Sunday, August 03, 2008


I'm not sure who first said "Please do not understand me too quickly" but it's what I need to say here in response to several off-blog letters I've received in the past twenty-four hours. These were not happy letters, their authors accusing me of trashing Obama. Please do not understand me too quickly, folks. If you read what I said carefully I (with one exception) talked only about Obama as a TV personality. As a man I have great respect for him. Look where he came from and look what he's achieved. I'm taken with Michelle, too. We come from similar backgrounds.

To some degree I was venting about what I see as either lethargy or stupidity on the part of his campaign people. Obama may want to take the high road as the "concilliator" but that isn't going to cut it. There is no more savage a political machine than the GOP's.

What I'm especially worried about is the way Obama and his people are responding to these new John McCain commercials. Obama got a four-five per cent bounce when he returned from abroad. That bounce is gone and he's not only tied with McCain but in one poll today he's behind. My irritation with Obama supporters who dismiss the ads so blithely was shared today on the George Stephanoplous show (yes the same guy who, along with right wing sleazebag Charlie Gibson, did everything they could to humiliate Obama in their turn at hosting a primrary debate). His guests were divided left and right and they all agreed, even Donna Brazile (whom I like and admire very much), that thse ads have already driven Obama's negatives up a few points and have certainly erased any gain he got from his trip.

Now David Gergen is an old guy who's been around Washington politics for thirty-five years. He's bland and old school and he can be pretty dopey. But he was on his game today. When the other three said that these hits were probably "short term" and that McCain might pay for the nastiness on the other end, he disagreed on "short term." Who knows what that phrase means. McCain has set his campaign in motion with these commecrials. There will be no turning back. This will be his approach. This and appearing (no kdding) with heavenly clouds behind him and a black and white photo of him as a POW. Beam me up, Sparky.

The idea that the mainstream press is taken with Obama is nonsense. They haven't given him a pass on anything and they've given McCain a paass on everything. To hear Kelly O'Donnell swoon about him (she's covering him for NBC) makes you wonder what's really go on there. Maybe the ice maiden Cindy should keep a closer eye on things. (Kidding.)

I'm reprinting two short pieces from polical blogs today. The second one is interesting because it's an illustration of what the mainstream press is doing to Obama. Remember the forty-eight news cycle flap about Obama saying that he didn't look like any other president on the dollar bill. McCain ripping into him for playing the race card and the press just accepting his lie. . Well guess who said it first? And the Gergen quote says it all. This is reality. And it ain't gonna change.

Donna Brazile said that Obama needs to start running heavy tv schedules with commercials that point out his ideas for changing things and contrasting them with McCain's same old same old. OK. Run three of those but make every fourth an attack on McCain's lies. For instance, two admirals who were on his review board have indicated that despite what he claims in his autobiography, he was never considered for a position as an admiral. As I recall one of them implied that McCain he wasn't exactly a brainiac. McCain insist that the choice was his--serving as an admiral or going into "public service." Think of what the press did to Gore and Kerry (terrible candidates) on matters like this. Not a whisper about this recent story.

This'll be my last political column. I want to get back to pop culture.

Sam Stein | HuffPost Reporting From DC

August 3, 2008 01:16 PM

On Sunday, longtime Washington hand David Gergen took umbrage with John McCain's recent attack ads, charging that the Senator was using coded messaging to paint Barack Obama as "outside the mainstream" and "uppity."

"There has been a very intentional effort to paint him as somebody outside the mainstream, other, 'he's not one of us,'" said Gergen, who has worked with White Houses, both Republican and Democrat, from Nixon to Clinton. "I think the McCain campaign has been scrupulous about not directly saying it, but it's the subtext of this campaign. Everybody knows that. There are certain kinds of signals. As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, 'The One,' that's code for, 'he's uppity, he ought to stay in his place.' Everybody gets that who is from a southern background. We all understand that. When McCain comes out and starts talking about affirmative action, 'I'm against quotas,' we get what that's about."

McCain Mocked Idea Of Obama On Dollar In June
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The Jed Report | August 3, 2008 11:10 AM
Read More: Mccain Dollar Bill Race Card, Mccain Obama Playing Race Card, Mccain Race Card Accusation, Obama Dollar Bill, Obama Dollar Bill Race Card, Obama Faces On Dollar Bills, Obama Race Card, Politics News

Andrew Sullivan, Chris Bodenner, and Eli Sanders all note that the McCain campaign's strategy on race is to (a) play the race card and then (b) accuse Obama of having played the race card.

The issue here, of course, is that John McCain claimed great umbrage at Barack Obama's lighthearted comment that Bush and McCain would emphasize that "he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

But if John McCain thinks that comment was playing the race card, then why did he play it first? One month ago -- in late June -- a McCain ad superimposed Obama's visage on a one hundred dollar bill as part of an effort to mock his supposed 'presumptuousness.'


JD Rhoades said...

Ed, I think Obama's done a great job saying on message. And his message is: McCain's the past. He's using the political techniques of the past, including negative advertising. And with the money he's got banked, I think he's waiting for later in the season to cover th earth with spots like this:\\

Anonymous said...

Just FYI, the quote "Please do not understand me too quickly" comes from Andre Gide.