Thursday, August 07, 2008

Whining All The Way To The White House.

One the most enjoyable aspects of American elections is the whining about the other side's vicious tactics. In recent years it is the Democrats who have been the champions of the cry baby approach with allegations of supposedly vicious Republican tactics, for example in 2004 Democrats and their media hangers on were outraged at claims by former soldiers that Kerry had trumped up his war record. The fact that in the same election they had CBS run a hit job claiming that Bush was awol on National Service didn't count as a smear for some reason.

What's most noticeable about most of the ads that branded vicious is just how tame they are, take the fuss over the recent McCain advert comparing Obama to Paris Hilton. The definition of 'Republican Dirty Tricks' basically involves any attempt to highlight the Democrat candidates policy positions and flaws. Hence discussing John Kerry's long record of weakness on national security was 'questioning his patriotism', highlighting Al Gore's record as a fantasist was a smear and most bizarrely pointing out that Michael Dukakis's policy of letting convicted murderers out of prison on day trips was criminally irresponsible was racist.

Actually racism is the gold standard of whining for the Democrats, if you can claim that your opponent is racially smearing you then your position as a lofty superior individual is assured. Hence racism is detected in almost any attack on Democrat, it has for example become received wisdom that this advert from 2006 was racist:

A particularly negative ad titled "Who Hasn't?" sponsored by the Republican National Committee ("RNC") that aired during the third and fourth weeks of October gained national attention and condemnation from both Ford and Corker. The ad portrayed a scantily clad white woman (Johanna Goldsmith) acting as a Playboy bunny who "met Harold at the Playboy party" and invites Ford to "call me".[22][23]

Responding to questions about the ad, a Ford spokesperson said that Ford went to a 2005 Playboy-sponsored Super Bowl party that was attended by more than 3,000 people,[24] and Ford himself said that he likes "football and girls" and makes no apology for either.[25]

Personally I don't see anything wrong with attending a Playboy party but it is an obvious gift to political opponents and it is absurd to suggest that there is something racist about using it, if the other bloke is black. With a black candidate for president the search for racist 'code words' for 'kill the blacks' has stepped up to a new level, which is quite impressive when they already think 'law and order' is racist. Like the supposed 'dog whistles' in the UK, code words are magical phrases which can be understood only by knuckle dragging reactionary racists plus a few enlightened liberals but appear to most outside observers to be perfectly innocuous. These include referring to Obama as skinny:
any discussion of Obama's "skinniness" and its impact on the typical American voter can't avoid being interpreted as a coded discussion of race.
Comparing him to Paris Hilton or calling him presumptuous:
The various portrayals of Obama as different from the rest of us - whether it's calling him "arrogant" or "presumptuous" or comparing him with Paris Hilton - are subtle reminders of the biggest difference of all.
In fact just about the only person who isn't racist is Jeremiah Wright.

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