12 October, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Heh. You can call the numbers whatever you like, but they don't lie:

Bowers takes a look at the Washington Post's state presidential labels:

Obama +13.8%: Battleground state (PA)
Obama +10.4%: Battleground state (NH)
Obama +10.0%: Battleground state (NJ)
Obama +9.5%: Battleground state (IA)
Obama +9.0%: Battleground state (OR)
Obama +8.2%: Battleground state (MN)
Obama +8.2%: Battleground state (MI)
Obama +8.8%: Battleground state (WI)
Obama +7.3%: Battleground state (NM)
McCain +6.8%: Leaning Republican (GA)
Obama +5.1%: Battleground state (VA)
Obama +4.0%: Battleground state (CO)
McCain +3.8%: Leaning Republican (IN)
Obama +3.5%: Battleground state (OH)
Obama +3.1%: Battleground state (FL)
Obama +3.0%: Battleground state (NV)
McCain +2.2%: Leaning Republican (WV)

Get it? Every state in which McCain has a lead, even if it's just 2.2%, is a "leaning Republican". Every state in which Obama has the lead, even if it's over 10 percent, is a "battleground".

I smell the sweet scent of desperation. I know the right wing noise machine is expert at making up seem down and good seem bad, but Americans have seen the man behind the curtain. Aside from a few pathetically deluded holdouts, none of them believe this kind of ridiculous spin anymore.

They need a sop. They're about to take their collective teeth home in a hat, their party will be over, and the nation will be enjoying solid Democratic rule for the first time in - fuck, I don't even remember the last time. They have to tell themselves these little stories, like a +2 McCain lead means "leaning Republicon" when a +10 Obama lead means "battleground." When Obama wins, they'll be screaming voter fraud and witchcraft and anything else they can think of to assure themselves that this wasn't a legitimate victory. Prepare for it. They surely are:

Today's stupid fake equivalency comes from Cokie Roberts on ABC'S This Week (video). The exchange that follows comes from 3:36 before the end:

"Krugman: This is not just about McCain and what he did. The fact of the matter is, for a long time we have had a substantial fraction of the Republican base that just does not regard the idea of Democrats governing as legitimate. Remember the Clinton years. It was craziness, right? They were murderers, they were drug smugglers, and the imminent prospect of what looks like a big Democratic victory would drive a lot of these people crazy even if Sarah Palin wasn't saying these inflammatory things. It's going to be very ugly after the election.

Roberts: On both sides that's true. I think that you've also had a huge number of Democrats who think that the Republicans are illegitimate, and that was particularly true after the 2000 election, and to some degree after 2004. And so you really do have at the core of each party people who are not ready to accept the verdict of the election.

Krugman: I reject the equivalence."

I do too, on two counts. First, there is no analogy between 1992 and 2000. In 1992, there was no question that Bill Clinton won the election. He had 370 electoral votes to Bush's 168. He got 5.6% more of the popular vote than Bush. It was not close.

In 2000, by contrast, Gore won the popular vote, and the electoral vote turned on Florida, whose results in turn were decided by the Supreme Court. And the decision in Bush v. Gore was very hard to explain as a principled decision: justices in the majority not only abandoned long-held positions on federalism, but announced that their decision should not be cited as a precedent in future cases. I really do not want to re-argue the 2000 election. But I think that the idea that there's some sort of equivalence between doubting the fairness of the 2000 and 1992 elections is absurd.

Second, while a lot of Democrats had deep concerns about the outcome of Bush v. Gore, the overwhelming majority of us accepted that the courts had the right to adjudicate questions of law. As a result, most of us accepted the idea that whether or not George W. Bush had actually won the election in straightforward common-sense terms, he was entitled under the law to be our President.

This will be the refrain from the ignoramuses on the right. Obama is a terrorist-Islamofascist-socialist one-man sleeper cell whose minions stole the election. If the Dems won by 90%, you'd still hear that refrain. It's what they have to believe. And they'll be just as low-down and dirty trying to enforce that orthodoxy as they have with all their other ones.

No matter. It's over. Even McCain's magic POW card can't change the truth:

This morning, it made a comeback.

