Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Unprecedented Attacks on McCain/Palin

Victor Davis Hanson puts the sustained attacks against John McCain and Sarah Palin in perspective:

The sudden change in the polls the last 10 days, even though it may be temporary, has prompted a furor in the media that has no parallel in modern election history. Vicious words like "treason", "abasement", "liar", and "lying" are in the air now in an unheralded attack on McCain, often in association with the sex education ad, and the lipstick identification with Palin as a pig. (cf. e.g., Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen today). But as Byron York has shown, that ad alleging that Obama supported detailed information about matters of sex to be disseminated to younger children (for a variety of educational reasons), while tough and unnecessary, was nevertheless not a lie.

And as far as the silly lipstick moment, if one studies the tape carefully as Obama lets go with his similes, it is clear that the hooting audience at least seemed to make the association with Palin, and the further elaboration on a stinky old fish seemed to cement the allusion to McCain....

What we are seeing is a sort of meltdown in which the selection of Palin is associated with the first real possibility all summer that the messianic Obama may not necessarily ascend; that triggers a certain repulsion toward her in particular, and a general furor at the once likeable McCain (once likeable to present-day Obama's supporters in the past sense that in 2000 he was going to lose, perhaps divide Republicans, and was not George Bush), which, in turn, can conjure up all sorts of no longer latent demons, going back to Vietnam onto to Iraq and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

The problem (inter alia) with this vicious, loose use of "traitor" and "lie/liar/lying" and blanket condemnations of the US military is that it achieves the opposite of what the authors intend — and repelling most readers to such a degree that they are scared off from anything the writer seems to be advocating.
Lest one think Hanson's exaggerating, just check out this essay from Paul Slansky at Huffington Post, "Why Does John McCain Hate America So Much?":

The contempt John McCain has shown for the people of this country by plucking the wildly unqualified Sarah Palin to sit a cancer-prone heartbeat from the presidency leaves only one conclusion. John McCain hates America....

That John McCain is a shameless panderer who'll do anything to get elected president has become increasingly obvious over the eight years he's spent reversing every principled position he'd ever taken. That John McCain has renounced every shred of honor that ever attached to him is clear to anyone who bears witness to the parade of scummy lies he calls his advertising campaign....

John McCain likes to wrap himself in the flag and call himself a patriot, but foisting this dangerously inappropriate successor-in-waiting on the nation puts him at the opposite end of that spectrum. By disregarding the kind of risk his country will be at if this know-nothing reactionary ascends to the presidency, he reveals himself not as a patriot, but rather as a traitor. If John McCain dies in office, he should be posthumously tried for treason.

With this f**k-you to America, John McCain has proven himself to be - and I never thought I'd be able to say this about anyone - as despicable as George W. Bush.

And to think, I'll have commenters here telling me "in no way do Slansky's views represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party."

Yeah, right...