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September 12, 2008

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In a shameless bit of self-promotion, I'd like to point out that I did a highly unscientific but still instructive analysis of the truth-stretching of the two campaigns yesterday. Feel free to repost it here as a "guest post," if you feel so inclined. (And if you don't, that's okay too.)

If McCain can't take responsibility and be held acountable for managing his own campaign, how can we expect him to take responsiblity and be accountable for managing the US government? If he's elected, are we supposed to expect that his State Department wouldn't be implementing his policies, or his DOD or Justice Department or CIA, etc etc.?

These pundits who are excusing his inexcusable campaign by alleging that it's not the "Real McCain" (TM) are actually making a terribly damaging assertion about his lack of leadership skills -- sheer managerial incompetence compounded by buck-passing at its worst.

At least McCain's shameful cave-in on torture is making more sense now. McCain believes that he's fundamentally a good and honorable man, so magically anything he does can be excused. His goodness and honor are about being John McCain, not about what he actually does.

Similarly, the United States is a good country, the best on earth, and it stands up against despots and violators of human rights, so magically anything the U.S. team does can be excused, even if it seems to the untrained observer to be a violation of American principles.

The old GOP special: Personal responsibility for thee, but not for me.

I've said it before, I'll say it again:

McCain=Faust.

At least McCain's shameful cave-in on torture is making more sense now. McCain believes that he's fundamentally a good and honorable man, so magically anything he does can be excused. His goodness and honor are about being John McCain, not about what he actually does.

That's how large segments of America thinks about the country: America is, by definition, a Good Guy and anything we do is justified because were are Good Guys.

Republicans have always -- or at least for as long as the Fix memory lasts -- adopted a realpolitik approach to political campaigns.

That is, they use tactics that work -- whether or not they are "fair". Republicans are, typically, far less concerned about the approval of newspaper editorial boards and the so called "eastern media elite" than their Democratic counterparts, a fact that allows them almost total freedom when it comes to how they conduct their campaigns.

Democrats, on the other hand, always promise to play as down and dirty as Republicans but when the rubber hits the road tend to back off somewhat.

The one Democratic politician in recent memory who didn't follow that blueprint was Bill Clinton; it's no accident he is the last Democrat to win elected office.

In the frame of campaign politics, "fair" doesn't really matter. Effective and persuasive do.

I don't condone this but state it merely as fact.

The jury remains out on how the Obama campaign will approach the final seven weeks of the campaign.


In the frame of campaign politics, "fair" doesn't really matter. Effective and persuasive do.

Posted by Laura at 11:17 AM

If you choose to sacrifice your principles for the sake of personal ambition, you can absolutely be blamed. I'm doing it right now.

First two times I read that, I read it very wrong, and kept asking myself: how is hilzoy sacrificing her principles right now?

He proposed these joint town halls" with Obama, "and nothing come of it.

I like that- he tried to change the normal debate process (ie each side agrees on format etc) by dictating the terms and announcing over and over again that Obama wasn't showing up. And the media didn't act like a gigantic echo chamber for this stunt (although they spent more time on it than it deserved).
And, poor John McCain, that didn't swing the poll numbers. What else could he do? Having tried ethical stunts, I guess unethical stunts were the only trick left in the bag..

McCain on "The View" today:

"First of all, this is a tough business. Second of all, I think the tone of this whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in townhalls all over America"

That whole thing sounds like the classic "why do you make me beat you" abusive spouse defense, or the "if she had not been dress that way" rape defense.

It is condescending as all hell. As if Obama is a child, and McCain is the abusive parent just trying to show him some "tough love".

Via Sully:

I just wanted to say thank you so much for being the only blogger (aside from Al Giordano) who gets it. While the rest of the blogosphere (especially the liberal bloggers) lose their heads you are an island of common sense. Patience and Steel. Yes, yes. yes.

It also occurs to me that in a way McCain and Rove have actually simply taken over the liberal blogosphere in some way. They are being played.

Just a few examples---yesterday Obama gave a fantastic interview at the Service Forum. Did the liberal blogs even cover this? No.

He gave a great speech on the trail. Are his town halls even posted or excerpted? No.

The liberal bloggers have become McCain central. They make people click on his ads, make the world spin around him instead of focusing on our candidate and what he is trying to do. There is ZERO coverage of what Obama is actually doing every day talking tough on the issues. There is ZERO coverage of Biden (who is on the trail but the blogs don't seem to care or cover him unless he is doing what they think he should be doing. Sadly AFP did cover him this week and people seemed to be too busy saying he was not doing anything to include the link with his forceful comments against McCain. The one time the blogs linked to Biden---when the MSM tried to make a big deal out his answer to a question that made Hillary look bad and he defended her. That was it).

McCain and crew realized early this cycle that they did not have a visible internet presence. So what did they do? They took over the liberal presence, they are manipulating the leading liberal blogs , just as they manipulate the MSM. All to their own advantage. And the blogs have all fallen for this hook, line and sinker. Does no one realize this?

They are all being played.

