What John McCain Is About To Learn About His Opponent

It was made shockingly clear that McCain has absolutely no respect for his Democratic opponent during the first presidential debate.  Among many different points that became significant topcis of discussion following that event, one of the most curious was the unwillingness of the GOP candidate to look Senator Barack Obama in the eye.

Later, we would come to find that after the Senate passed the Bailout Bill, McCain’s insistance of direct disrespect for Obama was not mere theatrics.  Obama crossed the aisle to shake McCain’s hand and initially the Senator from Arizona tried to brush him off.  Only after Obama insisted did the one time “Maverick” grudgingly offer Obama a brief handshake.

As I say, it’s clear that the race to the White House contains at least one candidate who has positively zero respect for his opponent.  The punditry around the horn tells us that this is what John McCain has to do, that he has to demonize his opponent in order to take the fight to him.

But now we are coming dangerously close to the wire, and McCain has only continued to fall behind Obama who now stands as the clear front runner for the presidency.

A wise person knows to respect their opponents.  Indeed, this is wisdom that extends to virtually all aspects of life.  Case in point, I’ve worked with a lot of electricians as part of the program I was involved in while serving in the military.  The one thing that all electricians would tell me is that the moment you stop respecting electricity and what it can do to you is the moment you get bit by it.

In a way, it’s also like Iraq; McCain went along with the usual cadre of Bush officials in not respecting the possible negative outcomes of our invasion, all of them claiming that our adventure in the Middle Eastern nation would be swift, victorious, and glorious.  That didn’t work out so well.

Bringing it back to this election, I do find myself in agreement with Erick Erickson on exactly one point, and one point alone; with less than a month to go to the election, and McCain suffering by a huge deficit nationally and electorally, this is perhaps the last week he has available to him where he can force a shift in the race that may possibly put him in the White House.

But instead of going after Obama’s ties to Fannie and Freddie as Erick suggests (itself a highly flawed tactic given McCain’s own ties to the mortgage giants), the McCain campaign has decided it wants to dive head first into the mud, bringing up ghosts of Ayers and Wright.

This is coming from a ticket led by a man who once promised a high minded debate this fall; a man who claims to be an honorable man.  It is a last ditch effort in this key week in order to do as his campaign itself has said needed be done, “turn the page” on the economy.  It is also the act of a campaign led by a man who has absolutely zero respect for his opponent.

Respect is something to be earned, true, but as life teaches us, when you don’t respect the dangers and potentials that surround us, you typically set yourself up for a very hard lesson.  The lesson McCain is setting himself up for is one that Senator Clinton had to learn the hard way; what John McCain is about to learn about his opponent is that while Obama is not very effective on the open assault, he is one of the most effective counter punchers in the game.

As was made clear over the weekend, the Obama accepted the fact that the McCain campaign was going to attempt to turn the last few weeks of the election into a game of character assassination, and signaled that he was ready to launch into a policy of mutually assured destruction.  If McCain wanted to bring up the guilt by association argument, Obama would bring up Charles Keating.

And that’s what the Obama team opened the week up with, going so far as to have a thirteen minute documentary produced and released over the internet.  I’ve yet to watch the full documentary, but first thing this morning a “teaser” was released that itself is both damaging and short enough to fit into a TV ad buy.

Alone, this tactic has the potential to blow McCain’s mud campaign out of the water on three levels:

  1. Level of guilt.  In the case of Obama’s associations, the case is one of guilt by association, the logic being that Obama’s cohorts were bad people and therefore Obama must be bad.  By contrast, in the case of the Keating Five, McCain was just plain guilty.
  2. Level of relevance.  The McCain campaign is anxious to get the focus off of the economy.  The only problem is that the Keating Five scandal goes straight to the heart of our economic woes today.
  3. Level of message spread.  Because McCain took public funding, and Obama didn’t, the Obama campaign has much greater freedom as to how he wants to go about rolling out the Keating Five attacks.  For the most part, McCain will be restricted to pushing Rezko, Wright, and Ayers through traditional TV spots in key battleground districts due to the limitations of his campaign’s finances.  That or he’ll have to rely on the RNC to do the heavy lifting in an election year where his stock is falling and the GOP is scrambling to protect as many seats in congress as well.  By contrast, Obama has the freedom to pick and choose how to spread the Keating attacks, and has the option of drowning out McCain’s attacks.

But what gives this rollout the special Obama touch is the jiujitsu style of deployment.  Obama rightly points out that this is all merely a desperation tactic by the McCain campaign, an attempt to distract voters from the economy because he knows that on that issue, he loses.  We saw this throughout the Democratic primaries; Obama attacking not merely the politician, but attacking the attack as well.

It worked well back then, and I think now, while Obama has a commanding lead in the polls, it will work equally well now.

One Response to “What John McCain Is About To Learn About His Opponent”

  1. Angellight says:

    Corporate-owned media falls in line with McCain’s smear assault

    Interesting, isn’t it? On the very day that the McCain campaign is to begin its “Obama is a terrorist” swiftboat-style smear assault, the New York Times leads with a story outlining Obama’s non-relationship-relationship with 70s era radical William Ayers. The New York Times concluded, as have all the many reports relating to the subject; the New York Times’ piece concluded that Obama did not and does not have ties to Ayers. But, wait! Interesting, too, that ALL THREE CORPORATE-OWNED NETWORKS continued the discussion on Sunday—that is interesting, isn’t it?

    This Ayres-Obama smear has been debunked ten times over. So, why is the corporate-owned media continuing to play it up? Why are they doing the McCain campaign’s dirty work even when they know it is all a lie?

    That is simple! The corporate-owned media is doing what their corporate masters want them to do. Corporate America is terrified—scared out of their minds that the American people are going to make the Democratic candidate, Obama, their president and, too, give the Democrats filibuster proof majorities in both houses of congress. The corporations understand what that would mean for them—they know that the people are really pissed off for having to handover a trillion dollars to Wall Street and corporate greed-merchants. The corporations know that the American people are going to want changes to the system! The corporations know that the American people are going to demand an end to the greed-driven trickle down three card monte-like scheme that has been imposed upon them!

    Understand, the McCain campaign’s “Obama is a terrorist” swiftboat smear assault is being demanded by and propagated by corporate America. Corporate America knows that their only hope for maintaining power is to destroy Obama and to catapult their guy, their very old geezer, John McCain, into the Oval Office. So, it is interesting to see the corporate-owned press begin and to continue McCain’s “Obama is a terrorist” swiftboat smear assault, but it isn’t happening by accident—it is by design! This is corporate America’s way of ensuring that the Democrats won’t control all three levers of representative government. Interesting how it works, isn’t it?


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