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Myths In The Making

Well, it took a little time to fully develop, but the Boston Globe has gone fully in the tank for Barack Obama. And they're laying the groundwork for the spins and deceptions and outright lies that they will trot out to push their candidate.

This morning, they feature three columns on Barack Obama, but the one I'm going to focus on is by longtime Democratic activist Dan Payne.

It's such a predictable, by-the-numbers piece I almost could have written it myself, just so I could smack it down.

BARACK OBAMA can deliver a brilliant speech tonight, but its impact could evaporate within days. John McCain and his allies have opened the 2008 Swift Boating season. Four years ago, a smear outfit called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth began trashing John Kerry's Vietnam War record. Kerry was never the same.

True enough. He had to admit that he'd made up at least part of his story about his service in Vietnam, and never -- NEVER -- released his full service record to the general public, as he repeatedly promised. In other words, he had to admit that he'd made up some details (the "Christmas in Cambodia" fairy tale) and make sure no more embarrassing details were made public.

Helter Skelter. What the GOP does is throw out so many attacks that the target and voters get confused and disoriented. This all-out Helter Skelter Republican attack machine is something Obama has never experienced.

Oh, poor Bambi. He's a veteran -- hell, a product -- of the Chicago political machine; he's seen up close and personal how dirty politics can be. Also, he's surrounded himself with experienced Democrats who've been through the process numerous times, so they know what to expect -- precisely the same things that they'll do to McCain. It's called "politics."

It always starts small. A small lie. First, they say he's like Paris Hilton. Then he's why gas prices are high. Then he'll raise taxes on the middle class (Funny how powerful Obama is for a man who lacks experience.)

What, saying that Obama's famous for being famous? Sounds pretty accurate. Lord knows he has no lengthy record of accomplishments to run on.

And it isn't Obama that is so powerful, it's the office of the presidency. Look at all the things Bush has been accused of doing to the nation and the world. Some of them are even true, and that is the power of the presidency. That is the office Obama aspires to.

The escalation. McCain's part of the attack machine quickly ginned up a TV spot showing newly minted VP candidate Joe Biden at an early debate saying Obama wasn't ready to be president. Next they found video clips of Hillary Clinton criticizing Obama - imagine, one Democrat knocking another in the middle of a heated primary! Such things never happen to Republicans.

Um... minor problem here, Mr. Payne: those video clips are TRUE. Biden and Clinton actually said those things.

The last time I recall a presidential candidate tapping a former rival for the veep slot was 1980, and I recall a LOT of ads featuring George Bush's describing Reagan's plan as "voodoo economics" in that race. And when Bush ran again for president to succeed Reagan, a lot of his own clips from 1980 came back to haunt him.

Should McCain choose one of his primary opponents for his vice presidential nominee, then we can fully expect to see clips from the debates and ads that candidate ran about McCain, and vice versa. The main difference is that there will be a lot less of Payne-style whining about it, because that's how the game is played.

McCain vs. the Pig. During the Republican primary, John McCain and Mitt Romney tangled over immigration. McCain said this about Romney: "Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it."

Case. In. Point. Thank you for proving my point so quickly, Mr. Payne.

The book of lies. Four years ago his book smeared John Kerry's war service. Now Jerome Corsi has a book out on Obama, published by none other than Mary Matalin, longtime hit-woman for the attack machine for the Bushes and Dick Cheney.

Corsi regurgitates every ugly rumor about Obama. He even asks if Obama has continued to use drugs since high school and college. The book contained so many lies and distortions that the Obama campaign had to issue a 40-page response.

Corsi's a nut, a 9/11 Truther. He's actually doing the Obama camp a favor -- while everyone dismisses HIS book, it draws attention away from another book that has far, far more credible -- and damaging -- stuff on Obama. The Democrats ought to keep this book on the top of the charts for as long as they can, just so it sucks up all the attention Freddoso's book would otherwise get.

And it was one of Hillary's national co-chairman, Bill Shaheen, who pushed the drug angle -- and had to resign for it.

