There's an interesting article in today's New York magazine about how the Obama campaign is responding to the advertising assault John McCain launched two weeks ago. To me it's a depressing article and confirms some suspicions I've had about Obama all along.
Up front I have to say that I've voted Republican many times in my life and that I think both parties handle their power badly. To me most of the people in the senate are crooks and a good share of the house members are, too. They just don't have the opportunity to rake it in the way the Senators do. So I've tended to vote against the party in power once I feel they've begun to abuse their priviliges. I came to hate Bill Clinton early on (long before Monica) and thus voted for Dole (who John MCain, as one columnist said today, makes Dole sound like Bobby Kennedy). I think Nancy Pelosi (whose autobiography released this week is hovering near 1000 on Amazon; a fate well deserved) should resign and get her own cable fashion show (a wildly narcisstic incompetent) and Harry Reid (a despicable little man who have had some pretty interesting photos of his colleagues to get his senator leader job).
The Republicans are even worse. Some really creepy people in the GOP lineup. Boehner (whom even GOP pundits admit is more crooked than Tom DeLay ever was) in the house and The Chinless Wonder Mitch McConell in the senate. Rove, Cheney, Gonzales etc. To name but a few.
What I was hoping for this time in this imperfect world of ours was a campaign in which the Deomcrats would wage a battle so fierce that we mistook them for the GOP. Swiftboat McCain, a shabby little man full of rage and stupdity (fifth from the bottom at Annapolis in a class of forty hundred and ninety seven; seventh from the bottom in high school). This is why I switched to Hillary in the last month of the primary. Much as I hate the Clintons I knew Hillary would give us a death-cage match even if it meant cryogenically freezing Bubba for a few years.
One of the points of the New York magazine article is that many of Obama's supporters seem to think these McCain ads are so over the top nobody will take them seriously. I think that's a deadly mistake. TOver and over I hear Obama people laughing that McCain is just jealous because he isn't as popular. These ads are not knock-out punches but they're body punches. Muhammed Ali, you'll recall, made history by doing in his opponents with body punches. Each ad is a punch and eventually will take its toll.
To be honest I got tired of seeing Obama overseas. His slickness and his piety have begun to irritate me. He seems to be too cool for the room, my room anyway. Maybe I've seen too many westerns in my years. But damn man at some point you have to draw down on the other guy when he's slapping you in the face and ridiculing you.
I mention the latter because the article implies that some of the people around Obama, including his mentor David Axelrod, want him to go tough. To retaliate. To attack. There is plenty of ammunition. I'd go all the way back to the Keating Five, McCain on the take. I'd go to all the obvious lies McCain told in the run up to the war (including saying that the Anthrax case "justmight be" the world of Iraq) to how he's let the soldiers down time after time to wearing candy ass loafers that cost $548--if Obama is a rock star what does that make McCain?).
But no, according to those close to Obama, he's worried about his "image." He wants to be known as above petty politics, apprently his word, a "concilliator." I don't know what world's he's living in but it's not the one I inhabit. What I'm hearing is that Obama is a Muslim, a (your choice of racial slurs), an elitist and something less than a man (unlike Toby Keith, a vocal McCain supporter, whose latest song advocates lynching; no kidding).
It's time for a change in our government. This one has done permanent harm to our democracy. McCain will only damage it the more. But I'm no longer sure that Obama is the right guy; I'm no longer sure that we didn't make a big mistake in the primary.