Barack Obama was supposed to change things. He said he’d usher in a new era in politics, in which negative campaigning and underhanded messaging were unwelcome, and repudiated. In which politics as usual — hardball tactics against opponents, breeding cynicism among the electorate — would be set aside in favor of aboveboard and civilized discussion. Hope and change were going to make a comeback.
Then he saw his poll numbers.
Obama was the first to go on the attack, approving ads that hit John McCain below the belt: Obama mischaracterized McCain’s statement about how long the United States might have a presence in Iraq, tagging McCain as a warmonger who wanted a 100 year conflict.
McCain then poked fun at Obama’s over-the-top hypercelebrity with his Britney-Paris ad. Obama freaked out, and showed McCain that he could be needled. That’s when the floodgates of negative ads and misleading messages burst open.
In the past, Obama has indicated disapproval of independent 527 groups that create ads on behalf of candidates. Now, however, he’s happy to have one such group, Brave New PAC and Democracy for America, put out an ad claiming McCain’s experience as a POW makes him too “volatile” to be commander-in-chief. The ad questions McCain’s honor, integrity, and oh yeah: did you know he’s got a temper?
Disgraceful, and yet, not a peep of condemnation from Obama. Somebody’s got to do the dirty work, right?
Obama’s Vice Presidential pick, Joe “Hillary would have been a better choice” Biden, has also now been enlisted to attack his friend. (Former friend? Frenemy?) While campaigning Monday, Biden said, “John McCain stands with George Bush firmly in the corner of the wealthy and well-connected.” He went on: “The campaign a person runs says everything about the way they’ll govern. John McCain has decided to bet the house on the politics perfected by Karl Rove.”
Takes one to know one, eh, Joe? The campaign being run by the Obama-Biden ticket is A) off the rails, and B) intensely negative. First, Biden trots out the shopworn line that a McCain presidency would be a third Bush term. No thinking person believes that. As his record over the past 8 years shows, McCain is as far away from Bush as anyone can get and still be a Republican.
And second, what about the “politics perfected by David Axelrod?” I’m sick and tired of hearing liberals demonize Karl Rove. He’s a genius strategist who helps Republicans win elections. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the electoral kitchen. I don’t hear the same vicious things said about Democratic strategists like James Carville and David Axelrod (who, by the way, is a veteran of corrupt Chicago machine politics — not exactly a land of rainbows and puppies.) Only Democrats are supposed to have hard-nosed, bare-knuckled strategists to help them win? According to the liberals, yup!
So, for all of his sanctimonious talk about initiating a “new kind of politics” marked by “hope and change,” Obama has resorted to the “old kind of politics” marked by fearmongering and untruths.
After Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary, she claimed she had “found her voice.” She lost, of course. Now Obama seems to have found a new voice (Biden too), and that voice is that of an orthodox liberal, and garden variety, Chicago machine pol.
Obama’s future looks a lot like the past. Who’s for “change” now?