October 13, 2008

GOP speak with forked tongue

The Washington Post reports that the chairman of the GOP in Virginia, Jeffrey Frederick, says that Barak Obama is "simply not ready to lead." (See the last line of the article.) The implication in this statement is that some day Obama will be ready to lead.

But Frederick believes what makes Obama not ready to lead right now is that he has, in the past, associated with an unsavory character. So... if it's his past associations that make him unready, exactly what will make him ready?

If this test is applied to every person whose name is on a ballot, then we have a nation full of people unready to lead. (This may be true anyway, but you get my point.) Pretty soon, FOX News will be 24x7 of Six Degrees of bin Laden, proving that every Democrat is a terrorist by association.

Some people say they're sickened by hypocrisy and lies on both sides. Sure, OK. If you're not then you're either blindly biased or not paying attention. But one side is serving up half-cooked chicken while the other side is serving arsenic and nuclear waste cocktails spiced with e.coli. Both make you sick, but one makes you sicker.

8 comments:

freddie said...

In college I was once interviewed by a couple of fellow students about voting and the political process. I later found, to my horror, that I was held up as the paragon of voter apathy, winding up on some goddamn sociology CD-ROM talking about how voting was bullshit. I didn't vote until I was 32, in fact, when Kerry ran for president. I just didn't feel it was important. I do now, though.

blogless troll said...

Both make you sick, but one makes you sicker.

So then it IS a case of choosing the lesser of the two evils? I'm confused.

pjd said...

Ha! Crap. Hoist by my own petard.

This is a case where the spin and politicizing and demonizing is what makes me sick. It appears impossible to both keep the moral high ground and win in our country. By "moral high ground" I am referring specifically to slinging mud while campaigning. A particular type of spin.

There's high octane Mud (Obama is no different from bin Laden) and Mud Lite (McCain is simply more of Bush). From where I sit, it appears that the McCain campaign and McCain supporters not only sling more mud (another WP article noted that McCain ran three times as many negative, attacking ads as Obama did in a sample period), but they sling far more venomous mud.

I certainly think pointing out that Obama has served on a board with a former bomber is well within the rules. Taking that to its far-fetched extreme and equating Obama to bin Laden or using the phrase, "palling around with terrorists," is slinging mud.

Pointing out that McCain subscribes to the same economic theories as George Bush ("more of the same") is labeling based on fact. Saying McCain is a racist pig who wants to return to Jim Crow because he voted against a holiday for MLK Jr would be slinging mud.

The "lesser of two evils" in this case is spin vs mudslinging. We've had this one out over at your place, at least in part.

But I do believe that both candidates have a philosophy of governance beneath the political gloss and mud, beneath the spin. They're in part defined by the special interests that support them, and in part defined by their own beliefs. There is no way to extricate the party from the candidate or vice versa, but there is wiggle room within party parameters for a candidate to be extremist or centrist. In theory, that's what the primary process is for--to allow the party to select which candidate best represents their current frame of mind.

Choosing the lesser of two evils is at least choosing. But I think it's cynical and not productive to portray the political process as choosing the lesser of two evils. I like to think that we can make it better, that it does not have to continue to slide into a pit of slime defined by who can maintain the most creative and persistent and devastating character attacks on the other one. You know, baby and bathwater and all that.

Then again, I tend to think of Americans as stupid, so maybe we are doomed after all.

blogless troll said...

There's no doubt McCain is slinging more mud. We're not going to disagree there. But I think it has more to do with the fact that he's losing than the fact that he's a Republican. You're not going to convince me that Obama wouldn't be slinging mud too if he was losing. But that's neither here nor there.

By the way, as a cynical blowhard who thinks both sides are full of shit, I thought it was pretty obvious that Obama and Biden won, or at least appeared more "presidential" during the debates. For what that's worth.

As far as Obama's economic policies, I'm not sure I'm up for "spreading the wealth" as he said recently. But having already argued that all politicians are full of shit, I won't worry about it until it happens. Maybe it'll be one of those unfulfilled campaign promises. Besides, it's kind of unfair to single out Obama's socialist tendencies when nearly every elected official in Washington appears to be one too. I will point out that those same Democrats who have so much trouble branding themselves had no trouble at all leading the charge to bailout the "wealthiest one percent" and stick it to the little people, who they claim--according to the script anyway--to care so much about. But I digress.

I don't think it's that Americans are stupid so much as ignorant of certain important subjects like history and economics. Well...okay some of them are stupid. Brittany Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Hayden Whatshisname. But I think a lot of people believe and do stupid things out ignorance and fear more than actual stupidity. Which means they can learn. So there is hope after all.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love the post and the subsequent discussion between you guys. Lots of food for thought going on here.

Tiffany said...

If you look at past presidential elections, in general the west and east coasts vote democrat. The east and west coasts also have the highest concentrations of adults with college degrees. Smart people vote democrat.

Maybe we should abandon "one citizen one vote" and give more votes to people with BAs (2 votes), MAs & MBAs (3 votes), and Phds (4 votes).

Yea! More power to the (educated) people!

freddie said...

I don't think it's that Americans are stupid so much as ignorant of certain important subjects like history and economics. Well...okay some of them are stupid. Brittany Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Hayden Whatshisname. But I think a lot of people believe and do stupid things out ignorance and fear more than actual stupidity. Which means they can learn. So there is hope after all.

Some of this is the fault of shoddy journalism. I think Americans tend to be confused by the misleading bullshit that goes on leading up to every election. There's so much of it, it's hard to disseminate the facts. You have to know where to look for reliable sources, and not everyone does. And I'm sorry, but CNN and MSNBC and the networks are not what I would consider to be reliable. They drooled all over that nutcase who claimed to be "with" JonBenet Ramsey when she died, for God's sake.

I think, in order to have an informed vote these days, you almost have to be a political junkie. And people with families and full-time jobs just don't have time for that (generally).

But ultimately, the facts are available, and voters should be responsible and find out the truth for themselves.

Ello said...

Pete - the mudslinging is bad but typical. This is one of the few elections where I actually seem to notice it being more onesided than usual. I think Obama has made it clear that he won't abide for any mudslinging and I really respect him for that.