Friday, August 22, 2008

Of fighting back and looking weak

Andrew Sullivan asks:

Could it be that in this election cycle, the tactics of the far right are beginning to turn around and bite them?

In order for that to happen, the Democratic leadership would have to make a counterpunch. I don't see that happening. They (still!) haven't learned: When you tell yourself you're being lofty and ignore gutter attacks, you allow those attacks to become accepted as fact. (Thus decorated veteran Kerry was painted as a wimp by multiple-student-deferment Cheney and a candidate who spent the war years keeping the skies of Texas safe from the Viet Cong, until he "talked to the army" and didn't finish his enlistment.) And when you don't speak up to defend yourself because you think protesting might make you look weak.... You just look weak. And are therefore treated with contempt by a party that respects only strength.

Is it a case of lacking the killer instinct, or just the effect of being beaten up by Republicans so badly for so long they've become too timid to assert themselves? I don't know. I do know their "Maybe if we're nice, the Republicans won't be so mean to us" strategy isn't working, has never worked. And if a Democrat had had the kind of week McCain just had, it's all we'd be hearing about from now to election day.

Personally, I would love to see the GOP implode on itself, not only as poetic justice but as a necessary corrective for the last several years. But it won't happen unless it's helped along by a vigorous opposition, one the current Democratic leadership seems unable or unwilling to muster and the candidate seems to be having trouble mounting. Reagan said of the Soviet Union: It didn't fall, it was pushed. Today's Democratic Party won't give the Republican Party even a nudge.

Who's the Elitist Here?

Remember, taking a nine-car motorcade to Starbucks isn't elitist if an ex-POW does it.

I just thought I should clear that up.

"Gee, ya THINK?" Headline Of The Day. Possibly The Week.

From today's Washington Post:
Houses Snag McCain Campaign

McCain's inability to remember how many homes he owns may disrupt plan to cast Obama as elitist.


McCain went to Annapolis on the basis of his father and grandfather both being admirals. After distinguished service and time as a POW, he returned home to find his wife, who had been raising his children during his captivity, had also been injured in a car accident and was disabled. So, naturally, he divorced her and married a beer heiress worth over $100 million. Today he owns six (or seven, or eight, and today I saw one source that said 10) homes, wears $500 shoes, spent over a quarter-million last year just on domestic help, and says that in order to be rich you have to make $5 million per year--which, coincidentally, is about the expected return on his wife's wealth.

And the kid who grew up in a single-parent home, sometimes on welfare, who worked his way through school, earned the editorship of the Harvard Law Review and a faculty position at the University of Chicago (neither noted for being hotbeds of affirmative action) is the elitist.

That doesn't even pass the laugh test.

Update: USA Today now has McCain at 12 houses, worth over $10 million. And you gotta love the closing graf:

McCain, who has portrayed Obama as an elitist, is the son and grandson of admirals. The Associated Press estimates his wife, a beer heiress, is worth $100 million. Obama was raised by a single mother who relied at times on food stamps, and went to top schools on scholarships and loans. His income has increased from book sales since he spoke at the 2004 Democratic convention.
[h/t: AmericaBlog]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We have gone hopelessly astray

Kathleen Parker has an excellent column pointing out just how fundamentally wrong and profoundly un-American the Saddleback Church meeting with the candidates was. Rick Warren is trying to insert himself into public life under the guise of "it's all about worldview," which is a codephrase for "evangelical Christianity."

Of course, the next day, he said flat-out that no Christian could vote for anyone pro-choice. Which sends a pretty clear signal about how he thinks everyone should vote.

Neutral, my ass. And expecting candidates to go through this is undignified, demeaning, and pandering of the worst sort.

Warren used to be someone I may not have agreed with but could at least respect. That's changing rapidly.

And though I'm sure he'd call it "anti-Christian bigotry," I think his insistence on bringing religion, faith, whatever you want to call it, into the political realm and making it a political issue is wrong. And I'm sure he'd deny any such bigotry. While also saying he would never vote for an atheist, no matter what that person's policy positions are. So you see, it's only bigotry when other people do it. When he does it, it's just looking for people who share his worldview. In other words, at least pretend you believe in the same magic sky-fairy he does, or at least in some magic sky-fairy, and he'll condescend to pretending he respects you.

Go read Parker's column, it's worth it.