An Old New Meme

Lately, I’ve been noticing a new meme on the right in general, and in John McCain’s campaign rhetoric in particular, about Barack Obama. He’s not humble enough; he thinks he’s president already; he’s conceited; who does he think he is; he’s presumptuous; he’s arrogant; he’s…. uppity.

Of course, that last word hasn’t been used — yet. But I’m getting a growing sense that’s what it all means. So I’ve been mulling it over, wondering if I’m the only one who’s noticed this, thinking I should post about it, when today I saw this piece by Josh Marshall, which I quote in full (bolds are mine):

I note with interest today, John McCain’s new tactic of associating Barack Obama with oversexed and/or promiscuous young white women. (See today’s new ad and this from yesterday.) Presumably, a la Harold Ford 2006, this will be one of those strategies that will be a matter of deep dispute during the campaign and later treated as transparent and obvious once the campaign is concluded.

But what I’m most interested in today is the new meme the McCain campaign has been pushing for the last few weeks that Obama is presumptuous, arrogant and well … just a bit uppity. Ron Fournier picked the ball up early in his reporting for the AP. And John King was pushing it over the weekend on CNN. Is it arrogant or above Obama’s station for him to meet with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve? If I’m not mistaken he is a sitting United States senator and also the presidential candidate of the Democratic party. Such meetings are actually the norm.

Now, I note that the Post, which has generally been in McCain’s camp, has a front page story today that comes about as close as they feel able to confirming that McCain campaign and McCain personally have spent most of the last week peddling what they knew was a lie about Obama’s called-off trip to the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. And there’s also this piece in today’s Times noting ‘concern’ among some Republicans over McCain’s increasing use of personal attacks on Obama with what are often demonstrably false claims. How many demonstrable lies does the McCain campaign have to push before it colors the portrayal of his campaign?

As I alluded to at the top of this post, it is the norm that obvious campaign tactics that are treated as obvious after a campaign is over are nonetheless treated by most reporters as ambiguous or unclear during a campaign. But in this case it would be nice if that were not the case. Because here we have a candidate, John McCain, who is running on a record of straight talk and honorable campaigning running a campaign made up mainly of charges reporters are now more or less acknowledging are lies. But there’s precious little drawing together of the contradiction. What’s more, as everyone will acknowledge after the campaign, the McCain campaign is now pushing the caricature of Obama as a[n] uppity young black man whose presumptuousness is displayed not only in taking on airs above his station but also in a taste for young white women.

This is especially striking when contrasted with the pass McCain has been getting from the traditional media for blatantly arrogant and presumptuous behavior.

One Response to “An Old New Meme”

  1. gcotharn says:

    I don’t want to defend that weird commercial with Britney Spears.

    I will defend the accusation McCain is soliciting racist voters. if McCain had put young black women in that commercial, cries of racism would have been just as loud, or louder. If McCain had put both black and white women in that commercial, cries of racism would’ve been just as loud, or louder.

    It’s a stupid commercial. But, re the racism thing: McCain was going to be accused no matter what the racial make-up of the commercial.

    Shifting to the arrogant vs. uppity question:
    It’s disrespectful, to Barack, to defend him by trotting out the racism allegation. Not that you have done that, but you are peeking in that direction. I respect Barack enough to believe he can win on his own – without help from myriad racism allegations.

    Of course, with Josh Marshall’s column, the “McCain is racist/using racism” allegations are officially here. That McCain’s daughter is “a person of color” will not save him. McCain will soon enough be vilified as a modern Bull Conner.

    Barack’s arrogance:
    I’m surprised you cannot see the inappropriateness of some of Barack’s statements and actions. I’m surprised you disagree with Jay Cost’ analysis of how Barack’s campaign is opening him up to charges of arrogance. But, if you cannot see it already, it will never happen. Your sight is your own. I cannot enable it or disable it.

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