What a depressing week. If one had held out any hope this presidential campaign was going to be a high minded, civil debate of the substantive issues, this week made it clear; there's no chance in hell. Reading the mainstream medias account of the week ("Presidential campaigns turn nasty" and "McCain and Obama go negative"), one would get the impression the two have been standing toe to toe, trading blow for blow.
That's just not the case. Obama returned from Europe and was supposed to talk about the economy all week. Nothing was supposed to take him off message. The campaign had hoped the Middle East and European trip would assure some uneasy voters Obama could hang with the big guys and look presidential. Successful trip in that regard. This last week was intended to demonstrate he has a command of the economic issues and a plan for addressing the problems. Drawing contrasts between his plan and the McCain plan was the objective. He never got the chance to focus on the economy this week. Way too busy trying to swat away the McCain barrage of inane ads.
This week has made the McCain campaign strategy clear. They've decided they won't beat Obama on issues, so they will paint him as a terrorist loving, vacuous celebrity who doesn't embrace wounded troops and is responsible for the price of gasoline. (Sounds pretty stupid when you line them up in a row, doesn't it?). And even with all that, the press presents it as if the campaigns were dueling, trading nasty ads back and forth. Obama was asked about his involvement:
"This is the classic dilemma of politics,'' Obama replied. "We get four or five shots in a row (assertions by McCain), that I would rather lose a war so that I can win a campaign, that I am not willing to visit the troops, that I somehow am full of myself, that I'm an empty-headed celebrity, whatever repeated attacks have been launched this week, so when I say, boy those are kind of silly arguments, the press says, isn't that being negative. Well no, I'm describing what their strategy has been for the last week... I'm just stating the facts....
Well, that's true, we have seen this movie before.....and we know how it ends: The absolute slimiest, simple minded, hateful campaign wins. The strategy is to paint the opponent as French loving (jeez, we can't have that) or out of touch intellectual (you invented the internet?) or a wuss (was that windsurfing?) and distract voters from a policy that thinks it's no big deal to lose 4000 Americans and spend a couple trillion dollars we don't have on a war in Iraq,policies that drive the economy into the tank, stand by idly as gas prices rise then advocate more investment in gasoline, subvert the Constitution, and willfully ignore environmental threats for fringe ideological reasons. So, what happens? Well, heaven forbid we elect someone that speaks French. We go, instead, for the knucklehead with the plan to bankrupt the country.
Obama doesn't need to get in the mud with the McCain folks. Let them roll around there by themselves. But he can inform voters of the facts. "Straight talk"? Puhleeze....I don't know if John McCain ever used straight talk, but no straight talk has crossed his lips in the last several years. McCain is a friend of the troops? Sorry, just isn't the case. The Obama campaign just needs to inform voters of how veterans groups rate Senator McCain's record in Congress. McCain will be a good steward of the economy? How's that? By employing the same harebrained policies that got us in this mess?
Obama only needs to state the facts. They speak for themselves.
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