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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Scapegoats and straw men

Push is coming to shove, smart money is moving to the Democrats and Republicans are bringing out the usual round of scapegoats and straw men as they try to demagogue their way to an increasingly improbable victory.

In Massachusetts, the image of Michael Dukakis is in the air as (former) Gov. Mitt Romney dropped in to offer support for his second banana. Sixteen years after Dukakis walked out the center doors and down the Statehouse steps, he remains the Massachusetts GOP's straw man -- the image of a elitist liberal who will tax state residents into oblivion. Thankfully, it appears the act is wearing thin based on years of GOP mismanagement, exemplified by the Big Dig fiasco.

Barney Frank is once-again a popular target from Dick Cheney to gay baiters trying to revive the shameful imagery of Dick Armey. And Frank (gay and Jewish) is part of a troika of Charles Rangel (African-American) and Henry Waxman (Jewish) being waved in front of voters in the hope of driving up their usual fears about irresponsible liberals.

But once again, smart money (or is that smarmy money?) is gravitating toward a perceived winner.

Kerry Healey has revived the spirit of Lee Atwater and current demagoguery of Karl Rove to produce a series of campaign spots that revived talk of Willie Horton and raised her negatives through the roof.

Nationally, we see the GOP's No. 1 bully, Rush Limbaugh, go over the top in his shameless shilling for the party -- attacking Michael J. Fox for allegedly faking his Parkinson's tremors. Obviously Rush forgot about Alex P. Keaton, Ronald Reagan's No. 1 Young Republican.

But desperate times require desperate measures, so the GOP attack machine has revved up to new levels: accusing Democrats of calling telephone sex hotlines, supporting child abuse and providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

And trying to change the subject from the real sex scandal threatening to keep the "moral values" voter home, they resort to one of the oldest and dirtiest trick in the arsenal -- raising the fears of miscegenation among the older male voters in the South.

Same as it ever was. Conservatives need straw men and scapegoats to generate fear and loathing to stir up fear to maintain power. Even those who claim to be uniters, not dividers.

There are hopeful signs that, for whatever reasons, these self-righteous hypocrites are about to lose their grip. But then again 10 days is plenty of time to sow fear and discord in a land they have already successfully divided.

Stay awake -- and be very, very afraid about what they might try to pull.


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