Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It is time for Democrats to stop saying nice things about John McCain

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Moore published an essay in The Guardian called "How to Blow It." In it, he outlined a number of steps that Democrats can take to guarantee that John McCain wins the presidency in November.

Step number one: Keep saying nice things about McCain.

Like how he's been "good on global warming" and campaign finance. Keep reminding a country at war that he and he alone is a war hero. Not to mention an all-round good guy. Say that enough and what happens? The same thing that happens when you repeat over and over, "Apply directly to the forehead" - people start to believe it! You've sold them on the idea that McCain isn't a bad egg, and they do not hear the rest of what you have to say: "But John McCain is four more years of George W Bush." If you keep saying he used to be a "maverick", our less-attention-span citizens hear only the "maverick" part, not the past tense verb included in that sentence.
Would somebody who has Bill Clinton's e-mail address please send him a link to the Moore essay? Because this crap has to stop.

Obviously, I favor Senator Obama’s energy positions, and Democrats have been by and large the more forward-leaning actors,” Mr. Clinton said. “But John McCain has the best record of any Republican running for president on the energy issue and on climate change.” He added, “I’m very encouraged about where the presidential rhetoric is in this campaign.”
No, no, no.

The point of this game is to win by presenting your side as the only acceptable choice. You don't say, "our guy is good, but the other guy isn't bad." You say the other guy is bad. You say the other guy is in league with polluters who will make global warming worse, because he is. You say the other guy's policies will accelerate the destruction of our planet, because they will. You say the other guy wants a permanent occupation of Iraq, because he does. There is no shortage of issues on which Barack Obama's position is superior and John McCain's is completely unacceptable. There is no reason to be polite.

But, you know what? There probably wouldn't be any point in sending the link to Bill Clinton, because there is no way that he doesn't already know this. Despite a smattering of unforced errors during the primaries, he is one of the most naturally talented politicians the Democrats have ever had. He knows how this game is played.

Which makes me wonder how committed he really is to helping Obama win.

But for the rest of the Democrats out there, it's time to start taking this stuff seriously. Stop saying nice things about John McCain. There are enough Republicans and news analysts who are only too happy to praise his military service and promote the fiction that he is a bipartisan "maverick." They don't need any help from people who are supposed to be working to put a Democrat in the White House.

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