June 3, 2023

Smear Factor

Smear FactorLast night when I was watching footage of the 9/11 attacks, I already knew what Rachel Maddow admitted this afternoon that she knew last night during her new MSNBC program but was prohibited by her bosses from disclosing: That after this one-day truce to honor the victims of that heinous day seven years ago, the Obama Campaign planned an onslaught of ads aimed at countering the uninterrupted water cannon of slime blasted at Obama over the last several weeks, reaching its disingenuous and retarded apotheosis on Wednesday with McCain’s ad charging that a bill Obama supported in the Illinois state senate that advocated teaching young children what constituted inappropriate contact by adults so that they’d know and be able to tell someone when they were being violated by a pedophile was akin to teaching “comprehensive sex education” to children “before they’re even taught to read.”

Sure enough, Barack Obama came out with all guns blazing today, starting with a scathing ad that opened with a nostalgic font for the year “1982″ against a backdrop of a disco ball (okay, they were about three years off on that one, but that’s nitpicking), followed by images of a woman speaking on a cordless phone the size of a Kleenex box and a man fumbling with an archaic computer, and a 46-year-old Representative John McCain (R-AZ) freshly inaugurated into the United States Congress, with a bad comb-over and already looking very old–certainly much older than the currently 46-year-old Senator Barack Obama–pounding on his desk and seemingly telling a nation of children to get off his lawn.

Air America’s Tom Hartman has relentlessly assailed the Democratic Party for their incapability at stagecraft, and he’s been right, but this was a visual thumping. The GOP nominee looked like he was produced from a newsreel archive of bald, frothing Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo railing against the Negro menace.

And it didn’t end there. Another ad released today showed a litany of McCain stump promises, mostly touting his promise to liberate Washington from the choking influence of lobbyists–and a citation with every image of the high-powered lobbyists infesting the McCain-Palin campaign like cockroaches.

Someone said recently that Barack Obama won’t shrink because he’s from Chicago, and as such he isn’t afraid to bring a gun to a knife fight. More to the point, he’s from Chicago, and as the ghosts of Richard Daley and Joe Kennedy would surely testify, they know a thing or two about winning elections in Chicago.

Not to suggest that Obama might be dispatching his aides to get the ballots of the deceased and incarcerated to the ballot boxes, but he probably knows how to bring a little street to the fight if the situation requires it.

By any objective measure, John McCain and his team are in the process of waging one of the most vicious and nakedly dishonest campaigns in modern memory. It was clear years ago that he sold his soul with that first George Bush hug–after the man did everything to destroy him but send Lorena Bobbit to his bedroom with a kitchen knife–but his craven ambition has only become clear the last several months, and there isn’t a morsel of his soul that he won’t sell–if he hasn’t already done so–to be able to put “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” on that Post Office change-of-address card.

One of McCain’s ongoing lines about Obama has been, “He’d rather win an election than win a war.” Obama’s brain trust finally stepped up and did what they were paid for today and proffered a retort for Obama about McCain: “He’d rather lose his integrity than lose an election.” Wham.

No one wants to see the election go down the road of Roger Ailes, Lee Atwater, and Willie Horton, but Team McCain has made this an uglier war than Karl Rove, Donald Segretti, and the ’88 Bush team ever waged, and, just as a matter of dignity, Democrats should hand in their Man Cards if they let themselves endure another unanswered clobbering.

(A funny thing, actually: After I wrote that last sentence, out of curiosity I ran a Google search to see if Donald Segretti was still alive. Segretti worked for Richard Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President [more popularly known by its acronym “CREEP”], and is the acknowledged father of the practice of naked political sabotage and dirty tricks known as “ratfucking.” Segretti was responsible for the infamous “Canuck Letter” sent to the Manchester Union-Leader alleging that presumptive 1972 Democratic favorite, Senator Edmund Muskie, slurred American French-Canadians, and by Muskie’s response managed to see him reduced to a weeping, emasculated disgrace, effectively ending his candidacy. Segretti also fired a torpedo at another Democratic contender, Washington Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson with a rumor [generated by a letter written on Senator Muskie’s letterhead] that Jackson sired an illegitimate child with a teenager. He knows a thing or two about filthy campaigning, which is why I mentioned him. Also, in the 1972 Nixon campaign, one of his protégés was none other than an ambitious young ratfucker by the name of Karl Rove. In any case, in checking on the current mortal status of Mr. Segretti, I learned that, not only is he still alive, but the most recent entry on his resume was Orange County co-chair for the 2000 Presidential campaign of…. John McCain.)

Unless he wants to enter his 50s working the Michael Dukakis professorial circuit at Loyola Marymount and UCLA, he needs to leave his decency in a neatly folded pile and dive headlong into the mud with the man who flung first. It won’t be pretty but, even though most who have witnessed this country’s trajectory over the last eight years would argue that Obama has a more sensible campaign platform, recent history ensured long ago that this wasn’t going to be a campaign about ideas. So, if you recoil at the sight of blood and the smell of feces, keep the channel on WE and we’ll talk again after November 4.