Thursday, August 16, 2012

The ugly presidential campaign

A Washington Post column from Dana Milbank:

The umbrage industry is working overtime this week.

Mitt Romney, the Republicans’ presidential standard-bearer, is so outraged by President Obama’s attacks that he called the president a hater: “Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.”

On Wednesday afternoon, John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, re-tweeted an article by The Washington Post’s Dan Balz titled, “A most poisonous campaign.” McCain added his opinion: “I agree — it’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”

That’s the same conclusion that conservative commentator Brit Hume drew for his Fox News Channel viewers on Tuesday night. “This is about as ugly as I’ve seen it get,” he said.

Forgive me, but I’m not prepared to join this walk down Great Umbrage Street just yet. Yes, it’s ugly out there. But is this worse than four years ago, when Obama was accused by the GOP vice presidential nominee of “palling around with terrorists”? Or eight years ago, when Democratic nominee John Kerry was accused of falsifying his Vietnam War record?

What’s different this time is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some.

More here.

This is exactly what I was hitting on last week in my post about Harry Reid "hearing" from some guy that Romney hadn't paid any taxes at all for the last ten years. It's sleazy. It's fucked up. It's definitely unethical. But it's also how the Republicans have been so successful for so long in the post-Reagan era: lie, lie, and smear. And the Democrats have done nothing but bitch and moan about it for a generation now. Of course, nobody really gives a fuck, certainly not the corporate news media, who have always treated Republican lies as though they were just different opinions. So why worry about consequences for lying when there aren't any? At least, no bad consequences. Really, it's amazing that it's taken the Democrats so long to figure this out--you'd think that Swiftboating Kerry would have done the trick, but no.

And now the Democrats are starting to use the lie and smear tactic against their opponents, and seem to be succeeding with it. Of course, the Republicans are outraged, which is something at which they excel, but it's appearing that this dynamic works both ways: the GOP can whine and complain all they want, but the media doesn't seem to care about their objections, either; like Republican lies and smears, Democratic lies and smears are, in the MSM, nothing more than different opinions.

On the one hand, I'm kind of hating this because it represents yet another lurch downward in our continuing fall from grace. On the other hand, after Willie Horton
, after the Arkansas Project, after White Water, after the impeachment, after the Iraq Invasion and all its accompanying patriotic blasts at any and all war critics, after the Swiftboating of Kerry, after all the racist anti-Obama hysteria, all the Kenyan anti-colonialist Muslim Nazi Communist shit, it's really difficult not to smile and clap a bit for the Democrats finally growing some balls.

Yes, we're all headed to Hell as a nation for this. But the Democrats, at least, won't be entering the fiery pits as big giant pussies.