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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Nothing New Here

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen has an Op-Ed in yesterday's paper where he claims that Obama is being swiftboated, and that he needs to be tougher in responding to it. Money quote:
What Obama does not understand is that he is being Swift-boated. The term does not apply to a mere smear. It is bolder, more outrageous than that. It means going straight at your opponent's strength and maligning it. This is what was done in 2004 to John Kerry, who had commanded a Swift boat in Vietnam. Kerry had won three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star and emerged from the war a certified hero. It was that record that his opponents attacked, a tactic Kerry thought so ludicrous that he at first ignored it. The record shows that he lost the election.

The swiftboating of Obama began before Palin's and Guiliani's now infamous "community organizer" jabs. It started at least over the summer with the release of the McCain campaign's "celebrity" ads. Those ads made the claim that Obama is "the biggest celebrity in the world," an obvious attempt to cast the Senator's worldwide recognition and popularity as a liability.

There's little doubt that the ad found its mark among voters. But where it really succeeded was in its effect on Obama. When Obama had a packed stadium of 80,000 people and a television audience of millions more for his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, he chose to "dial down the rhetoric" and "get in gear" with an address heavy on policy details and light on soaring rhetoric. He didn't, after all, want to look like a celebrity.

Look, Obama's celebrity and his community organizing are strengths--great, great strengths. The McCain camp's job is to attack those strengths as weaknesses, not just on technical merit, but on the basis of Obama's character. A "celebrity" is not a statesman; a "celebrity" is rich, spoiled, and out of touch.

You'll notice that McCain's convention speech offered little-to-no policy details and relied heavily on moving rhetoric around the central narrative of that Senator's campaign, his experience as a POW. So after spooking Obama into giving a relatively tame address and thus squander the biggest mass audience he was ever going to get, McCain stepped right in and gave that audience what it really wanted: a celebrity.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 8:09 AM

2 Comments:

very, very well written Rockstar.
commented by Anonymous matt, 9:30 AM  
Why thank you, Mattstar. Always good to see you 'round these parts.
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 9:57 AM  

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