Tuesday, August 19, 2008

GOP BS Of The Day: On Taking Our Eye Off The Ball In Afghanistan, Judgment, And Questioning Obama's Patriotism

So as I'm sure you realize, the GOP is up to its old tricks, and the smears and sophistries are coming hot and heavy. Here're some tidbits from just one short CNN interview with Tom Ridge just now:

1. Obama called out McCain on attacks against his (Obama's) patriotism at a talk at the VFW today. Ridge's response? To paraphrase:

Oo0h, we're not questioning Obama's patriorism, nosiree Bob. Obama's got to learn that questioning his policies is not the same as questioning his patriotism. If he had more experience, he might realize that.

Utter bullshit, of course. It's clear that the new McCain strategy is to question Obama's patriotism, and then make him out to be delusional and thin-skinned when he responds. What unbelievable assh*les.

Of course, McCain is questioning Obama's patriotism, e.g. by asserting that he'd prefer to win an election and lose a war. Such a person would be an unpatriotic person, ergo to (falsely, of course) portray Obama as such a person is ipso facto to question his patriotism. This is not a criticism of Obama's policies, this is a scurrilous personal attack against him.

2. Wolf Blitzer, paraphrase:
But it's true, isn't it, that we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and let OBL get away, by moving troops to Iraq?

Ridge, close paraphrase:
Sure, we moved a lot of troops away, but I dare you to tell our brave fighting men in Afghanistan that they took their eyes off the ball!

Purer sophistry you'll never find. What Blitzer said--and what is true--is that we, the United States, took our eye off the ball. In this context, of course, this means that the Bush administration took its eye off the ball. Which, of course, it did. It let OBL get away by transferring troops to its war of choice. Ridge tries to switch the blame to the troops and confuse the criticism by trying to confuse the administration took its eye off the ball with the troops took their eyes off the ball. Unable to meet the criticism honestly--for, of course, the criticism is sound--they opt for obfuscation, and attempt to turn criticisms of them into criticisms of the troops.

This is in the same vein as their most despicable argument of recent times: if the war is unjustified, then our troops have died in vain. Ergo, anyone who suggests that the war was unjustified is saying that the troops died in vain. You're not saying our troops died in vain are ya, commie?)


3. One of their new talking points involves trying to appropriate one of Obama's strengths. As Obama has pointed out in the past, while McCain may have more experience, he (Obama) has better judgment. He clearly saw why we should not go into Iraq, and articulated the points forcefully while McCain vociferously supported this worst strategic blunder in American history. McCain may have been for the surge, but he's for every escalation of force, so this hardly counts. Obama seems fairly clearly to be the one with superior judgment. McCain & co. are trying to steal that point and make it theirs by focusing on the single case of the surge. Obama simply cannot let him get away with that.

The McCain camp has gone nasty--very, very nasty. And I think that Obama has to hit back hard. The best way? My guess is: mix every attack with an attack on McCain's nastiness. E.g.:

My opponent cannot win on the issues, and he knows that. He is losing, and he is desperate. He is afraid to let you know the truth about me and my positions because, when people know the truth, they overwhelmingly support me over him. He's losing on the facts, so he has turned to smears. He wants to substitute a frightening fictional Obama for the genuine article in your mind. To that end, he makes up stories to frighten your vote out of you. He doesn't want you to know the facts, doesn't want you to know the truth, doesn't want you to understand where he really stands, and where I do. He doesn't trust his own positions, doesn't trust democracy, and doesn't trust you. John McCain is in many ways an honorable human being, but he is running a dishonorable campaign based on the basest of lies. I urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to react against this campaign of lies. Demand that John McCain run a truthful campaign. A vote for such a campaign of slanderous falsehoods is a vote for what is worst in American politics. Unlike Senator McCain, I think that we should be emphasizing what is best about our politics rather than what is worst. I hope that you will join me in that endeavor.

Something like that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have resisted thinking that the propaganda from the Military Industrial Complex has truly succeeded in taking over every aspect of our culture, but that can be the only way to explain why the war-mongers and low-blow artists continue to gain ground. I can't believe a rational media would allow the GOP so much airtime to spout rumors long since proven false or draw cause and effect arguments that defy logic. Do they really want to live in the paranoid and clueless society they are creating? Soto voce moments prove they don't believe the crap they spout, why do they want us to believe it? The possible reasons only depress me.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Jim Bales said...


What do you think of Obama's words to the VFW?

9:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Seemed pretty good to me.

11:49 AM  

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