From FiveThirtyEight.com: McCain Miami Rally, Getting Ugly Down Here
After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that’s what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum…
The event maybe lasted a minute, two at the most, before police competently managed to hustle the two away from the scene and out of the danger zone. Only FiveThirtyEight tracked the two men down for comment, a quarter mile down the street.
“People were screaming ‘Terrorist!’ ‘Communist!’ ‘Socialist!’” Sorando said when we caught up with him. “I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me.”
Asked what had precipitated the event, “We were just chanting ‘Obama!’ and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy.”
The two Obama supporters had attempted to attend the event with tickets printed from the McCain website. Both were clad in Obama T-shirts, Sorando in a blue “Obama ’08″ shirt, and Garcia in a white “Obama-Biden” shirt. They were told that the event was being held on private property and that wearing the shirts or carrying the signs they would be asked to either remove the shirts or not attend.
For an hour during the rally, the two had stood across the street from the lumberyard on public property holding yard signs. Some drivers honked in support, and others honked in disapproval. When the rally ended and the crowd spilled out, the disturbance began.
Not thirty seconds later, John McCain drove by in his SUV and waved at Garcia on the sidewalk, who was happily waving his Obama sign.
I’m not a fan of McCain, but his apparent supporters are downright scary.
So have you seen this latest Obama ad? The one that starts out with a clip of McCain at the 3rd debate saying “I’m not President Bush”? And then the voiceover goes “Truuueee, but..”?
I absolutely love this ad. I dunno how effective it is, no judgement there. But the voiceover guy is genius in taking McCain’s over the top scornful tone (of late) and reversing the tables.
Admittedly, I’ve been pretty negative toward McCain, and lest anyone think I despise the guy…
Eight years ago he ran a pretty clean campaign in the Republican primaries. Got creamed by Rove’s tactics, but also by his rather moderate, nonpartisan record. Over the course of Bush’s presidency, however, McCain has transparently attempted to re-align himself with the conservative base. And this backfired. (Looks like the last time Bush cracked into the measly 40% approval rating range was 2006!) McCain has also run a repugnantly Rovian campaign this year. (No wonder.) And so I lose respect for the guy.
A Rovian political strategy by definition means all slime, all the time. But the more crucial Rove game plan is to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness. All campaigns, Obamaâ€™s included, engage in false attacks. But McCain, Sarah Palin and their surrogates keep repeating the same lies over and over not just to smear their opponents and not just to mask their own record. Their larger aim is to construct a bogus alternative reality so relentless it can overwhelm any haphazard journalistic stabs at puncturing it.
Can you blame me?
So it’s been a crazy week for presidential politics. McCain continues his dysfunctional campaign and Congress continues to work on a bailout. I’ve been away from the internet for the past week, but have had access to cable. So I watched the cable news shows and discovered that their explicit editorializing was a nice change of pace. (To contrast, last night I watched the presidential debate at home, limited to the major networks, and all I got were platitudes of how both candidates performed “well.”)
I won’t bother to retroactively post responses to events like Palin’s third disastrous interview or McCain’s farcical “suspension” of his campaign. Anyone unaware of the news still won’t be interested, and anyone keeping track is already informed.
Let’s go back to staring at the polls. We should see the first debate changing things in these coming days. And then it’s the VP debate(!)
Without being smarmy about it or unfurling gotcha questions, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson demonstrated that he knows volumes more about national security and foreign policy than does Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
To say I was unimpressed with Palin’s performance would be an understatement. I didn’t know what to expect since she’s been on a short leash since the Veep announcement, and in her three (four, total?) speeches thus far the content has been identical, and scripted. This unscripted foray did not go well for her. We’ll see more tonight. Maybe she needs to crawl before she can walk, but it’s fair to say that her unscripted televised appearances will probably make or break her image in the coming weeks… And by extension, the McCain campaign.
Meanwhile, I can only echo the sentiments of those urging Obama to avoid getting bogged down in sniping and news cycles originating from the McCain camp. Where’s Biden? The Obama campaign needs to create their own news again. The value of winning or gaining a particular news cycle is limited, but the overarching image projected is important, and everyone is dwelling too much on Palin and nonissues. Obama wins on the issues. Let’s get back to them.
Today’s article, courtesy of Slate, on the topic of lipstick, pigs, and putting the two together.
McCain’s campaign perfects its outrage over sexism.