And Obama, god bless him, he gets it. As does his team. while everyone whines he keeps at it every day with much much class and like a laser focused on the issues. The problem is not Obama, is that no one wants to follow his lead. Instead they are following McCain-Rove and they don't even know it.


Pass it on.

Check out this clip of Brad Blakeman and Ari Melber discussing the McCain campaign's lies yesterday on MSNBC.

Poor Blakeman, the Republican tasked with defending the lies, just can't quite bring himself to do so. The key is that both the host (Contessa Brewer, I think) and the Democrat (Melber) hold his feet to the fire. In response, instead of standing up for the lies, Blakeman keeps changing the subject or insulting the Obama campaign.

It's really a fascinating performance, which suggests that if we simply look these bastards in the eye and say "you're lying," most of them don't have the intestinal fortitude to keep up the act.

Most of these two-bit Goebbels and Segrettis can be exposed as cowards as well as liars.

"The liberal bloggers have become McCain central. They make people click on his ads, make the world spin around him instead of focusing on our candidate and what he is trying to do. There is ZERO coverage of what Obama is actually doing every day talking tough on the issues. There is ZERO coverage of Biden"

This has been driving me crazy every day since the Republican convention. I can't find a damn thing about what is going on with Obama on the liberal blogs, all I see is more and more stuff on Palin, most of which just seems to be repeating the same things we knew about her the day she gave her speech.

Obviously the liberal blogs have to cover the Republicans too, but it is so insane that Obama is receiving very little coverage by his own side, which just helps to reinforce the idea that this campaign is all about McCain. Well, it's not. In fact it's not about McCain at all as far as I'm concerned. It's about Obama and how his ideas would work if he was elected, and what people need is to have information about Obama to share with less-informed people, coverage of speeches, some shared enthusiasm about Obama. Liberal blogs are capable of leading this by refusing to be all-Palin-all-the-time and shaming the MSM into covering Obama, they really are, but they're just not doing it.

I just don't get it. Obama - remember him? He's our candidate? Ya might wanna mention him once in a while?

gwangung

That's how large segments of America thinks about the country: America is, by definition, a Good Guy and anything we do is justified because were are Good Guys.

Late, but this struck me.

The classic profile of someone who commits fraud contains two main elements.

First, the person has to feel that they will not be caught in their actions. This could be due to poor oversight of their actions, concentration of responsibilities and control in too few people, or a lax, freewheeling culture that does not punish wrongdoing.

Second, they justify to themselves their actions with a rationale of why they are committing the crime. Since they do not want to feel that they have done wrong, they will create a reason or turn an existing issue into justification. This could be that their boss did not approve a raise or bonus, so they really earned it. Or that I'll pay it back later, I just need a little right now. Or that it's only an expense report; it won't matter.

Now plot this up against the above comment. In a unipolar world, who is responsible for correcting America's actions? Without a check on our power, we feel that we are entitled to take actions and engross our position without fear of punishment. Our justification--we are special, American "exceptionalism", our God-given right of Manifest Destiny. Since we are not punished, we can start wars, dictate terms, and otherwise treat the rest of the countries of the world as our oyster. Other governments, other politicians, even the electorate can be ignored, especially if they can be persuaded to accept the rationale or be distracted to look elsewhere. And it's only to help America/get back at those terrorists/make sure the right people get ahead.

The corrosive effect of the two principles generally causes the restraints against illegal actions to greatly weaken, especially if wrongdoing is not caught and/or punished. The frauds increase in frequency and value, and the concerns about hiding the behavior lessen, generally until someone figures out that something's up and reports it to some authority.

Again, put this up against the politics. Republicans (especially) have been getting away with larger and larger crimes in the political arena. At this point, they feel entitled to what they are receiving, and are becoming especially blatant in their pursuit of their goals. If they can be punished (removed from power), then it is possible to reign in their behaviour, but it has to be more than the wrist slaps of Nixon's pardon or the overturning of Ollie's verdict. The punishment has to hit, and stick, and hang around their necks.

The problem is that the Democrats are the only alternative, and they know that, and so they feel that they are also able to get away with their own various shenanigns and failures without punishing the Republicans. That is why the "more and better Democrats" should just read better. Until both parties are punished for their egregious behaviour, the cycle will not be broken. It's just that the Republicans are more egregious right now.

Caveat: I have been registered Independent for over 20 years, because after a bout with both College Republicans and Democrats, I swore off mindwashing organizations.

McCain believes that he's fundamentally a good and honorable man, so magically anything he does can be excused. His goodness and honor are about being John McCain, not about what he actually does..

My G-d, he's Ender Wiggin?

So sue me, I did try this at home. And the whole "it's really not true that Obama and McCain both started stretching the truth…" is rather UNprofessional, it’s child's play. "I didn't start it, he did!" LOL, that didn’t even work with my mom, much less will it work with truth searching voters.

Especially in regard to “principles and personal ambitions”, particularly if added to a “not to the same degree”-argument, this one has a clear and distinct deduction: your rather unprofessional statement is all about “personal ambition” and way off “principles”. Don’t make it so easy! If you don’t take care of your arguments, the empire WILL strike back! And Hillary is no Luke…

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