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uncle ebeneezer
10-06-2008, 04:38 PM
By insisting on hitting Obama on the topic of who he associated with years ago (Ayers, Wright, Rezko), did the McCain campaign just throw a hanging curveball for Obama to knock out of the park?:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1008/14302.html

I mean, given the state of things today (economy, bailout, greedy bankers etc.) as viewed by the ailing US citizenry, you would think that this is a topic that McCain would want to keep well buried. Obama and the MSM had been kind enough to leave well-enough alone, but hey, if "prior associates" says something about character, well then, this would seem like a most timely story to revisit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAzDEbVFcg8

and consider in regards to judgement and character of a potential President.

Putting the fight into "guilt by association" territory seems to me like it could be a colossal mistake by the McCain campaign, from a political standpoint. I mean, there are probably a lot of swing voters who really never knew the whole story of the Keating 5. But now...

Ocean
10-06-2008, 06:03 PM
By insisting on hitting Obama on the topic of who he associated with years ago (Ayers, Wright, Rezko), did the McCain campaign just throw a hanging curveball for Obama to knock out of the park?:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1008/14302.html

I mean, given the state of things today (economy, bailout, greedy bankers etc.) as viewed by the ailing US citizenry, you would think that this is a topic that McCain would want to keep well buried. Obama and the MSM had been kind enough to leave well-enough alone, but hey, if "prior associates" says something about character, well then, this would seem like a most timely story to revisit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAzDEbVFcg8

and consider in regards to judgement and character of a potential President.

Putting the fight into "guilt by association" territory seems to me like it could be a colossal mistake by the McCain campaign, from a political standpoint. I mean, there are probably a lot of swing voters who really never knew the whole story of the Keating 5. But now...

The problem is that even if the contender throws really low punches, are you willing to respond in the same way? Is there a new (poor) standard being set? What would be the limit?

This is similar to responding to some of our obnoxious posters. How low does one want to get? Of course, for this forum, it isn't big deal, but it's an example of somehow setting precedent or having new rules.

I do think that this is a campaign and there should be a format by which the lies and misrepresentations are denounced. But I wouldn't favor returning punch by punch.

I'm not very good at boxing, but you do get the idea, right?

uncle ebeneezer
10-06-2008, 06:57 PM
I hear ya, but McCain WAS actually reprimanded for activity in a situation that is eerily similiar to the events that we are currently going through, and that are effecting millions of Americans. In that light, I think it's fair game. I mean, McCain is supposedly one who always fights the lobbyists and special interests. This is a pretty good counter-example to that myth.

I'm torn. I wish campaigns didn't always have to get "dirty" and I think Obama has generally run a pretty clean race (relatively). But the Keating 5 baggage plays into some pretty significant issues that go beyond college dui's or what church somebody goes to.

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 07:39 PM
By insisting on hitting Obama on the topic of who he associated with years ago (Ayers, Wright, Rezko), did the McCain campaign just throw a hanging curveball for Obama to knock out of the park?:


Good question. Obama's attacks have much more substance than McCain's and for that reason I would expect they're more likely to stick.

It also seems to me that Obama is better liked and more trusted than McCain, and therefore the public is more likely to believe what he is saying. I don't know if this is actually true, but it's what I would expect based on the fact that Obama is more liked and trusted.

We shall see. The Republicans are definitely going there.

The question is what happens to the fringe: I'm afraid the far-right fringe will become dangerously inflamed now that Palin is telling them Obama is a terrorist who hates America and wants our enemies to win. Last time we had a Democratic president, a lot of the rightwing formed into anti-government militias. This time will be much, much worse. I'm afraid the stability of our social order is threatened by the kind of attacks McCain/Palin are making now. I don't expect civil war, but I'd hate to see conservatives blow up another federal building or kill more federal agents.

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 07:52 PM
The problem is that even if the contender throws really low punches, are you willing to respond in the same way?
Democrats have been taking the high road, and losing, for decades. It's like my dad said about Carter vs. Reagan: When your opponent is lying in the brush in a ditch hurling grenades and sniping at your head, you don't go skipping down the lane, tipping your hat at your opponent and calling him "sir."

It may be that signaling to voters your weakness and unwillingness to fight might isn't the best way to win elections.



Is there a new (poor) standard being set?
Republicans have been playing this way for many decades. In 1948, Nixon was accusing Truman and his appointees in the State Department of being communist traitors. But in the last few days, McCain and Palin do seem to be setting a new standard for sleeze.



What would be the limit?
The limit has been and is being defined by John McCain today. And it's pretty ugly. I'm unaware of anything Obama is doing that comes anywhere close to what McCain is doing. Considering McCain is calling Obama a terrorist who wants the enemy to win, I am personally of the opinion that mentioning McCain's involvement in a banking scandal (http://www.keatingeconomics.com/?source=sem-pm-google&gclid=COKP5NLXk5YCFQNKxwodcjRObg) is in bounds. What do you think?



