Monday, August 04, 2008

Criticism - Just and Unjust 

I've read some uniquely foolish press in the last couple of days suggesting that McCain has been ramping up the "character attacks" on Obama, while Obama is running a transcendant campaign.

Honestly, that's just idiocy. It is not an attack on character to suggest Obama is a lightweight, comparable to Paris Hilton. It's funny and satirical, even sarcastic. You can agree with it or not. You can even say it's insulting -- especially if you are an elitist who looks down your nose at Paris and have an Obama crush. But it's not character assassination to say Senator Obama is long on celebrity and short on accomplishment. It's a legitimate criticism. And the parallels to Hilton and Spears are spot on - they sell millions of records and get tons of attention for not much in the way of permanent accomplishment (or talent). They all have a decent voice, sort of.

Juxtapose Obama's Senatorial accomplishments with McCain. Or his accomplishments prior to his Senate term to those of McCain. Maybe what's most infuriating to Obama supporters is that by comparing Obama to Paris, the critic is saying simply he is "unserious." This isn't saying he is a racist because of his assocation with Father Wright or Lewis Farrakhan; or that the Ayers and Dorn asociations suggest a lack of patriotism. Those attacks could be called character assassination. But a Paris Hilton analogy merely says you're a joke, an empty suit.

By contrast, Obama has in fact attacked the character of McCain and the institution of the Republican Party by twice asserting "fear mongerers" on the right will observe he is, in effect, black. That is, he is plainly libelling McCain and the Republican Party as racist. That, folks, is character assasination - and blatantly false at that.

The AP article I linked to above is breathtakingly stupid. Good grief. Finally, it links the "McCain attacks" to his narrowing of the gap in polls. How stupid do journalists think the electorate really is? If the gap is narrowing, it may just be because the electorate is getting more acquainted with Obama as he travels the world and gets wall to wall, breathless news coverage. In other words, he is doing it to himself.

For what it's worth, Obama and and his chief advisor Axelrod should be deeply concerned if McCain and Obama are this close in August. Keep in mind that in the second half of the primary season Hillary tended to dominate the late deciding voters. I would expect McCain (like most Republican candidates) to benefit from the same effect. Thankfully, poor journalism doesn't decide elections. And the electorate is far smarter than those journalists think.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 04, 03:51:00 PM:

Actually . . . Spears has had some hit singles, so she arguably has at least as impressive a resume in her field (assuming for a moment that her field is pop music) than Obama has in politics.

Although the simple fact that you can actually compare the career of Barack to someone as lightweight as Brittany Spears is the basic issue which sets the O-worshippers into their tizzy.

If somebody tried to compare Spears' career to McCain's, the laughter and derision for attempting the comparison wouldn't die down for weeks.

That's the point.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 04, 03:57:00 PM:

Poor journalism? Journalists aren't merely acting poorly, they're outright schills for Obama.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 04, 04:01:00 PM:

CP - I agree on all points. I have always thought it humorous that the Left calls any political ads as "The Right Wing Attack Machine" and everything they do as completely above board. I must say, I don't see "transcendance" from Mr. Obama when he says that McCain is in "big oil's" pocket, or their constant insistence of McCain being too old or that he would be G.W.'s third term. I think of transcendance as speaking for what one is for, or selling what you have rather than selling against the other guy. In the many ways that John McCain frustrates conservatives, it is because he is nobody's pawn. Now, if that is not transcendance then I don't know what is?

One of the reasons why Karl Rove and G.W. were so successful is that they did not listen to any of this Leftist nonsense and kept plugging away at the differences in choices between Bush and the Democrats. Conversely, McCain concerns me, because he is prone to listening to this bullocks and trying to act in an honorable way. The problem is, there is no honor anymore in politics and Mr. Obama demonstrates this almost daily with his regular shifting of stances and flip-flopping; he has no core...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 04, 04:37:00 PM:

It is both accurate and germane to observe that Wright, the man Obama chose to be his mentor, is a racist, that Ayers and Dorn, the couple Obama chose to host his political coming-out, are murderers, and that all three are virulently anti-American.

It would be negative, I suppose, but hardly "character assassination."  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Mon Aug 04, 05:12:00 PM:

This comment has been removed by the author.  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Mon Aug 04, 05:57:00 PM:

Re: "How stupid do journalists think the electorate really is?"

Here's stupidity:

"The weak economy and tight credit market have slowed buying in all sorts of media, but the drop-off is especially pronounced in newspapers." the NY Times says today.*

And what do many newspapers do to turn things around? They piss off half their potential readership with bias coverage.

Newspapers need to realize another thing. If I remember correctly, roughly 22 percent of the delegates to the 2004 Democratic convention were educators. Schoolteachers almost never buy ads. But Republican businesspeople do.

* Link to the NY Times article:


By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Mon Aug 04, 06:27:00 PM:

Gonna need a flak vest in Nov when all the media heads start exploding when Obama loses.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 04, 09:27:00 PM:

Instapundit linked to a Wa Po Feb 2005 article.

"Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame," says Barack Obama. "I've already had an hour and a half. I mean, I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse."

So was Obama racist for comparing himself to Paris Hilton?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 04, 09:58:00 PM:

At Boludo: No, because the salient aspects from that (two person, Paris and Obama) comparison are "this person sees a lot of press coverage," while the McCain comparisons with Britney/Paris and the Obama's face on money bring out a different comparison: white person, white person,... black dude. I don't think it would have been that hard to make the same point and mitigate the criticism by using Morgan Freeman, Samuel L Jackson, or some other figure, but the McCain camp opted not to.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 04, 10:32:00 PM:

So it is not OK for McCain to compare Obama to Paris Hilton ( PH a famous airhead, BHO famous for making airhead statement that keeping tires inflated is the energy equivalent of increased drilling.). But it is OK for Obama to compare himself to Paris Hilton- being famous.
I guess I am just too stupid,not nuanced enough to be one of those really intelligent, really nuanced Democrats. Explains my name.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Tue Aug 05, 11:37:00 AM:

Anon - comparing Obama to Paris Hilton is the opposite of racist. Had McCain juxtaposed Obama to an airheaded black female celebrity, one could have argued the ad could be perceived to cast aspersions on blacks generally. Instead, in comparing Obama to a white airhead celebrity, it completely defuses the race issue. Lighweightedness has nothing to do with race, nor does celebrity in this country.

By contrast, Obama suggesting McCain will inject fear and racism in to the campaign is a calumny. It is a libel, and a vile form of character assassination.

A failure to see or appreciate this is either bad faith (likely) or simply an inability to understand word meanings (IQ). Your call.  

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