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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

It's All About Character

Category: Sarah Palin
Posted: 10/16/08 11:31

by Paul Bartlett

John McCain, Sarah Palin and the GOP spin machine want to make Barack Obama's character a distractive issue of the 2008 presidential election. We saw it again last night: William Ayres, William Ayres, William Ayres -- classic guilt by association.

A person's character can be judged in many ways, and while Barack Obama is far too much of a gentleman to bring it up, I will. Character can and should also be measured by a person's marital fidelity. It's no secret -- McCain openly writes and talks about it -- he is a cheater. He cheated on his wife Carol with his current wife Cindy. This tells us all we need to know about John McCain's character.

I would ordinarily agree that personal issues are off the table. But when a candidate throws mud, as McCain and Palin have done, he (or she) should expect to get soiled.

Norm "I Feel Your Pain" Coleman

Category: Norm Coleman
Posted: 10/16/08 04:46, Edited: 10/16/08 04:48

by Dave Mindeman

The US Senate race has another battle going. It's Norm Coleman, good guy vs. Norm Coleman surrogates.

Transcript from latest Coleman ad:

Norm Coleman: ?They say, negative ads work. Maybe they do, but I?ve taken mine off the air. People are scared, jobs, homes, savings, all at risk. But we can get through this, with hope instead of anger, working together instead of tearing each other apart. That?s how we changed St. Paul, rebuilt the bridge, kept the Ford plant open. And we can do it again. I?m Norm Coleman. I can?t control every ad out there, but I?m proud to approve this one.?

When Norm gets in trouble, the forehead gets furrowed (although maybe botox has reduced the lines somewhat) and the voice gets very empathetic. But he has a few problems with his "all positive, all the time" methodology.

The NRSC and the Chamber of Commerce ads are not going to stop. They can give Norm cover by saying they are completely and legally separate from the Coleman campaign. True. But the average ad watcher isn't paying much attention to all the disclaimers and the end result is -- Norm says one thing, they see something else.

And the empathetic words about "working together instead of tearing each other apart" are nice and fuzzy, but come AFTER a long and expensive negative campaign that ends only because it didn't work.

It's a reminder of how Norm's first Senate campaign ended after the tragic death of Paul Wellstone. Norm went into a similar empathy (I feel your loss) mode that was contrasted by his surrogates hostile and vicious critique of the Wellstone memorial service.

Norm always wants to have it both ways.

You could call it good cop vs bad cop; but I think a better description is.....

Cop Impersonator vs. Bad Cop.

Extreme Right Vitriol Has No Boundaries

Category: Society
Posted: 10/14/08 18:46

by Dave Mindeman

The vitriol, anger, and animosity that has been front and center at Republican campaign rallies has been, to say the least, disturbing.

Last week in mild mannered Lakeville the rabble rousers exhorted McCain to go after Obama in a big way. And we all know about the Shakopee lady who can't trust Obama for reasons that are still being debated.

Sarah Pallin seems to be the best at rousing the baser instincts of the Republican base. Just mentioning the name of Barack Obama invites crowd reactions that range from insulting to abhorrent.

News Cut outlines yet another incident where a rally enthusiast uttered the "kill him" phrase in response to a speech from Chris Hacket who was introducing Sarah Pallin.

Shouldn't the Secret Service get involved with this?

But the vitriol isn't just aimed at Obama or Democrats in general. Now, it even applies to conservative pundits who say enough is enough.

Kathleen Parker, the conservative columnist who had the audacity to question Sarah Pallin's qualifications was besieged with hate e-mails that astounded her -- she even mentioned it on a guest appearance on the Stephen Colbert show a few days ago.

In addition, the conservative columnist Christopher Buckley (son of William Buckley, Jr) resigned from the National Review because of the reactions to a column he wrote stating he had decided to vote for Barack Obama.

He relates his experience after the column this way:

Since my Obama endorsement, Kathleen [Parker] and I have become BFFs and now trade incoming hate-mails. No one has yet suggested my dear old Mum should have aborted me, but it?s pretty darned angry out there in Right Wing Land. One editor at National Review?a friend of 30 years?emailed me that he thought my opinions ?cretinous.? One thoughtful correspondent, who feels that I have ?betrayed??the b-word has been much used in all this?my father and the conservative movement generally, said he plans to devote the rest of his life to getting people to cancel their subscriptions to National Review.

Why so much hate?

The remainder of this campaign will most certainly get worse. And, if that is the case, then one has to wonder how can the winning candidate govern in these troubling times?

"Kill him" is not a campaign slogan, it is sick.


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