This is similar to responding to some of our obnoxious posters. How low does one want to get? Of course, for this forum, it isn't big deal, but it's an example of somehow setting precedent or having new rules.
There are two precedents being set:

(1) McCain is playing dirtier and more dishonest than anyone in the modern political era.

(2) Democrats are finally defending themselves.

But it's worth pointing out that the Democrats haven't done anything that comes close to what McCain/Palin are doing. Let me know if you know of something Obama has done on par with the "Obama loves terrorists" attacks currently advanced by Republicans.



I do think that this is a campaign and there should be a format by which the lies and misrepresentations are denounced. But I wouldn't favor returning punch by punch.
You might be right that counter-attacks will be counter-productive. I was personally hoping for an aggressive response when Palin was selected, but Obama stayed above the temptation to respond in kind, and has since gained a lot of ground in the polls. It may be the high ground is the winning strategy, but as I said above, I really think showing weakness and cowardice are losing strategies.

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 08:52 PM
Is there a new (poor) standard being set?

I think so:


Who They Are, What They're About

So we have McCain today getting his crowd riled up asking who Barack Obama is and then apparently giving a wink and a nod when one member of the crowd screams out (http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/10/mccain_who_is_the_real_barack.php) "terrorist."

And later we have Sarah Palin with the same mob racket, getting members of the crowd to yell out "kill him (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/06/in_fla_palin_goes_for_the_roug.html)", though it's not clear whether the call for murder was for Bill Ayers or Barack Obama. It didn't seem to matter.

These are dangerous and sick people, McCain and Palin. Whatever it takes. Stop at nothing.

--Josh Marshall

This talk of murder has been the standard, the norm, on right wing blogs and in comments left on newspaper articles and YouTube videos for a long time. But now we're hearing it at McCain and Palin rallies. The question is what these people are going to do if Obama wins the election. It's clear they won't accept his legitimacy as leader of the country. The real question is what happens after that.

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 09:00 PM
Coutesy of Brendan (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2008/10/pretty-picture.html):

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_UXTYEUoqWnQ/SOovVZgPlCI/AAAAAAAABO8/Z-JhAWflbJA/s1600/favorability-ratings.png

It's distinctly possible that McCain's negative attacks account for this dramatic plunge in his favorability ratings.

And it's also possible that Obama staying above the fray accounts for his dramatic rise.

If the latter could be proven, we'd have good reason to just sit back and take the McCain campaign's latest attacks. But I don't know how you can prove it. I don't know how you can separate out from those numbers the possible impact of the economic collapse.

Ocean
10-06-2008, 09:10 PM
Democrats have been taking the high road, and losing, for decades. It's like my dad said about Carter vs. Reagan: When your opponent is lying in the brush in a ditch hurling grenades and sniping at your head, you don't go skipping down the lane, tipping your hat at your opponent and calling him "sir."

It may be that signaling to voters your weakness and unwillingness to fight might not be the best way to win elections.

If you phrase it as "weakness and unwillingness to fight", I don't think anyone would disagree. My post wasn't about weakness, but rather about maintaining a certain level of dignity and not engage in attacks that are considered to be inappropriate. That's what I interpreted from uncle ebeneezer's post. He was talking about attacking a candidate for what the his acquaintances may have done.


The limit has been and is being defined by John McCain today. And it's pretty ugly. I'm unaware of anything Obama is doing that comes anywhere close to what McCain is doing. Considering McCain is calling Obama a terrorist who wants the enemy to win, I am personally of the opinion that mentioning McCain's involvement in a banking scandal (http://www.keatingeconomics.com/?source=sem-pm-google&gclid=COKP5NLXk5YCFQNKxwodcjRObg) is in bounds. What do you think?

If the "accusation" is relevant to the function of a President, it should be addressed. I actually think that it's even an obligation to denounce verifiable information about a candidate's past dealings. Nothing wrong with that.


There are two precedents being set:

(1) McCain is playing dirtier and more dishonest than anyone in the modern political era.

(2) Democrats are finally defending themselves.

But it's worth pointing out that the Democrats haven't done anything that comes close to what McCain/Palin are doing. Let me know if you know of something Obama has done on par with the "Obama loves terrorists" attacks currently advanced by Republicans.

Democrats should very loudly denounce lies and defamation. The defense, in my opinion, shouldn't be a weak defense, like only stating something isn't true, but they should demand that McCain stops this immediately. If I were Obama, during the debate I would not only look at him but "invite" him to return the gaze, as politely as possible, and then ask him if he is aware that such and such a lie are being used in his campaign. And then go on to demand that he stops the lies immediately.

