The (Dis)Respect Continues

John McCain broke his promise to run a respectful campaign -- again -- when he approved an ad that compared Barack Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Will the tactic backfire?

For intelligent independents who had believed that Mr McCain was a cut above all that, it is a sadly disillusioning thing to see. ... The prevailing tone of his new campaign adverts is contempt: they sneer, they mock and they outrageously misrepresent. ...

Some speculate that this new turn in strategy could succeed and may indeed already be working. Mr Obama’s still narrow lead in the polls appeared to wobble last week under the onslaught. That makes it no easier to watch Mr McCain, of all people, descend to gutter politics. The Republican spent years gaining the respect of allies and opponents alike for his integrity and plain speaking. Now, it seems, he would rather lose a reputation than lose an election.

McCain's warped focus on personality rather than issues has likely caused him the support of two voters: Paris Hilton's parents. Kathy Hilton called the ad "a complete waste of the money John McCain's contributors have donated to his campaign." She has a right to say that, since it's her money that's being wasted. She and her husband each donated $2,300 to McCain this year. Think they'll ask for a refund?

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    Getting attacked by the wretched Hilton (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:01:56 PM EST
    parents is a boon for McCain.

    And saying McCain has a warped focus on personality is pretty darn funny.

    Like that ads attacking Kerry's war record (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by dianem on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:06:03 PM EST
    Those were expected to backfire. The right wing had "gone too far". They were insulting a legitimate war hero. Funny how that works. I'm not sure that a public that falls in love with shows like "Survivor" and "Fear Factor" and loves watching people get torn apart on "American Idol" HAS a point at which the candidate has sunk so low that they won't vote for him. I'm sure that the Hilton's are offended not only by the ad, but also by the fact that the media seem to be focused more on how this insulted Obama than on the way it insulted Hilton and Spears (talk about hitting when somebody is down - these women aren't even running for office). But I doubt it will backfire on McCain any more than any of the nasty stuff about Kerry or Gore backfired on the people who insulted them.

    So true... (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by TheJoker on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:58:28 PM EST
    I totally expected SVT (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:33:39 PM EST
    to backfire in 2004.  I actually started to get all excited about it, I thought the Rs were handing Kerry the election.  Obviously, I was as wrong as could be.

    Well (5.00 / 9) (#3)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:09:27 PM EST
    If liberals continue to fall into the trap of debating whether the ad is "racist" instead of just pointing out that it's dumb and demonstrates that McCain has nothing of substance to say (even his MOM called it "stupid"), I have every confidence that we will manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on yet another issue.

    And You Are Not Debating? (none / 0) (#8)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:32:51 PM EST
    Sounds like you are to me. If you really believe what you are saying, why even bring it up in the context of racism, at all.

    I am not debating (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:48:35 PM EST
    I have absolutely no illusions that I can change the mind of a single person who believes the McCain ad was racist.  Who knows, maybe they're even right.

    What I can do is try to persuade them that engaging in said debate is singularly unproductive and does nothing to help Obama get elected.  In fact, just the opposite.

    The American electorate is not going to be up for four years of "watch what you say."  The GOP talking point is going to be that any time anyone criticizes Obama, they get called a racist.  Do we really want to validate their talking point?


    Why Is It Unproductive? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:52:58 PM EST
    And if it is, I would suggest that you start with yourself, rather than inviting debate or debating no one as you claim to be doing here..

    just sayin.


    Okay (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:06:53 PM EST
    It is unproductive because very few people will be convinced to change their mind either way about whether the ad is racist, and because debating that topic distracts attention from much more salient criticisms that can be made.

    If you have one argument that will be broadly accepted, and another argument that is a tough sell for 80% of the public, it is a poor decision to go with the tough sell.

    McCain could not be happier than the NYT editorial board and all the usual suspects on the liberal side are falling over themselves to argue that his ad was racist.  He gets the benefit of attention-generating controversy, and even better, it's a controversy he can't help but win.  Let's be smart and pick a battle that can be fought on our turf, not the other guy's.


    Yes (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:11:21 PM EST
    That is why I thought it strange that you brought it up in the first place. What is the saying... let sleeping dogs lie..

    From where I sit (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:17:33 PM EST
    the dog is awake and still barking.

