Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Straight Up Scare Tactics

One quote from a CNN article struck me in particular as being emblematic of the McCain campaign lately. The McCain campaign has been desperately grasping at straws since they have determined (but also have inadvertently strengthened) the stigma that the media and the country have "written them off." The latest is taking it to a new level. Back in April (yes, APRIL) the LA Times wrote a piece about a farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi, a UChiacgo professor who was slated to leave to go to Columbia, and Obama's attendence. The paper reported that at that dinner, a young Palestinian-American woman read a poem that was highly critical of the United States policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The paper had also received footage of the dinner, which Obama was at, and promised the source of the tape that it would not air it (read: journalistic integrity). Some have pointed to the LA Times and said that this is an example of media bias. Unless the source that the LA Times has does not exist or has not requested that the tape remain unaired, the LA Times is doing the right thing. McCain decided to bring this up anyway today in a last ditch effort to scare people away from Obama.

The quote I was referring to earlier, the emblematic one, came from a McCain aide who replied, after being asked why this was being brought up 6 months after the report, "Because we are one week away from potentially electing Barack Obama." If that's not a fear-mongering quote for the ages, then the Celtics aren't better than the Lakers. We saw something similar from another McCain campaign participant - Bill Kristol - but no one listens to him anyway.

What is unbelievable is that - and I did not think this was possible - Rashid Khalidi is more irrelevant than Bill Ayers when it comes to Barack Obama. I cannot even believe that we are talking about this guy. If he were a PLO spokesman, why wouldn't Bush and Co. ship him to Gitmo? If Jose Padilla can be locked away like he has, and Khalidi was as dangerous as McCain/Palin want you to believe, he'd be in Cuba or some CIA black site. Instead he is teaching at a university. And just as a quick sidenote: I took a class with Khalidi (and according to McCain/Palin that makes me a dangerous person). This is what I took from his class: Western imperialism in the Middle East had unintended consequences which led to increased instability in the region that was furthered by Western action. Oooooh, dangerous.

What is important to remember in all of this is that if McCain's goal is to boost his own poll numbers, he should know that this is not the way to do it. While tactics like this may cause a temporary dip in Obama's numbers (as it seems to have done briefly when the Ayers madness reached its peak), it does not raise McCain's numbers (which is what he really needs right now). Experimenting with the Ayers connection (which did not work) and spending time debunking the myth that Obama is an Arab (as if there is anything wrong with that in the first place) among his own ignorant supporters has distracted McCain from the real issues of the election and, in the process, truly hurt his campaign for president. If McCain and Palin want to start talking about the issues at their rallies instead of tenuous relationships Obama held with academics, socialism, or how Palin has "gone rogue" I (and the media) are willing to listen. If not, then the media is just going to hop on the attacks (that's what gets viewers and, in turn, ad revenue) and his campaign will continue to suffer. It's up to you, McCain. You can begin to focus on the issues, possibly win the White House (or, if you end up losing, it will be with a shred of dignity left) or you can continue to focus on the bullshit and probably end up losing the election and your reputation. Peace.

Photos - Sarah Palin (Rockford Register Star), Barack Obama (Daily Nation)

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