Monday, October 20, 2008

Will Obama supporters, sure the election is basically wrapped up, slack off in the stretch and let McCain smear and cheat his way into office?

It is two weeks to the election. Obama has maintained a small but significant and consistent lead in national polls while the 72-year-old McCain seems to be floundering. Ohio and Florida no longer have a monopoly on the status of “swing states” but have to share the title with states that went Republican in 2004 such as Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina. McCain’s new mantra is “We’ve got them just where we want them.” Yeah, right.

So what’s going to happen in the next two weeks? It’s likely to get ugly.

Here is Michael Tomasky in the Guardian:
A year or two ago, if you'd told me that Barack Obama would be leading John McCain by a seemingly comfortable margin with two weeks to go and asked me what, in their desperation, the Republicans would be talking about to try and scare my fellow Americans into voting against him, I'd have said race. After all, Republicans have race-baited in one form or other in most of our presidential contests since Richard Nixon's time, so it would have seemed impossible to me that they'd miss the chance to do so at a time when Democrats had actually gone to the trouble of nominating an African-American candidate.

It's true that we're hearing racial-code talk here and there. But the main fear tactic being employed now is something else. It's that Obama and his associates - and for that matter his supporters and even the regions of the country that he's destined to carry - are anti-American.'

Last Friday, in North Carolina, Sarah Palin told a rally that she was proud to be "with all of you hard-working, very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation". She means here of course that there are anti-American areas of America, and they are where the liberals live, and the people there are voting for Mr Anti-America.

This was especially interesting coming from a woman whose husband, Todd Palin, was until just six years ago an enrolled member of a rightwing fringe political party that wanted the state of Alaska to secede from the US. But if you understand rightwing logic, then you'd know that Mr Palin had no choice but to join the Alaska Independence party in 1995, because by that time the America he thought he knew and loved had been brought to ruin by the liberals and socialists and America-haters. See?

Likewise, earlier this month, Joe McCain, the brother of John, said that Alexandria and Arlington, the two major cities in the northern Virginia suburbs that lie just across the Potomac River from Washington, were "communist country" as far as he was concerned. His brother lives in Arlington when in the nation's capital for work, and his brother's campaign is headquartered there as well, but never mind. A McCain spokeswoman offered a wan apology at the time, but lo and behold, just last Saturday a different McCain spokes-woman said on television that while Obama would perform well in northern Virginia, "the rest of the state - real Virginia if you will - I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain's message". This did not seem a planned one-liner. The spokeswoman made the fatal error of saying what she actually thinks. Republican Virginia equals real Virginia. Democratic Virginia is alien and impure.
And here is Josh Marshall’s assessment:
If you're thinking to yourself that there's little more than two weeks before election day and Obama has a solid lead in the polls, don't be so sure.

Yes, it looks good for the Democrats. But you need to play close attention to the McCain campaign's final weeks' strategy under and just above the radar. McCain's final strategy relies on two pillars. The first is aggressively playing to voters' fears of electing a black president. Make no mistake: not just his campaign in a general sense, but McCain himself and his top handful of advisers, are banking on the residual racism in a changing America to get them over the finish line. The second is an aggressive use of innuendo to convince casual voters that Obama is in league with Islamic terrorists bent on killing Americans.

Many people have asked whether enough Americans really care any more about the cultural convulsions of the 1960s. The answer? It doesn't matter. For the McCain campaign, Bill Ayers has nothing to do with 60s radicalism. Ayers is nothing more than a tool that permits McCain, Palin and all their surrogates to use the noun "terrorist" in polite company in the same sentence as "Obama," over and over and over again. It allows them to cobble together a 'respectable' version of those Obama smear emails they can push in commercials and robocalls and surrogate talking points every hour of every day.

Stripped down to its components McCain's message to voters is this: "Don't forget. He's definitely black. And he may be a terrorist." That's the message. The nuts and bolts is a concerted effort to keep Democrats from voting -- through intimidation, by striking new voters from the rolls, which is going to happen to lots of them, clogging polling stations to create delays that keep late day (predominantly) Obama voters from voting altogether. Smears in the air and voter suppression on the ground.

Many people say, well ... all this stuff just hasn't worked. But the truth is that the really corrupt and vicious part of McCain's effort only comes now because it's only in the last couple weeks that you can pull stuff that the press won't get to call you on before election day -- after which it doesn't matter. Will it take Obama down? So far McCain's gutter campaign has hurt him more than helped. But there's no reason to be sure it will continue that way. And many Obama supporters, sure the election is basically wrapped up, appear ready to slack in the stretch and let McCain smear and cheat his way into office.
The McCain campaign is desperate and will resort to desperate actions and words. These people have held power for eight years and will resort to almost anything to hold onto power for another four years. Contrary to the “Country First” slogan, this is all about power first and always by rightwing ideologues regardless of the impact on the country. The negative stuff has not paid off for the McCain campaign so far but with two weeks to go they most likely will pour it on. They have failed utterly to convince the American people that the McCain-Palin team has anything positive to offer this country so they’ve got nothing to lose by promoting fear and division. All a negative campaign has to do is alienate enough voters in enough key states to sway the election and keep this country on its downward spiral under Bush-McCain control.

This is not a prediction but don’t be surprised if polls tighten up. People who are concerned about the future of this country are going to have to work even harder to prevent the rightwing ruin of the United States. We can’t let up now.

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