    And it will continue to bark every time McCain makes one of these personality-based attacks on Obama, because a good liberal can find racism anywhere.

    This sort of strategy apparently works in a Democratic primary.  It will not work with the general electorate, and I'm hoping I can persuade some people to understand how self-destructive it is as a tactic.

    Despite your fears that I have reopened the door to a debate on whether the McCain ad was racist or not, I do not see a single reply to my comment seeking to have that debate.  And, indeed, I am more than happy to stipulate that it was the most racist ad since Jesse Helms if people are willing to think about my larger point.


    Agree, as I said on another thread (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:36:12 PM EST
    Democrats just want to win the debate.  Republicans want to win the election.

    Well, (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by frankly0 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:14:19 PM EST
    while you write:

    McCain's warped focus on personality rather than issues...

    let us never forget that it is Obama himself and his supporters who, more than on anything else, have insisted on running on Obama's unique biography and personality.

    He's an "inspiring leader" who creates "hope", and can bring about a post-partisan world through his powers of unification. Policy details are for bean counters and micro-managers.

    Look at all the people who show up for him when he speaks! That's how remarkable he is as a political leader!

    In truth, running basically on personality gives -- and, unfortunately, it takes.

    I think it's a trifle hypocritical to think that it's a great argument for Obama that he inspires these large crowds and devoted followers, and then complain bitterly when it is criticized as meaning nothing unto itself, anymore than the fame of a Paris Hilton means anything important about her virtues.

    BTD pointed this out a long time ago (5.00 / 6) (#31)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:43:51 PM EST
    and has been bringing it up ever since.

    Obama needs to run on the issues, not personality.  But it may be too late.

    This started way back.  Before the primary I went looking for reasons to support Obama.  Surely, I thought naively, there will be at least a few sites on the intertoobz with interesting and thoughtful political commentary detailing the reasons to vote for him.  (I was trying to do the same with Clinton).

    Site after site after site had pro-Obama arguments which, to the last one, boiled down to:  He can draw a crowd!  People like him!  And nothing else.

    I can understand how intoxicating that was for many Dems, esp. after years of policy wonks who had the right politics but uninspiring delivery.     I really can -- I was ecstatic watching Obama's convention speech in 2004.

    But the problem is, crowd-drawing is only one egg in a very big basket, and the campaign lost the opportunity during the primaries to add some issue-eggs.


    Hypocritical (3.33 / 3) (#34)
    by miriam on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:47:51 PM EST
    Is now the word of the day for former HRC supporters who have forced themselves to support Obama.  Exhibit #1: Taylor Marsh.  I'm too old and not limber enough to bend myself into a pretzel for this election and saying that at least Obama is not McCain doesn't do it for me. The tragic fact is that we are faced with choosing between two mediocre candidates for president of our country.  And the Democratic party has disappointed me more than I thought possible.              

    That's ridiculous. (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:14:52 PM EST
    Don't you realize that you are insulting more than half of the people who voted for Hillary?

    Obama is better than McCain (and closer to Hillary) on just about every major issue, so there are plenty of legitimate reasons to still support him.

    You can't call people hypocrites just because they disagree with your conclusions. That's no better someone calling you a hypocrite for not supporting Obama.  


    Not Running Only On His Bio and Personality (none / 0) (#17)
    by daring grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:08:01 PM EST
    But they're obviously part of his campaign just as McCain's bio (though, not so much his personality (!)) are part of his. Witness his POW history.

    McCain's campaign focus on superficial imagery as opposed to policy distinctions betrays the fact that the Repubs don't think that they can win offering their best ideas and must resort (as always) to distorting the Dem opponent's character etc.

    Tells us more about their weakness than anything accurate about Obama. Though who would look to the Republicans for reason or truthiness anyway?


    If truthiness is the crux of the matter, (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:12:28 PM EST
    then obama and McCain are tied in that area...

    Admittedly, Yeah (none / 0) (#38)
    by daring grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:57:41 PM EST
    I couldn't resist using the Colbert word even though it was not what I actually meant.

    I just like the SOUND of the word.


    as I understand it.... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Josey on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:15:17 PM EST
    Obama was the first to compare himself with Paris Hilton.....

