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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The audacity of nope

As we get ready for Barack Obama's acceptance speech, it's time to take a look at the McCain campaign's recent tactics belittling the Democratic nominee and his supporters.

I believe Bob Dylan best described it best: "When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose"

The kerfuffle over the stage for tonight's outdoor session was only the latest and most ludicrous example of the vacuity and inanity of the McCain strategy. To the casual TV viewer, it looks like a bunch of windows. The Parthenon? Puhleeze.

Yet this is has the strategy since Rove-nik Steve Schmidt took over the campaign: classic Republican Fear and Smear. Tired and discredited arguments leave you little choice but to try, in the words of Lee Atwater, to "strip the back off the ... bastard."

The Obama phenomenon is just that -- his oratory and calls for change have lifted millions from Iowa and across the country. And yes, Europe too. It is a reality that has hard to counter -- except with fear and smear, with belittling references to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

The media -- with little to report from the stage-managed set -- lap it up thanks to ever more accelerated deadlines prompted by the web and the blogosphere.

Polls are part of the same meme. But the latest round of blather about Obama's "stagnant" numbers ignores several important realities, most importantly how wrong the polls have been this year.

Equally undiscussed is the basic problem afflicting the profession. The rise in caller ID and cell phones is making it increasingly harder to come up with a representative sample.

I'd argue a better test of popularity can be found in that dreaded measure -- fund-raising. The astounding numbers Obama is ringing up -- both the old-fashioned way and through his web site -- reflect an outpouring of support that is genuine. And the pace has shown no sign of slowing.

So keep the emptiness of the McCain strategy in mind as we go through the next few days. The GOP campaign is all about changing the subject -- a task that is likely to become that much harder.

Just ask Gustav.

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