Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Josh Marshall today:
Shorter McCain Campaign: Obama's a black, socialist, Muslim terrorist homo.
I don't think the racism and "Muslim" accusations are valid, but the "homo" part really stands out as nonsensical. Now, I haven't followed the latest robocalls, so maybe I'm missing something, but that seems ridiculous to me. Marshall's now made a case for McCain's campaign being the sleaziest in history. And that's how the site reads now, hyperbole and exceptionalism. You didn't do something I disagree with, you are the worst person in the world and probably of all time.

I remember at one point Marshall discussing the negative influence of partisanship. He spoke approvingly of the principle that you should consider your reaction to a news story or argument or event as if the roles were reversed. So you had to ask how you would react if your side had done something similar. No more, it seems.

Maybe it's Bush's exceptional badness and charmless "fuck you" attitude that's to blame, but I feel like my party is now the 90's right wing. It's all bluster and demonizing your opponent and falling into hysterics. On their side, that led to the election of George Bush, who talked the talk but really only delivered lower taxes and safe court picks. I'm sure we'll have safer court picks, and we'll probably have a slightly more progressive tax system, but I worry that we'll get nothing substantial in the way of health care, poverty, or equality.


Leo said...

I think the "homo" thing may be a reference to this article, which was interpreted by some as making such an implication:


Of course, Politico isn't the McCain campaign.

What's your candidate for sleaziest presidential campaign in history? 1988? 1972? 2004?

factory123 said...

Interesting. I completely missed that story, though upon googling it, I discovered it was all anybody was talking about yesterday afternoon. It looks like it completely missed memeorandum, too. Out of curiosity, what do you check for your political coverage?

In terms of the sleaziest campaign? That's hard, because I really only have memories of a few of them. And I think you tend to magnify the importance of whatever's in front of you, whatever's foremost in your mind.

Objectively, 1972 is probably the worst. Just plain abuse of power that ruined the president. Totally bad.

In 2000, there's the primary "illegitimate black child" robocall, which is really bad. 2000, though, was really about the press hating Al Gore. So it was mostly press sleaze.

2004 is a better example of Bush sleaze, though. Somebody who never served in the military attacked a war hero on the grounds that he's lying about his service. It's shitty, really shitty.

From this season, though, the "Fairy Tale" memo really sticks in my craw.

Leo said...

I have a million blogs under politics in my feed reader and I click on the pretty much at random. Right now I read every post at 538.com and Marc Ambinder, and I read Atrios, TPM, Steve Benen, and Yglesias if I have the time. Atrios in particular is growing on me, probably because he's good on the economic issues. I spend way to much time reading this crap, let me tell you.

There are also politics blogs I read strictly for fun: Sadly, No! and Balloon Juice, mostly. They aren't really sources of "news," more entertainment. (Although, really, it's all entertainment at this point, as you've pointed out--I know who I'm voting for.)

I have in my feed reader but cannot stand reading: Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars, and several others. Too much tendentious crap.

And then there's your blog, which I now receive through the magic of RSS.


I basically agree on the presidential election history you set out. Marshall's point only holds up in a narrow sense--if you look only at the public statements and ads made people officially working for the campaign, this year is hard to match. But there is nothing this year like the outside spending in 1988 and 2004 or the criminal conduct in 1972. Once you narrow the point that much, it's not clear whether it really means anything anymore.