    "Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame," then Senator-elect Obama said at a Gridiron dinner in December, 2004. "I've already had an hour and a half. I mean, I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse."
    That attempt at self deprecating humor was delivered little more than a month after he was elected to the US senate, and just weeks before he was sworn in.



    Yeah, So...? (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by daring grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:56:30 PM EST
    I assume what you write is accurate, but what difference does it make?

    I have to ask (5.00 / 10) (#5)
    by cmugirl on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:17:31 PM EST
    McCain's warped focus on personality rather than issues...

    Seriously, do you honestly think Obama has focused on issues in this campaign, rather than personality or his own "rock-stardom"?  I think that's whole point of this - liberals can't really argue that McCain doesn't debate on the issues when Obama doesn't either.  "Hope" and "change"?  A "new breed of politics"? "We are the ones we've been waiting for"?

    I don't think Obama is the devil, and I won't vote for McCain, but I just don't see it when Obama defenders tell me he's all about the issues and McCain is not.  I think this is silly season in the election cycle and neither has said anything of substance in months.

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:30:47 PM EST
    I seriously think Obama talks about issues in every speech he gives.  And none of the Obama supporters who write for this blog argue that he should be elected because of his personality.

    I agree (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by cmugirl on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:55:00 PM EST
    And none of the Obama supporters who write for this blog argue that he should be elected because of his personality.
    I know you don't, but the Obama camp and surrogates are the one putting out the message of personality. His whole campaign is about personality.  His plans have mainly been put out there after one of his opponents had put out similar plans.  He tells us we should trust him to do a good job because he's an "outsider" and has a "new breed of politics".

    I'm not from Missouri, but he still has to show me.  He has not.


    It seems more like obama dances (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:13:23 PM EST
    around issues more than he talks about them imo.

    His personality may be fine (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by zfran on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:48:52 PM EST
    I really don't know him that way, however, his policies seem to change with the time of day, and that I can object to. If McCain has stooped low then what can we say about the dem candidate who refuses to meet his oponent head on in a town hall meeting with their electorate? If his policies are so in tact, why does he have to only tout them in controlled venues?

    Obama has agreed ... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:02:57 PM EST
    to participate in the three debates that have become standard in presidential elections.  Does he have to dance to every tune that McCain fiddles?

    I'm sorry but I just deja vu'ed (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by tree on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:11:44 PM EST
    back to 2000, and it wasn't pleasant.

    Does he have to dance to every tune that McCain fiddles?

     Wasn't that the Bush talking point against more debates with Gore?


    No. However, by turning them (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by zfran on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:16:51 PM EST
    all down, it says, at least to me, that he doesn't want to engage with real people. He could have countered McCain's offer, but he chose not to lead in this venue. And, since it is Obama himself who is campaigning that his candidacy is anything but "standard" I think he could have been creative with this offer. I'm okay with 3 debates.

    He DID counter. (none / 0) (#68)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:36:21 PM EST
    McCain refused to negotiate after David Plouffe talked about "a less-structured, lengthier exchange more in line with the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates."

    Asked if he would negotiate the format with Obama, McCain said he would only discuss possible ways to "modify the details" of a town hall format.

    The Obama campaign proposed to have a town hall on the Fourth of July, "a counteroffer that McCain quickly deemed unacceptable."  And:  "Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass said ... that the McCain campaign didn't respond to the Obama campaign's counterproposals for the town halls."  It seems clear that McCain didn't want to negotiate or accept the counter-offers because he wanted to bash Obama for not accepting his proposal wholesale.


    I think we can both draw our (5.00 / 0) (#70)
    by zfran on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:16:11 PM EST
    own conclusions reading your post examples, such as this "Though initially receptive to the idea of joint town halls, the Obama campaign has so far opted to treat McCain's ambitious proposal as a calculated political threat, not a high-minded invitation to improve the democratic process." But, Obama gains points for asking for a 4th of July townhall, and McCain gets points for not  letting Obama run the show. How great it would be if both sides cared enough to just get on with it and talk to us instead of politiking!!

    Oh for the love of Pete... (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:18:59 PM EST
    Kathy's upset about this??

    You mean the "Be Paris's BFF" campaign or any of the thousand of other times Paris has wound up on the sharp end of the gossip columnists didn't get her...but this does?