If anybody ever follows political debates, for example, in any country in Europe, a direct confrontational style when there are major issues isn't uncommon. Issues like blatant lies used for campaigning wouldn't go aggressively unchallenged.


You might be right that counter-attacks will be counter-productive. I was personally hoping for an aggressive response when Palin was selected, but Obama stayed above the temptation to respond in kind, and has since gained a lot of ground in the polls. It may be the high ground is the winning strategy, but as I said above, I really think showing weakness and cowardice are losing strategies.

Not weakness and cowardice, but in Palin's case it was prudent to see first what they were dealing with. And it turned out she didn't need anyone's help to show her incompetence.

uncle ebeneezer
10-06-2008, 09:19 PM
Scary stuff TS. What are you trying to give us all nightmares? ;-)

Getting back to the K5 issue. To me, this isn't even playing "dirty" to bring that chapter of McCain's career. Alot of people are infuriated at the idea that their tax $ may be bailing out companies whose extremely wealthy executives made stupid and/or unethical business decisions. How a president feels about this sort of thing and how he would handle such slimyness, is a very important question. With McCain, we have a very obvious data point to give us an idea. He used his power to try to help out Keating (who just so happened to have personal and business ties to McCain) rather than see justice done on behalf of the people who were scammed by the S&L scandal. Bringing up this event (including the official reprimand by congress) is not a case of picking some old arbitrary thing from mcCain's past and trying to spin into relevance. This is more like doing a criminal background check on somebody before you give them the keys to the safe. Due dilligence.

uncle ebeneezer
10-06-2008, 09:21 PM
Well said, Ocean. All of it.

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 09:53 PM
If you phrase it as "weakness and unwillingness to fight", I don't think anyone would disagree.
I think when you won't defend yourself, that is perceived by the public as weakness and an unwillingness to fight. I believe that part of the reason Kerry and Gore lost in 2004 and 2000 was because they were perceived this way. Obama has conducted his campaign very differently, but at the same time he's refrained from doing anything dishonorable or dishonest.


My post wasn't about weakness, but rather about maintaining a certain level of dignity and not engage in attacks that are considered to be inappropriate.
Have we done that? I'm not aware that we have, so I don't understand why we're engaging in this particular bit of self-examination, especially on a day when someone in one of the McCain/Palin crowds called for the murder of Obama, and the VP candidate is calling him a terrorist.


That's what I interpreted from uncle ebeneezer's post. He was talking about attacking a candidate for what the his acquaintances may have done.
I thought he was attacking a candidate for his ethical lapses in the Keating 5 scandal, not just for who his acquaintances were. If McCain's only connection to the Keating 5 scandal was that he was an acquaintance of Charles Keating, I would agree wholeheartedly.


Democrats should very loudly denounce lies and defamation. The defense, in my opinion, shouldn't be a weak defense, like only stating something isn't true, but they should demand that McCain stops this immediately. If I were Obama, during the debate I would not only look at him but "invite" him to return the gaze, as politely as possible, and then ask him if he is aware that such and such a lie are being used in his campaign. And then go on to demand that he stops the lies immediately.
That would be great. I'd like to see that. I don't know how well it would work, but if anyone could pull it off, Obama could.


If anybody ever follows political debates, for example, in any country in Europe, a direct confrontational style when there are major issues isn't uncommon. Issues like blatant lies used for campaigning wouldn't go aggressively unchallenged.
I guess we can take some comfort from the fact that the Democrats and Obama have been aggressively pushing back against McCain's latest tactics throghout the day today.


Not weakness and cowardice, but in Palin's case it was prudent to see first what they were dealing with. And it turned out she didn't need anyone's help to show her incompetence.
Very good point.

Ocean
10-06-2008, 10:12 PM
I think when you won't defend yourself, that is perceived by the public as weakness and an unwillingness to fight. I believe that part of the reason Kerry and Gore lost in 2004 and 2000 was because they were perceived this way. Obama has conducted his campaign very differently, but at the same time he's refrained from doing anything dishonorable or dishonest.

Twin, I have been saying exactly the same for years now (about Kerry and Gore). I agree about Obama's campaign. I have criticized when the defense is too "defensive" (I know it sounds ridiculous), I insist that they should demand that the lies or misinterpretations end. It's not enough to say something isn't true.



Originally Posted by Ocean
My post wasn't about weakness, but rather about maintaining a certain level of dignity and not engage in attacks that are considered to be inappropriate.

Have we done that? I'm not aware that we have, so I don't understand why we're engaging in this particular bit of self-examination, especially on a day when someone in one of the McCain/Palin crowds called for the murder of Obama, and the VP candidate is calling him a terrorist.

No, I'm not saying we did that. I was pointing out that Democrats should maintain those standards even if the Republicans don't. And this has been the case so far.

