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Hullabaloo


Thursday, April 29, 2004

 
Calling The Mighty Casio

We knew that Bush "embellished" his National Guard Service. And we knew that he "embellished" his business achievements. Today, Bad Attitudes tells us that Bush even "embellished" his pathetic beersoaked college athletic career (not to mention that he just makes shit up about what classes he took.)

Obviously, swing voters cannot be persuaded of Junior's total inadequacy by exposing the fact that he lied and bumbled his way into a war and has driven the country into bankruptcy to benefit his rich friends. The Big Lie technique works much too well. The campaign must be run on likeability and proxy "character" issues because that seems to be how people make political decisions in this country.

John Kerry is not particularly warm and cuddly by infotainment standards, so we can only hope for a draw on that one. But, Bush has been remarkably immune to the kind of trivial character questions that plague all Democrats, mostly because of the wingnuts's phony hysteria every time anybody goes near that stuff.

The blogosphere, Air America, Stern and Stewart are the places to make this stand. Bush failed up his entire life. Now he's reinventing his past. It's our job to belittle him for it at every opportunity.

Let the word go forth.

Update:

Tina Brown on trivia (and she knows whereof she speaks) and why it works:


"I'm from the suburbs," he announced, "and I'm voting for Bush."

All eyes turned to him. "It might seem odd that a savvy New Yorker like me is voting for a guy in a cowboy hat," he went on, as he recklessly doled out ice cream to a network anchor, "but what we want is stability. This Kerry guy -- he's all over the place."

Huh? Stability? What about all the mayhem in Iraq? His intervention immediately brought the table back from a troubled analysis of American options in Iraq to how the medals debacle is affecting perceptions of Kerry. It was as if the waiter was a plant from the Bush campaign, diverting attention at a critical moment, just as he was supposed to.

The Republican attack machine -- again -- has made the right calculation: Hit 'em with trivia. Bait the hook with the absurd "issue" of whether it was medals or ribbons that Kerry hurled over the wall when he was a 27-year-old hothead. Then watch the media bite -- they'll do it every time -- and let Kerry rise to it and blow it. Presto, a thrice-wounded, decorated war hero running against a president who went missing from the National Guard is suddenly muddying up his own record on the morning talk shows. Shades of 2000, when Bush jokily bowled oranges down the aisle of his campaign plane while Gore argued about whether he did or didn't say he invented the Internet.

[...]

"When I watch Kerry trying to swat away the issue of ribbons and medals I see Karl as the Oz figure all over again," Slater told me on the phone. "Rove's technique is always to go for a candidate's strength, not his weakness. In Texas, when Bush was running against Governor Ann Richards, her strength was her tolerance, her inclusiveness. She had brought a lot of women and minorities into government. So suddenly in conservative East Texas there was a whispering campaign about why she had hired so many lesbians and homosexuals. It's the same with Kerry. The war record is his strength -- so instead of leaving it alone, Rove just goes right at it."

It's spooky to see it working, both in the polls and anecdotally. In the past 10 days, Democrats in New York have been distracted for the first time from focusing their wrath on Bush to dumping it on Kerry. Even among heavy donors there has been a wave of buyer's remorse.


I think the Kerry campaign should do exactly what Rove does. Go after Bush's "strengths" --- honest, courageous, means what he says. I know it's distasteful, but so is Armageddon, which is definitely on the menu if Crusader Codpiece gets a legitimate term in office. Fight the Right on their hypocritical, chickenshit, mama's boy flaccidity in the face of real challenge. Little George reading goat stories and running around the country like a scared little boy on 9/11 is a good place to start.

And Democrats have got to stop internalizing all this GOP propaganda. IT'S NOT TRUE. Kerry is not a waffler; his 30+ public career simply has depth and complexity unlike the simpleminded fratboy's coddled sinecures. Nor are Democrats a bunch of godless assholes who hate religion, and neither are the various constituencies of our party constantly "mau-mauing" to the party's detriment.

This is self-hatred, not constructive self-criticism and we are nothing but big fat losers if we don't stop using GOP propaganda points. If there is one single positive step all Democrats could take today to ensure a fighting chance in this election I submit it would be a promise to never, EVER use the same words to describe each other as the professional GOP smear machine uses to attack us. That simple pledge could go a long way toward keeping us straight on what this fight is really all about.

A good rule of thumb is to temper your argument with a fellow Democrat when you realize that someone overhearing it could mistake you for Rush Limbaugh or a FOXNews "analyst," if they didn't know any better. It's a very disconcerting feeling. I know. I've done it. It's a big mistake.





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