    Here's another example (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:50:58 PM EST
    STEPHANOPOULOS: You've also taken some heat this week with your comments saying that Senator Obama would rather lose a war than win a political campaign....

    MCCAIN: Well, I'm not questioning his patriotism....

    STEPHANOPOULOS: When you say someone would rather lose a war, a candidate, that's questioning his honor, his decency, his character.

    MCCAIN: All I'm saying is -- and I will repeat -- he does not understand. I'm not questioning his patriotism.

    Steph doesn't even ask him about patriotism, but by saying over and over that he isn't questioning Obama's patriotism he is making Obama's patriotism an issue. And he implies that Obama is to dumb to 'understand' this.  

    Can People Get Over These Ads! The Outrage (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Richjo on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:54:12 PM EST
    and name calling isn't helping any. Obama does benefit as a politician from many things that have nothing to do with his stance on the issues or his performance in office. It is totally fair game for people to criticize him on that basis, and even to do so in a humorous way that exaggerates the point being made for effect. It is called politics, get over it. Obama should stop whining and combat this by actually focusing on the issues, not proclaiming that is what he is doing while criticizing McCain for not doing so. Just by doing that he is actually not focused on the issues. Staying above the fray means not pointing out to everyone that you are staying above the fray all the time. This is politics, you really can't stay above the fray. Therefore when you base your campaign on such a premise it is eventually going to come back to bite you in the butt. That is what is happening to Obama and he has only himself to blame. He should be out there wowing them as a policy wonk on every issue he can, not engaging in these silly tit for tats.

    Attacking McCain for attacking Obama is just silly. Obama's entire campaign is based on the premise that everyone in Washington, but him of course, is part of a broken corrupt system keeping the American people down. When he puts out a message like that don't be shocked when the attacks start coming back at him. If Obama wanted a campaign about issues he could agree to the debates and town halls McCain wants, but obviously he seems more interested in holding big rallies and giving fancy speeches.

    All this posturing over the Republican's tactics is a waste of time and energy. After what we saw in these primaries no one in their right mind is going to vote for the Democrats because they are good and do things the right way, and the Republicans are evil and don't. They are all covered in filth. The issue needs to be that the Democrats are competent and can actually run the country effectively and the Republicans can't. That is the message Obama needs to be hammering home. Unfortunately he seems more concerned with whether  people view him as the second coming than in doing that.

    obama CANNOT complain about the Paris (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:07:33 PM EST
    Hilton comparison....he compared himself to her back when he entered the senate....words matter obama...you should remember that.

    Not exactly. (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:13:03 PM EST
    Obama said this:

    "Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame," then Senator-elect Obama said at a Gridiron dinner in December, 2004. "I've already had an hour and a half. I mean, I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse."

    His self-deprecating humor  in 2004 is not exactly the comparison that John McCain is trying to make in 2008.


    imo it is and it is quite okey dokey to (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:50:46 PM EST
    compare him to Hilton...

    Alinsky, Bush, Clinton, and Obama (5.00 / 6) (#30)
    by daryl herbert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:37:28 PM EST
    The prevailing tone of his new campaign adverts is contempt: they sneer, they mock and they outrageously misrepresent.

    The misrepresentations in these ads are no greater than the misrepresentation that McCain was okay with 100 years of war in Iraq.  McCain asked Obama to refute that, and Obama refused.  That's when the gloves came off.

    The ads certainly sneer and mock.  Ridicule is an extremely effective technique for taking an opponent down a notch.  Saul Alinksy taught that.  His pupil, Sen. Hillary Clinton, wrote her thesis at Wellesly about his tactics.

    The thesis was locked away during the Clinton presidency, and there was a lot of speculation by conservative commentators that it provided insight into Sen. Clinton's allegedly extreme-left beliefs.

    It turns out the conservatives were half right: it provides insight into her personality, but she had a pretty moderate take on Alinsky.  Sen. Clinton was no far-leftist when she wrote her senior thesis, and she didn't endorse Alinsky's harsh tactics.

    McCain, on the other hand, is a grumpy old codger with a mean streak a mile wide.  He's also not from Obama's political party, so it isn't "treason" for him to savage Obama in a way that Clinton couldn't do.  Alinsky's advice--"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it"--is working out well for McCain right now.

