there are simple policy differences. Charge that Obama is against white people (hi Kanye West) when you disagree with his fiscal policies favoring minorities or affirmative action. When there are conflicting stories or facts on an issue, charge duplicity and accuse Obama of lying.
In short, undermine his presidency in every way possible. Grant him nothing, not decency, not patriotism, not intelligence. Blow every gaffe out of proportion and start the drumbeat that he is unintelligent and intellectually incurious. Take phrases out of context, Dowdify quotes and even invent quotes out of whole cloth and use them as if they were true, and disseminate them.
Show me where being vicious, unfair and engaging in total war has hurt the Dems? If Kerry had been meaner, arguably, he’d have won in 2004. Since then, the Democrat establishment, aided by a compliant (or even collaborationist) press, has engaged in total, scorched earth warfare against the GOP. Oh yeah, Obama was sure to keep his hands clean. But blogs, spokesmen, media types, talking heads, surrogates and staff have been vicious, unfair, dishonest and said and done whatever it takes.
Now it’s going to cost us 2-3 Supreme Court Justices. Well, in 4 years the next tier of judges will begin to consider retirement. In my mind, judges are everything. They have taken over public policy from the legislature. So we have to get a Republican back in office as soon as possible, and we need to also reclaim the legislature to confirm those judges. I see nothing wrong in demonizing Obama and anyone connected with Dems in the harshest and foulest terms. It works.
GWBush is a profoundly decent and honest man. He has handily won 2 VERY difficult wars, delivered tens of millions from tyranny and started the first 2 non-Jewish democracies in the troubled Mid-East, including the first Arab democracy, he kept us safe since 9/11 from, we have to assume, determined terrorist attempts to hurt us, he has (by even Geldof and Bono’s accounts) dedicated billions to aid to Africa, the list goes on and on. And in the face of never-ending hatred and slander and libel, he keeps dignity and grace. And what the fuck does it get him? A 19% approval rating and the political immolation of his party. He leaves a party in shambles, from the majorities and high GOP identification rates the Republicans enjoyed when he took office.
Hell no. Don’t give an inch. Credit them nothing. Grant them nothing. Uncontesting Obama’s basic decency (of which I am far from convinced, he took his kids to Rev. Wright’s tender ministries their entire formative lives) gives him a leg-up on policy. If he is basically decent, that means he is incapable of duplicity or mean-spiritedness in policy, which is clearly not the case.
When Bush wanted to cut taxes, the frame was not he wanted to lower the tax burden, but to hurt the poor. Etc. This is the way we must operate, scorched Earth, us against them, no quarter. Politics is meaner than ever. Witness the lies about Palin and McCain, while anyone speaking against The One was debunked and pilloried, and McCain himself refused to unleash the dogs.
The hell with that. Attack them with everything we have.