Defending the aggressive campaign rhetoric at recent McCain-Palin events against criticisms made by Rep. John Lewis, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis raised John McCain's history as a POW on Sunday.

"Look, Chris, I think we have to take this very seriously," Davis told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. "And the kind of comments made by Congressman Lewis, a big Obama supporter, are reprehensible. The idea that you're going to compare John McCain to the kinds of hate spread in the '60s by somebody like George Wallace is outrageous. Where was John McCain when George Wallace was spreading his hate and segregationist policies at that time? He was in a Vietnam prison camp serving his country with his civil rights also denied."

John Lewis' point was that the McCain campaign has fostered "an atmosphere of hate" and "hostility." He later clarified that he "did not compare Sen. John McCain or Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace," but rather, wanted to remind Americans about "toxic language" that can lead to "destructive behavior."

Regardless, for those keeping score at home, the McCain campaign has now referenced the senator's P.O.W. background in response to questions about McCain's marital infidelities; his healthcare plan; his opinion of Pittsburgh; his response to allegations he may have heard the questions in advance of Rick Warren's recent candidate forum; his distaste for earmarks; and his taste in music.

Mark my words. He'll try to use it to explain his defeat, too. A man who would stoop so low as to use his POW card to trump accusations that he's fomenting hatred and racism, rather than defending himself with concrete reasons why he's not, would play that card in any situation. The fact he has to play it here just shows how obscene Americans find this race-baiting and hysteria coming from the right.

The fact that the campaign is being forced to throw folks under the bus also speaks volumes:

After Obama criticized the McCain campaign for “riling up a crowd by stoking anger and division,” McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace attacked Obama for “insulting” their supporters:

Barack Obama’s assault on our supporters is insulting and unsurprising. These are the same people Obama called ‘bitter’ and attacked for ‘clinging to guns’ and faith. … Attacking our supporters is a new low for the campaign that’s run more millions of dollars of negative ads than any other in history.

Over the past couple days, however, the McCain campaign has slowly started to back away from these attacks; it now appears that the only people who can criticize McCain supporters are members of the McCain campaign. Today in the New York Times, McCain’s top adviser Mark Salter directly insults the senator’s supporters:

“I think there have been quite a few reporters recently,” said Mr. McCain’s closest adviser, Mark Salter, “who have sort of implied, or made more than implications, that somehow we’re responsible for the occasional nut who shows up and yells something about Barack Obama.”

Priceless, isn't it? They've gone from "our supporters" to "occasional nuts" in less than a week. I wonder how those "occasional nuts" feel about being disowned?

I wonder how "occasional" these "nuts" are, considering that nearly everyone in line at McCain/Palin rallies these days seems to enjoy wallowing in the hate:

That's a fuck of a lot of occasional nuts.

But I think we've got 'em outnumbered:

Michael Schaffer of the New Republic takes a look at the (huge) differences between Obama and McCain rallies:

The mood in the long lines to get into the five blocks in front of the stage is the precise opposite of the surly scenes outside GOP rallies that have made the rounds on YouTube over the past week. It's hard to get anyone to say a nasty word about anything.

and I really liked this description:

As the audience files away, a retiree named Edith MacDonald stays put in her seat. "This is just such a happy place," she says, watching the crowd stream past. Brooks and Dunn's "Only in America" is playing again, and McDonald shouts over it to tell me that she's the last one left from her generation, born in South Carolina before migrating north. "I told my family, God left me here for a reason," she says. "So when I go up to heaven and see my family, I tell them" that the country had a black president.


I loved that last article. I'm so proud to be associated with a candidate who inspires hope, respect and tolerance rather than hatred and fear.

This is why I'm not terrified of the hate and rage coming out of those Republicon lines. There are a hell of a lot more good people than bad, and most of the good ones are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us. Hope, respect and tolerance, together with pragmatism and steadiness, have won a lot of conservatives over to Obama. Those conservatives will be part of the effort to restore some decency to American political discourse.

Or they'll become dyed-in-the-wool Dems, while the tribal remnants of the Republicon party cannibalize each other in the wake of a landslide defeat.

1 comment:

ptet said...

Great post as ever :)

Sheesh, tho, let them report big Obama leads as "battlegrounds". Complacancy & low turnouts are a real danger for Obama here...