All campaigns must change in order to handle the arrival of a vice-presidential candidate. To accommodate Sarah Palin, John McCain’s Straight Talk Express has now installed a fainting couch. It’s not for the vice-presidential candidateâ€”she’s plenty toughâ€”but for McCain aides who are rapidly perfecting the act of expiring on the cushions on her behalf at every sign of perceived sexism.
Tuesday night they turned in a spectacular performance. Barack Obama used the expression “lipstick on a pig” to refer to McCain’s new pitch as a change agent in Washington. “You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said as the crowd cheered. “It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink. We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”
The McCain campaign reacted to the remarks with emergency umbrage. A conference call was ordered for 7 p.m. Former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, the newly minted chair of the “Palin Truth Squad,” told reporters she was offended at Obama’s attack on Palin. She couldn’t explain how Obama’s general attack was a personal one aimed at Palin but asserted it was just obvious. She also took offense on behalf of her children. She may have even put her hand to her brow, but it was a phone call, so I couldn’t tell. (Note: If it had been a man on the call, I also would have used this expression because of the silent-movielike theatricality. I believe that this gesture is gender neutral, but if you have another one, drop us a line and we’ll fix it.)
It’s not clear what Palin thinks of the lipstick remark or the campaign’s nine-alarm ire. She’s spoken only to People magazine since she was selected. She’ll sit down with ABC’s Charlie Gibson later this week for a set of interviews designed around her son’s deployment ceremony, and perhaps he’ll ask her. She once spoke at length about the ways in which Hillary Clinton’s whining about sexism had hurt all women everywhere, so perhaps it rankles that it’s being claimed so frequently on her behalf. She seems like the kind of woman who can defend herself. She might even think making such a fuss to protect her is sexist.
Oh, issues? The NYT has a piece on how an Obama administration will deal with education.
“They spent a lot of time talking about John McCain’s biography, which is compelling, and Sarah Palin’s biography. She’s a mother, a governor, a moose shooter — and that’s cool stuff,” Obama said of his opponents during his hour-long town hall in Farmington Hills. “Then they spent a long time talking about me. They didn’t talk about the issues.”
– Obama, Farmington Hills, Michigan 9/8/08
LOL. I loved this one. Moose shooting is cool? Come now, Barack.
This is the sort of editorial I would write if I had more than fiften minutes to spend on this blog each day. I think Paul Begala makes some pretty salient points, regardless of whether you agree with his overall prognosis. Strip away the editorializing, and this is probably how the election will shape up.
What to expect from McCain, Obama in 56 days
The party of Reagan — sunny optimism, criticism offered in folksy witticisms and the shake of a head — is gone. This is the party of Giuliani and Palin: sarcastic, sneering, snotty and snide. I don’t know why, but meanness plays with the GOP base.
So McCain is not going to make this a race about ideas. After all, he actually has voted with Bush 91 percent of the time. Perhaps that’s why his campaign manager said this election was not about issues. McCain plainly wants this race to be about biography. His is actually the campaign built around a cult of personality.
The flip side of a character-based positive message is — you guessed it — a character-based negative campaign. I hate to say this, but the McCain campaign — and its right-wing allies — are going to play the politics of fear and smear.
You saw it in St. Paul: doughy Republicans scoffing at Barack Obama’s time as a community organizer — even though Obama’s work was the embodiment of the values the GOP claims to believe in: faith-based, family-centered, self-help, hands-on, non-bureaucratic.
If you thought you’d seen it all with Willie Horton, the vicious attacks on Bill Clinton and his family (including John McCain himself cruelly mocking the appearance of then-12 year-old Chelsea), or the “swift-boating” of John Kerry, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Obama’s been maligned from the right as a Muslim, an elitist, a socialist — and that’s just the warm-up act.
For his part, Barack Obama needs to drill two numbers into the heads of every American: 91 and 134. 91 is the percentage of the time McCain has voted with Bush, and 134 is the number of corporate special interest lobbyists involved in the McCain campaign.
Obama will likely argue that no one who votes with Bush 91 percent of the time is a maverick, and that someone with 134 former or current lobbyists advising, funding or managing his campaign cannot be considered a reformer. If Obama can shatter the image of the maverick reformer, even McCain’s heroic POW story will not be enough to win the White House.
On the positive side, Obama will likely stress the economy, including his plan to cut taxes for middle-class families and small business, as well as his plan for energy independence. The key to success will be connecting with voters.