Monday, October 6, 2008

McCain's Hail Mary

To give John McCain some credit, I assumed that he would have reduced his campaign to terrorism and race-baiting much sooner than a mere month before the election. It took Hillary Clinton until Super Tuesday to realize that she was in for the long haul, which required the kind of character assassination she felt necessary to come back after losing ten straight primary states. John McCain is in that same desperation. How desperate? Well, here are the RCP averages over the past month, week by week.

Date

Obama

McCain

Obama +/

10/6

49.5

43.1

+6.4%

9/26

47.9

43.7

+4.2%

9/20

47.6

45.3

+2.3%

9/14

45.3

47.4

-1.9%

9/10

45.2

47.4

-2.2%

9/5

46.6

44.0

+2.6


With a near 9 point swing in the polls, largely a result of the economic meltdown and the verbal missteps of both McCain and his moose killer veep, the campaign is looking bleak for the friend of the beloved Charles Keating (the fellow who tried to make it illegal to watch porn and cost us $300 billion in a Wall Street bailout of S&Ls two decades ago).

Since McCain voted in favor of the $850 billion Wall Street giveaway last week, alongside Obama, sadly, there is little to any leverage on economic issues that McCain has, particularly because of the unpopularity of that bailout. He has nothing to advertise on the war, since neither candidate has chosen to make it an issue (much to the detriment of Senator Obama, in my view), and even more so for McCain because he knows the only issue as unpopular with voters than the bailout is the Iraq war.

So, what does he have left? Apparently, Senator Obama's assocation with an ex-campus radical turned community activist Bill Ayers. I am hardly ad admirer of the Weather Underground. They are mostly children of wealth who rebelled against their parents and became bombers of empty buildings to express their frustration with the military industrial complex (the success of which you can see by the current state of our foreign policy and domestic police powers of federal law enforcement). I do not know if I could ever become a domestic terrorist, but if I was ever in a position in which I felt that violence was the only way to redress any problems with my government I can reassure you that throwing a few rocks at an empty, closed building would not be on my list of things to do (all the while opining about how I am getting back at the man and simultaneously praising the slaughter of Sharon Tate as a cool, far out thing). Nothing exemplifies my dislike for the New Left, and my Old Left tendancies, more than the phoniness and insincerity of leftist terrorism in the late 1960s, early '70s. I surmise that if these people were what passed for revolutionaries in 1917 Russia, the motherland would still be living under the Romanovs today.

All of that said, Mr. Ayers lucked out. The FBI violated almost every part of the Bill of Rights in their shakedown of him and his family (illegal wiretaps, confiscation of property, etc. [violations that are perfectly legal today after the passage of the Patriot Act]). After being sprung by his attorneys and turned into an upstanding citizen, Ayers has lived a second, more productive life as a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education (and this after earning his Ed.D from Columbia University in Curriculum and Instruction). He has also doubled as a community organizer for various causes, including public school reform and anti-poverty organizations. In short, he has mainstreamed himself.

Unfortunately for Senator Obama, he lives on the same street as Ayers and sat on the board of a couple of organizations that Ayers was in. They have even, dare the thought, met a couple of times as casual acquaintances on the street and at a conference! Because of this, according to the moose killer and McCain's handlers, this makes Obama a pal of terrorists.

Here is Hillary Clinton, baiting the issue several months ago (much in the same way Al Gore floated the Willie Horton issue to Governor Dukakis during the '88 Democratic primaries). Real harbinger of things to come, Hill.


Of course, none of this new. Conservative bloggers started this rolling ball last year by sending out mass emails, falsely insinuating that Senator Obama was an Islamic terrorist. Once that was debunked, and because it is no longer allowable for them to say what they really think (i.e., do not vote for a black man), they have to find other means to convince voters to forget the last eight years. I predict within the next week, these same people will be bringing back Reverend Wright. You know which issues Mr. Hannity will be covering on Fox 'news.' It will not be the economy or the fact that we are not leaving Iraq anytime soon. No, the closeted black militant is going to rape all of your white women campaign is about to begin, and they will have Hillary to thank for giving them the template for the remainder of their campaign.

Ironically, McCain saw nothing wrong with defending Senator Obama from the contrived Reverend Wright scandal some months back during the primaries. He thought it unfair to judge Obama based on the views of his preacher. Of course, much of this is likely because of McCain's own affiliation with people like John Hagee (whose views on the Holocaust are imminently worse than anything Wright has ever said about the US). All of this is perfectly understandable. What makes the Ayers association laughable is that Obama's knowledge of and relationship with Ayers was much more peripheral than his friendship with Reverend Wright. What a difference a 9 point swing in the polls will make.

This 11th hour discovery of character assassination is going to be a difficult play for McCain. Swiftboating works (just ask Michael Dukakis on the death penalty), but it only works when you have a campaign theme to support it. He has little else to go on (the economy, foreign policy, or social issues [which is left to Palin to rally the fetus worshipers among the party's base]). He even surrendered the state of Michigan this weekend, which is inexcusable for any campaign to do a month before an election (a month ago McCain was up in the polls). It is almost as if he is trying to give away the election. I never expected anything like this. I assumed McCain would likely lose, but for the issue of race, but to turn it on this is a surprise.

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