    * * *

    What's crazy about your complaint, TChris, is that President George W. Bush has been the target of massive ridicule for the past 8 years. Ridicule is a natural part of politics.  It's a great vehicle to get information across about why someone is full of [garbage].  It can be used to challenge entrenched powers.

    Obama could have weathered these attacks if he came out and said "the worst thing Sen. McCain can say about me, is that a lot of people like me, and agree with me, and want to give me a chance to reform Washington, and change the course of this country, including changing the Bush economic policies, which are failing at this very moment, making life more difficult for most Americans."  Instead, we get whining about racism and impoliteness.  (And then denials that Obama was whining about racism, and then an admission from Obama that his whining was related to racism after all.)

    Americans don't want a whiner.  We want someone who can handle ridicule gracefully, and doesn't take himself so seriously.  We want someone who doesn't think he's won the election yet.  (The fake presidential seal racing towards the screen from between Moses' parted waters was pure genius.  I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I saw that.)

    Crazy? (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:46:04 PM EST
    If McCain had said, "I'm going to run a smear-driven campaign in which I ridicule my opponent and lie about his positions," I'd give him credit for honesty.  It isn't crazy to point out his hypocrisy.  The post isn't about ridicule; it's about McCain's lack of integrity.

    What about the lack of integrity by the (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:03:21 PM EST
    obama campaign playing the race card and painting the Clintons as racist.  You can't go any lower than that!!

    McCain may lack integrity (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:15:48 PM EST
    but going back again to his promise of a 'respectful' campaign doesn't speak to that.

    'Respectful', as with many of the words discussed the last few days, is rather an elastic term.

    No one who's been through an election cycle believes politicians when they promise no negative campaigning.  Obama promised the same, and look how the primaries went.  Everyone promises, no one actually does it.

    Politicians promise things.  Then they break their promises.  'Twas ever thus.  Very hard to get riled up about it.

    If you really want to d*mn McCain, then focus on the actual disrespectfulness, rather than the hypocrisy.  And appeal to some sort of authority that people respect.  What the Hiltons have to say about McCain (or anything) means nothing to me.  Big surprise, Paris' folks object to her being represented as all that is vapid.

    Maybe suggest some ways Obama could push back that don't include 'he's being mean to me!'.  How could Obama go on the attack effectively?

    I keep thinking Obama's campaign will finally put down the dog whistles and pick up the heavy artillery, but they don't.


    Sure, McCain May Well Be (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by daring grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:03:59 PM EST
    "...a grumpy old codger with a mean streak a mile wide."

    But he's not running as one. He's running as a man trying to run a 'positive campaign', something he's been touting in himself since the primaries.

    It's just not true and he deserves to be called on that.


    Actually, I'm not getting that at all from (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:25:16 PM EST
    McCain's campaign.  True, I have not paid much attention.  But what that usually means is the few strong points filter their way through to me and the less-emphasized just goes by.

    Has McCain said that?  I'm sure he has.  But that is not the same as 'running on' it.  It's just not the same cornerstone of a campaign the way change and outsider status is for Obama (as an example only).

    So while it's legit to point out, it's just not a very powerful argument.


    True, It's Not a Powerful Argument (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by daring grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:31:40 PM EST
    because I don't think the voters really care if a campaign is 'positive' or not unless the one running the 'mean' campaign is disliked more than the person he aims his meanness at.

    But yes, he's said it. In fact, he's said it until recently. Maybe his no longer saying it coincides with his new campaign manager or operative or whatever.


    It's interesting how quickly (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by Green26 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:44:43 PM EST
    and seemingly effortlessly, the momentum has changed, at least temporarily. Obama was getting huge and positive press from his Mideast and European tour. And then boom, McCain's campaign has a couple initiatives and ads, McCain lets loose with several zingers, the press coverage shifts, and some polls show a tightening race.

    While Obama may be speaking substance that is noticed by careful observers, his campaign has seemed to be more about the change theme(appearing now to be largely a campaign slogan) and who he is. Campaigns are often more about personality, or perceived personality, than they should be. I believe personality is fair game, especially since Obama has made it an issue by how he has campaigned.

