Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Don't start no shit, won't be no shit

Yesterday Republicans were whining about the Newsweek article on the preparations Obama's team is making to combat Republican smear tactics.

Of course, one of the main points of the article was this:
Sen. John McCain himself has explicitly disavowed playing the race card or taking the low road generally. But he may not be able to resist casting doubt on Obama's patriotism. And the real question is whether he can—or really wants to—rein in the merchants of slime and sellers of hate who populate the Internet and fund the "independent expenditure" groups who exercise their freedom in ways that give a bad name to free speech.
To suggest that Republicans would falsely slime Obama, said McCain aide Steve Schmidt, amounted to "a broad attack on the Republican party." Rich Lowry today argued that Obama is trying to make "rules" which limit discussion in this election.
(Obama) campaign knows he’s vulnerable to the charge of being an elitist liberal. Unable to argue the facts, it wants to argue the law — defining his weaknesses as off-limits.

The campaign can succeed in imposing these rules on the race only if the news media cooperate. Newsweek signed up for the effort in a cover story that reads like a 3,400-word elaboration of the “distraction” passage of Obama’s victory speech. “The Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968,” it says, through “innuendo and code.” McCain “may not be able to resist casting doubt on Obama’s patriotism,” and there’s a question whether he can or wants to “rein in the merchants of slime and sellers of hate.”
"HOW DARE OBAMA SUGGEST WE'RE A PARTY OF SMEAR MERCHANTS!" Lowry seems to whine. Unfortunately for Lowry and the others, their fellow Republicans today dropped an embarrassing turd in the middle of the Republican pity party punch bowl, claiming Obama said some crazy shit about Israel in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. Goldberg tells the story so far:
A press release from House Republican leader John Boehner asserts that Barack Obama told me that Israel is a "constant sore" that infects American foreign policy. "Israel is a critical American ally and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, not a `constant sore' as Barack Obama claims," Boehner's statement reads.

Mr. Boehner, I'm sure, is a terribly busy man, with many burdensome responsibilities, so I have to assume that he simply didn't have time to read the entire Obama interview, or even the entire paragraph, or even a single clause. If he had, of course, he would have seen that Obama was clearly calling the Middle East conflict, and not Israel, a sore. Why, there's no one who would disagree that the Middle East conflict is a "sore," is there?
Goldberg (no lefty) goes on to say that Boehner's statement is "mendacious, duplicitous, gross, and comically refutable." Andrew Sullivan called it a "flat-out lie." Matthew Yglesias said, in his wishy-washy way, they're "misrepresenting" what Obama said. Michael Goldfarb says the smear is is a "bit of a stretch" (which is the best you'll get from a guy like Goldfarb). Dean Barnett called the attack "painfully lame." The WaPo says the comment was "taken completely out of context."

It's just a blatant, horrible, straight-up smear of exactly the type we've come to expect from a desperate, rudderless Republican party. And it's proof the Obama is right to prepare to fight more of the same.

Update: dday at Hullabaloo.
There's no real slickness to the strategy, or forethought put into it. Birds are gonna fly, fish are gonna swim, and Republicans are gonna lie about the Democrat.

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