The weirding begins. The favorite move of the GOP attack machine is to define an opponent as weird, outside the mainstream of America's Brady Bunch self-image. Michael Dukakis was weird because he was an ethnic, Northeast liberal who carried an ACLU card, and as governor vetoed a bill making the pledge of allegiance mandatory. Obviously, Dukakis hates America.

Again, just part of the game. McCain's weird because he spent five years as a prisoner. Because he has a temper. Because he married a wealthy woman who owns a lot of stuff. Because he's OLD.

I, too, remember the 1988 campaign, Mr. Payne. And you're right about most of the things, but I don't recall Mr. Dukakis' ethnicity being much of an issue. Indeed, I recall it was just the opposite -- he was held up by his backers as the embodiment of the American dream, the child of Greek immigrants who would grow up to be president. Well, maybe. And, thank heavens, not.

Obama is weird because of his race, name, upbringing outside the continental United States, and a host of malicious lies: He doesn't put his hand on his heart during the national anthem (wrong). He's a closeted Muslim (false). He attended an anti-American madrassa school (nope). He was sworn into office on the Koran (untrue). He snubbed hospitalized veterans while in Germany (bogus).

Yup, and it's been a lot of Democrats who pushed those crocks, during the primary season. I lost count of how many Hillary Clinton campaign people "resigned" after being caught pushing them.

And Obama DID snub hospitalized veterans in Germany. It appears to have been an accidental snub, a series of errors and whatnot, but that just shows that Obama's "judgment" and priorities and competence are not what they claim to be.

Michelle Obama, according to attack machine gunner Rush Limbaugh, was seen on a video berating "whitey" at some meeting. Supposedly she wasn't referring to Bulger. Regardless, no such video has ever been found.

Um... minor problem there, Mr. Payne.The earliest and biggest pusher of the "whitey" tape story was Bob Beckel, longtime Democratic activist and Hillary Clinton supporter.

Got surge? The right-wing Vets for Freedom has started a $1.1 million TV campaign in key states that uses three veterans of the Iraq war who knock Obama for not supporting the surge in Iraq.

So? It's true. And those veterans aren't being "used" as Mr. Payne wants you to think. They CHOSE to make the ad, of their own free will, with no deception or manipulation involved.

The Ayers TV spot. The American Issues Project is running a TV commercial making it seem as though Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, an unrepentant radical in the 1960s and '70s, are best friends and that Obama supports his violent acts.

No, Mr. Payne, Mr. Ayers is an unrepentant TERRORIST. When the prosecution against him fell apart due to government malfeasance, Ayers himself proclaimed "Guilty as hell, free as a bird--America is a great country."

And Obama has repeatedly tried to minimize his relationship with Ayers, only to have to go back and revise it as more and more details of their history together come to light. The reason that the Obama camp finds this ad so frightening is that it not only shows a pattern of Obama choosing to surround himself with people of extremely dubious character (Tony Rezko and Reverend Jeremiah Wright come to mind), but that goes to their single strength of Obama's they tout -- their judgment.

And just how badly to they fear attacks like this?

Get some Justice. Obama's campaign has demanded that the Justice Department investigate the Ayers spot, claiming it's electioneering, not issue advocacy. Dallas megamillionaire Harold Simmons is bankrolling the ad. By himself. Simmons was a major donor to the Swift Boat smear job against Kerry and has raised more than $50,000 this time for McCain. Hard to call this an independent expenditure.

Hey, Mr. Payne, unless you can show that McCain had anything to do with the ad directly, it's "independent." The issue of the ad is "keep terrorists and buddies of terrorists out of the White House."

But if you wanna play that game, Mr. Payne, can we take a look at those who are spending literally millions on behalf of Obama? Let's start with George Soros, and MoveOn down the list. Careful what precedents you might set.

Yet another hit man, who shall go nameless because he thrives on publicity, created the infamous Willie Horton TV spot that attacked Dukakis for a weekend prison furlough program that resulted in a convicted murderer traveling to Maryland where he brutally beat a man and raped his fiancee.