    Now it's becoming clear that Obama isn't really, and perhaps can't be, much different than any politician. He has starting shifting and moving to the center, revealing that he really isn't different than the rest and losing support from the left. He is losing the edge that carried him in the primary.

    He has not responded very well to McCain's recent initiatives and attacks. While I would like a campaign on the issues, and more respectful campaign, that isn't going to happen. In fact, I think it's likely to get pretty ugly.

    Oh, Kathy Hilton (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by JimWash08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:29:03 PM EST
    An ad like this should be the least of your concerns, considering all the things your daughter's brought on to herself and your family name in recent years.

    Considering Kathy's comments were posted in a HuffPo article -- not the beacon of journalism excellence, by any means -- yeah, that says it all.

    oh. John McCain is being bad. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Fabian on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:46:53 PM EST
    bad, John McCain, bad Republican nominee.
    no respect for you tonight.

    Now that I've gotten that out of the way, can I just say that I can confidently predict that the Republican campaign against Obama will be primarily to define Obama as negatively as possible.  It's what they do.  It's predictable.  It's not shocking.

    Definitely not shocking. (none / 0) (#57)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:08:16 PM EST
    But hypocritical, when the candidate promises not to do it and then spends a week or two doing nothing but.

    The promise of a campaigning (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Fabian on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:24:57 PM EST
    politician is worth what exactly?

    As for the ads, I think I have seen exactly three.  I watched them on YouTube.  I avoid consuming commercial media because I loathe commercials.  

    McCain dissing Obama is what campaigning is all about.  If McCain disrespects the American people, I'll be upset.  Obama is a grown man and an experienced politician.  He's got all the advisors and staff that money can buy.  I expect he can handle it without my assistance.


    But didn't Obama promise to (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:14:12 PM EST
    limit his campaign to public financing?  

    No, he didn't. (none / 0) (#69)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:47:57 PM EST
    Obama said:  ""If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."  The Obama camp says it tried to negotiate with the McCain camp, but heard nothing back.  I don't know how "aggressively" Obama pursued an agreement, but I do know there was no promise to accept public financing.

    There is no nominee, once again. And there won't (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Angel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:45:42 PM EST
    be until the convention.  Anything can happen between now and then.  So we only have a "presumptive nominee."  Words matter.

    Some Words Matter (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:48:58 PM EST
    More than others. And "presumptive" nominee has little meaning at this point in time except as a technicality.

    You are wrong once again but can't/won't admit (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Angel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:50:43 PM EST
    it.  You love to argue but I will not be baited by you so don't bother to reply.  

    lol (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:02:15 PM EST
    Magically, after the convention you are going to consider Obama your candidate, because he will officially become the candidate?

    Your technicalities are quite beside the point, and a silly excuse to hide behind, imo.


    How many times today (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by my opinion on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:57:38 PM EST
    have you posted this fallacy?

    Fallacy? (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:04:35 PM EST
    Oh right, you are waiting for the convention for him to become your candidate. Kind of like no sex before marriage. How quaint.

    The fallacy you have posted (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by my opinion on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:14:31 PM EST
    several different variations of today is the following:

    "Must be that many are no longer democrats. Makes sense because the GOP trolls don't have to comment here so much anymore because the PUMAs are doing their work."



    Thanks (3.00 / 2) (#67)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:03:49 PM EST
    Perhaps you are correct. I can accept that the McSame talking points could be coming from other sources than PUMAs, like the GOP and Independents who are also against Obama.

    A bit too subtle a distinction for me.


    When Obama does something (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by samanthasmom on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:41:14 PM EST
    that makes me glad that he's the Democratic nominee, I'll write a positive comment about him immediately. Right now, I'm at a loss. I have been trying to think of something all afternoon. But I won't give up.

    lol at samanthasmom....it's hard isn't it? (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:33:21 PM EST
    McCain - Is That Your Final Answer (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by john horse on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 06:04:11 AM EST
    His campaign tactic consists of rapid-fire hit-and-run attacks.  By the time Obama can disprove one false charge that McCain makes, McCain is off making another one.

    There are three reasons to attack Obama's character.  First of all, negative campaigns work.  Second, it keeps the focus off of the issues.  And third, more specifically it keeps the focus off of McCain's flipflopping of the issues.  McCain has flipflopped so many times that I think reporters need to ask him "is that your final answer" after every speech.  