I thought he was attacking a candidate for his ethical lapses in the Keating 5 scandal, not just for who his acquaintances were. If McCain's only connection to the Keating 5 scandal was that he was an acquaintance of Charles Keating, I would agree wholeheartedly.

This was a hypothetical scenario similar to some of the attacks that McCain's campaign is directing to Obama. Like blaming Obama because of something that someone else did.

That would be great. I'd like to see that. I don't know how well it would work, but if anyone could pull it off, Obama could.

I guess we can take some comfort from the fact that the Democrats and Obama have been aggressively pushing back against McCain's latest tactics throghout the day today.



And now, young man, or whatever, let's get the record straight. You misunderstood about half of what I said and then agreed with the other half. Once we clarified the half you misunderstood, I think we are at about 100% agreement. So stop defying the echo chamber, amber, ber, er...

Isn't that music to your ears? http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/images/smilies/peace.gif

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 10:25 PM
http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/images/smilies/peace.gif

Fair enough. The way it looked to me was that you were concerned that Obama would go (or was going) too far in responding to McCain's smears. But I guess that's not what you were actually saying. I think all of us agree that probing Keating 5 is a legitimate response to the latest crap from the McCain campaign.

uncle ebeneezer
10-06-2008, 10:27 PM
One of the greatest things about this election is that Obama has NOT made the same mistakes that Kerry/Gore made. Obama has stuck with the program and so far he's winning. Even if he loses, at least it won't be another case of a Democrat shooting himself in the foot through faulty strategy.

BTW- did any of you guys see Dukakis on Maddow the other night? He has been under the radar for wht...20 years now. He would be an interesting guest for BHTV. I'd love to hear his thoughts on election tactics. After all he was swift-boated (Willie Horton) long before the swiftboaters.

Ocean
10-06-2008, 10:31 PM
Fair enough. The way it looked to me was that you were concerned that Obama would go (or was going) too far in responding to McCain's smears. But I guess that's not what you were actually saying. I think all of us agree that probing Keating 5 is a legitimate response to the latest crap from the McCain campaign.

I think we should have a way of labeling what we are writing about, like "rhetorical", or "strategic", or "semantic", or "humor", etc, etc. It could save quite a few discussions... Although, where would the fun be?

Ocean
10-06-2008, 10:33 PM
BTW- did any of you guys see Dukakis on Maddow the other night? He has been under the radar for wht...20 years now. He would be an interesting guest for BHTV. I'd love to hear his thoughts on election tactics. After all he was swift-boated (Willie Horton) long before the swiftboaters.

Didn't see him. Good idea.

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 10:43 PM
I think we should have a way of labeling what we are writing about, like "rhetorical", or "strategic", or "semantic", or "humor", etc, etc. It could save quite a few discussions... Although, where would the fun be?

Hehe, good idea! You're so right about that. It's very easy to be misunderstood in these crazy threads... http://www.thecentralword.com/forums/images/smilies/staff/noclue.gif

There's another forum I used to post on where there had been so many problems with misunderstandings that you were supposed to use a special "sarcasm" font any time you said something sarcastic.

The only problem was that 98% of the forum users had no idea what the font meant. http://www.thecentralword.com/forums/images/smilies/extra/coverlaugh.gif

TwinSwords
10-06-2008, 10:46 PM
One of the greatest things about this election is that Obama has NOT made the same mistakes that Kerry/Gore made. Obama has stuck with the program and so far he's winning. Even if he loses, at least it won't be another case of a Democrat shooting himself in the foot through faulty strategy.
Amen, that is so true. I had practically given up all hope for the Democrats after 2004. It's amazing Obama is where he is with <30 days to go until the election.



BTW- did any of you guys see Dukakis on Maddow the other night? He has been under the radar for wht...20 years now. He would be an interesting guest for BHTV. I'd love to hear his thoughts on election tactics. After all he was swift-boated (Willie Horton) long before the swiftboaters.
Yes! I did catch that. It was good to hear from him, and agree it would be nice to see him here. I was impressed with his honest assessment of his own failings in 1988.

uncle ebeneezer
10-06-2008, 10:56 PM
Not to say that Ezra is just repeating what I said but...:

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=10&year=2008&base_name=the_keating_video#comments

Later edit: so i finally watched the whole vid. Wow, this is better than any movie I've seen this year. Spread the word.

TwinSwords
10-07-2008, 02:29 AM
In this thread, we've discussed whether it is appropriate to respond to your political opponents "in kind" when they sink to the level of Palin and McCain.

Keith Olbermann explores this territory in tonight's Special Comment about Sarah Palin and her despicable smears.

Highly recommended:

http://img56.imageshack.us/img56/1268/specialcommentzm0.gif (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/06/olbermann-special-comment_n_132456.html)