Tuesday, October 07, 2008

McCain attacks are foretaste of what he's planning for tonight's debate.

This is the atmosphere which McCain is creating ahead of the next debate. He asks, "Who is Obama?"and is startled when a loud voice from his audience responds, "Terrorist".

But we shouldn't be surprised. The word "terrorist" has long ago lost it's actual meaning to Republicans and has come to mean anyone who is against them, politically as well as ideologically.

The truth is that only McCain and his supporters can claim after the last eighteen months that Obama is some kind of mystery figure that everyone is unsure of. Most of us by now have a pretty good handle on the guy, but McCain is talking to the people who don't follow politics as seriously as those who trawl he blogs do, and he's hoping to imply that there is something untrustworthy and hidden about Obama, starting with his fight back at tonight's debate.

Mr. McCain’s aides suggested the attacks that he and his running mate had unleashed were intended to set the table for their debate in Nashville, one of the few high-profile moments Mr. McCain has left to reach voters across the country and present a disqualifying version of Mr. Obama. Ms. Palin told a crowd in Florida that she had advised Mr. McCain to “take the gloves off” on Tuesday night.

God knows what McCain has got planned for this evening but they are making sure that it's well advertised in advance. On Saturday when a supporter asked him when he was going to start fighting back he responded, "On Tuesday night."

And now we have his advisers all telling us that the recent comments from Palin regarding Ayers are simply a foretaste of what's in store.

Ms. Palin again invoked Mr. Obama’s sporadic encounters with William Ayers, a founder of a 1960s radical group — amplifying a message the McCain campaign was pushing in a steady stream of e-mail messages to reporters and supporters — and suggested again that Mr. Obama was “not one of us.”

At a rally in Estero, Fla., for Ms. Palin, one of the introductory speakers, Mike Scott, the sheriff of Lee County, referred to the Democratic candidate as “Barack Hussein Obama.”

In an interview with William Kristol on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times on Monday, Ms. Palin suggested that it would be fair for Mr. McCain to invoke Mr. Obama’s relationship to his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., given the incendiary nature of Mr. Wright’s views — even though Mr. McCain has condemned some previous attacks on Mr. Obama linking him to Mr. Wright.

The thing I find odd about this much promised Republican orgy of negativism, is how tired all of the information is.

I mean seriously, Reverend Wright? Ayers? We covered this nonsense months ago. It's all been dredged up by Hillary and it had no effect then and I'm not sure McCain is going to have any more success bringing it all back up again now, especially during the next debate, which is being conducted as a Town hall style meeting where the candidates take questions from the public.

And I am not alone in thinking that this tactic will not work.

“This is not a normal campaign. Normal personal or character-based attacks are not going to work particularly well,” said Stuart Stevens, a Republican consultant who worked for President Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004. “If your house is on fire, all you care about is who can put the fire out the best.”

The McCain camp appear not to have taken on board the seriousness of the current economic slump; nor does McCain realise that, every time he tries to talk about something other than the economy, it simply reminds everyone that McCain isn't the man to lead the US out of it's current difficulty.

Obama looks cool and confident and McCain appears to be flapping around trying on different hats and adopting new tactics to the point where he looks desperate. And the truth is that he is.

He didn't have a plan to begin with and he doesn't have one now. He's campaigning on "change", but that's just a slogan which he nicked from Obama. If you listened to him during the last debate he actually described change as "not only naive but dangerous".

And it was evident from his barely hidden contempt of Obama during the last debate that McCain doesn't understand why this upstart is still in the race next to a war hero like himself. It was supposed to be easy. As Obama said during his acceptance speech, "John McCain doesn't get it".

And he doesn't. As his current plan clearly shows.

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