    I thought (4.80 / 5) (#18)
    by chupetin on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:10:43 PM EST
    This post was about Mcain's flip-flop on the respectful campaign theme, but just like most other posts here commenters are more interested in bashing Obama than saying one bad thing about Mcain. There used to be only a couple of right wingers commenting on this site, now they dont even show up because they know their candidate is safe, we are too busy bringing down our candidate to even comment on theirs and all his screwups. Who would you rather have in the White House? Obama or Mcain? It's that simple.

    Thanks. (5.00 / 6) (#23)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:14:11 PM EST
    Please continue to comment.  These threads need more balance.

    Maybe you should look at it is obama (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:52:16 PM EST
    is being scrutinized and asked the hard questions, which anyone who is considering voting for any candidate should be doing.  Not everyone likes the taste of kool-aid.

    You say "our" candidate as if you (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by zfran on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:54:57 PM EST
    speak for all dems, men, women, people in general. You do not speak for me. I will vote "country" this year. This country matters more than if a "d" or "r" is after a candidates name. I don't want my constitution messed with anymore!!! "Our" candidate voted against "our" constitution with FISA. He voted himself able to spy on you and me with no one watching. He also voted a pres. mccain the same priviledge. So please allow me the privilege the constitution affords me and please don't speak to how I will vote. Thanks.

    I Always Vote 'Country' (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by daring grace on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:34:37 AM EST
    I'm registered Dem for the last ten years because that's what my state's draconian electoral laws requires--party affiliation--to fully participate in the process.

    I alternate between sympathy/empathy and amusement at those who seem to be feeling betrayed by a (their?) major party for the first time or for the first time in a long time because this has been my perpetual experience since I have been voting(35 years).

    Unfortunately, my choices at the top of the ticket have usually had to be Dem or 3rd party (i.e. protest vote) or nobody. That's life in these United States.


    Some people vote candidate (none / 0) (#75)
    by zfran on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 12:33:55 PM EST
    some party some country. Country means different things to different people. I, too, have been a come home to the roost dem....but not this year. In a year that should be a shoo-in for dems, and may just well be, I believe this country needs a president who will vote for the "peoples" interests not just theirs. To settle every single time is to blindly, imo, accept. I choose not to accept this time. The world, America, our way of life, and our constitution deserve better and I'm fighting hard this time around to get better than we got.

    As An Obama Supporter (none / 0) (#76)
    by daring grace on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 12:46:45 PM EST
    It's fine with me that others are not and will not be.

    Even writing that feels (dare I say) presumptuous, because really who am I to tell someone else who they should or must vote for?

    I've been on the receiving end of that kind of scold and so I will never ever be the scold myself.


    And how refreshing you are, (none / 0) (#77)
    by zfran on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 12:51:41 PM EST
    daring grace, from some others who think that it's their way or the highway. Glad we can agree to disagree like grown-ups.

    This Campaign Is My Very First (none / 0) (#78)
    by daring grace on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 03:06:24 PM EST
    feeling true enthusiasm for a presidential candidate. And even that has come with a lot of reservations attached (and growing thanks to FISA).

    So I have much more experience with what those whose candidate is not the nominee (or who just can't find reason to support him) are feeling/thinking than I ever experienced this.

    So sometimes I feel myself straddling the line. I will vote for Obama, barring an anti choice or other similar unexpected odious reversal. But I soooo understand the other position in general.


    It's a really, really tough choice. (5.00 / 0) (#62)
    by MarkL on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:07:19 PM EST
    One candidate offers a sell-out of my ideals; the other has no interest in them in the first place.
    I'm slightly in favor of divided government at this point, but that could change.

    A dual presidency? (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:11:58 PM EST
    You got a lotta nerve (none / 0) (#26)
    by TheJoker on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:25:43 PM EST
    attacking McCain on a McCain thread on THIS website, buddy. Now, go and play with your hippie friends! :D

    Except (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:32:38 PM EST
    it's not actually an attack on McCain, it's an attack on TL commentors who don't spend enough time attacking McCain.  I would have liked it better if it was an actual attack on McCain.