The nameless one is now attacking Obama in a TV spot for opposing in the Illinois state Legislature a bill to extend the death penalty to gang murderers, after the killing of innocent Chicagoans during gang gunplay.

Hmm... who could this be? As I recall, it was Al Gore's campaign that first made Willie Horton a campaign issue.

And in both cases, the charges have the virtue of being true. If Obama felt so strongly about that law, why shouldn't he have a forceful defense of his opposition?

Formula for defeat. White bigots + lies about Obama + Hillary holdouts = President McCain. Nothing Obama says tonight can change that. Enjoy it because the next 68 days won't be fun.

Alternately, it's more like "guilty whites + lies about Obama + willful blindness = President Obama."

Obama can change that. Literally anything can happen in the next 68 days.

I've often spoke of my disregard for polls, and I'm going to make my own analysis about how the election: it's a dead heat. There's a 50% chance that Obama will win, and a 50% chance that McCain will win.

And it's going to stay that way right up until the actual election -- the only poll that counts.

Oh, and one last thing, Mr. Payne: there's a very good chance that the next 68 days could be very fun. For example, your "analysis" gave me some great belly laughs.


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Comments (23)

Excellent post Jay. <... (Below threshold)

Excellent post Jay.

I've bookmarked it for reference during the next two months.

Great post JT, as always. I... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Great post JT, as always. I would say in my memory of past elections, it is the dems that start the worst and most visious lies in every election cycle. ww

That well was poisoned long... (Below threshold)

That well was poisoned long ago. And it's not just Republicans that create attack ads. The problem is the willful blindness of some (like Mr. Payne) to the origins of these attacks and whether or not there is any truth to them. Many of the attacks against Obama, truthful or not, are not necessarily directly from the McCain campaign or even originate from any Republican group. It goes both ways. It has always been thus.

One must first look at the charges and determine if they are true. If they're not, or are clearly misleading, we can't automatically assume it was from the other side of the aisle as you've demonstrated here.

Mr. Payne speaks as though he's is entirely new to politics. He speaks in the same frame of reference like many who act as if the world started on January 20th, 2001 and everything was fine before that.

Unfortunately, false attack ads and rumors have an audience; the gullible, the lazy and the intellectually challenged. Fortunately, those of us who are not so easily manipulated have sources to check the viability of these charges.

Holy cow, are you sure that... (Below threshold)

Holy cow, are you sure that was Don Payne and not Lee Ward?

When can we expect a "When ... (Below threshold)

When can we expect a "When people say they want to vote for John McCain instead of Barack Obama, it's like my father is being killed all over again" ad?

Tom: For one, there was no ... (Below threshold)

Tom: For one, there was no "lying liars" in the piece. For another, the page wasn't dripping spittle.

Falze: I have NO idea what the hell that means.

J.

You can't get any more in t... (Below threshold)
Buddy:

You can't get any more in the tank than when you start using Charles Manson terminology. Going back to 1969, or so, when Charlie ordered the Tate-LaBianca killings, he was hoping to ignite 'helter skelter'

This whole article is written in some twisted code hearkening back to that series of events in some wierdistic manner, as if apocalyptic war is going to happen if we don't elect Obama. It's disgusting.

JT,Why was my prev... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

JT,

Why was my previous comment held for moderation? It only had one link.

Am I a spammer?

-syb

Jay, I think Falze is refer... (Below threshold)

Jay, I think Falze is referring to this NAACP ad Days before the 2000 election:

"On June 7, 1998 in Texas my father was killed. He was beaten, chained, and then dragged 3 miles to his death, all because he was black.

"So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crime legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again."

P.S. when I say 'this artic... (Below threshold)
Buddy:

P.S. when I say 'this article' I mean the globe.

How about a letter to the e... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

How about a letter to the editor, Jay?

I doubt Payne has the sense to read this blog.

Instead of all the garbage ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Instead of all the garbage the Globe is spewing, why don't they show us how qualified Obama is for this job?

When will they show us that there is any evidence the fraud can do any of things has claims he wants to do?

He said he wants to fight for the common man but spent eight years fighting for rich men in the IL state Senate.

He wants to fight for the common man but tonite will position himself as a god.

Give me a break.

JT: yeah, just pointing out... (Below threshold)

JT: yeah, just pointing out a little liberal hypocrisy re: attack ads.

I didn't think it was that subtle.

Mr. Obama was the only m... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Mr. Obama was the only member of the state Senate to vote against a bill to prohibit the early release of convicted criminal sexual abusers; was among only four who voted against bills to toughen criminal sentences and to increase penalties for "gangbangers" and dealers of Ecstasy; and voted "present" on a bill making it harder for abusive parents to regain custody of their children, a Washington Times review of Illinois legislative records shows.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/aug/28/obama-votes-in-illinois-cast-left-of-party/

Helter Skelter.Bec... (Below threshold)

Helter Skelter.

Because Republicans are exactly like psycho cult member spree murderers.

Good grief... get this guy some thorazine, stat!

Correct me if I'm wrong, bu... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the SBVFT more about Kerry's actions AFTER the war than his actual service? Any questions they raised about Vietnam were secondary to his slander before Congress, "Peace Summit" with the VC in France, "throwing" his "medals" over the fence, etc..

Of course, once he "reported for duty" at the convention and made his nine months of service in Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign he opened a new can of worms. His Christmas in Cambodia story fell apart like a Chinese motorcycle because he was too much of a retard to know when Nixon was actually inaugurated.

So then "swiftboating" is defined as: exposing actions and associations most Americans find repellent in a Democratic candidate's political past? The operative Democratic definition - any criticism of a Democrat by a Republican - is either ignorant or obtuse.

If they don't want their candidate "swiftboated" then stop nominating candidates who have so many skeletons-in-the-closet/self-inflicted political wounds.

Falze, I missed that ad. I ... (Below threshold)

Falze, I missed that ad. I do remember the original event, though -- and two of the three killers of Mr. Bird were sentenced to death. The third cooperated against the other two, and got life.

But that, apparently, wasn't enough for some people, who wanted a hate crime bill passed so they could... um... I dunno, call the murderers mean names before they were executed or something.

J.

You feelin' OK, Jay Tea? Y... (Below threshold)

You feelin' OK, Jay Tea? You've blogged about the ad before: "In October 2000, the NAACP ran an its ad, featuring Byrd's daughter, denouncing him over the veto."

Helter Skelter? Maybe we s... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Helter Skelter? Maybe we should ask Obama's friend Bernadette Dohrn what those words mean to her.

From the Sept 11, 2001 NYT profile on Ayers and the Weathermen:

In 1967 he met Ms. Dohrn in Ann Arbor, Mich. She had a law degree from the University of Chicago and was a magnetic speaker who often wore thigh-high boots and miniskirts. In 1969, after the Manson family murders in Beverly Hills, Ms. Dohrn told an S.D.S. audience: ''Dig it! Manson killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they shoved a fork into a victim's stomach.''

In Chicago recently, Ms. Dohrn said of her remarks: ''It was a joke. We were mocking violence in America. Even in my most inflamed moment I never supported a racist mass murderer.''

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F02E1DE1438F932A2575AC0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2

Nice job, Jay.This... (Below threshold)
John:

Nice job, Jay.

This article sounds remarkably like a summary of Joe Klein's work at Time over the last few weeks. Sounds to me like the author is taking marching orders.

Excellent piece. Liberals a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Excellent piece. Liberals always squeal about attack ads but never address the facts in those ads.

Falze: I remember the ad. ... (Below threshold)

Falze: I remember the ad. Despicable.

Jay: You got the history right. Two did get death, and one got life only because he testified against the other two. A 'hate crimes bill' would have accomplished nothing different.

Great Fisk. Starting tonight the Globe is likely to have a thoroughly fiskable piece a day. It's like catnip for bloggers.

I heard McCain had an affai... (Below threshold)
Hilary Smith:

I heard McCain had an affair with Richard Burton.




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