I spun through the Demo blogs while weathering the storm last Saturday, and I kept being reminded of a scene from the James Bond movie Goldeneye, where brit agent turned bad guy Alex Trevylan says to James Bond, who has yet again escaped death:
Why can’t you just be a good boy and die?
By the way, as a historical footnote Trevylan goes bad because of his parents death as Lienz Cossacks …a small and terrible post WW2 episode I was not aware of until I saw the movie.
I regularly felt this same type of reaction by demo bloggers as I read various reactions to the Sarah Palin nomination. It is as if the dead certain election of Senator Obama as POTUS is not so dead certain anymore, and it is bothering them no end.
The crankiness comes out in different ways…
First, of course, is the bull rush by the media to take down Governor Palin. Howard Kurtz looks at the troubling media blitzkrieg as she was “mauled, minimized and manhandled by an openly skeptical media establishment.”
Kurtz notes that the willingness of the media to dive into tabloid style journalism did not play quite like they thought it would:
The media’s tattered reputation has not fared as well, not after the frenzy over Palin’s mothering skills, her baby and her pregnant teenage daughter. The uproar handed John McCain’s team an opening to declare war on the press,
The ultimate result is that the McCain campaign can keep her under wraps far more than they could otherwise-all they have to do is point to the waves of negative to hostile press.
As far as the family angle goes, Kurtz notes:
When McCain introduced Palin as his running mate, and again at the convention here, she began by showcasing her five children. She can hardly turn around and argue, then, that her family ought to be totally off-limits. But it doesn’t follow that Bristol Palin should be turned into the next Jamie Lynn Spears, to name one teenage mother.
And yet the Palin family has become fodder for celebrity magazines. “Babies, Lies & Scandal,” blares the cover of Us Weekly. “The Real Truth About Her Baby Son Trig,” says OK! magazine. Who cares whether the former beauty queen is qualified to be veep as long as she provides enough soap opera material?
The media mania has had other results. The general hyperbole for Obama and against Palin led MSNBC to yankChris Matthews and Keith Olbermann as anchors due to complaints of bias by both from people within and from outside the organization.
Meanwhile, those supporting Obama have taken issue with Palin’s comments on community organizers, seizing on the motto “Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor”. Some have even created bumper stickers.
This bit of demagougery is just a hoot. Will undecided voters really respond postively to the deification of Barack Obama? Then there is the just the ridiculous nature of out of focus historical analogies. It is reminiscent of the 1966 California Gubernatorial campaign, when incumbent Pat Brown, facing a tougher than expected challenge from actor Ronald Reagan, tried this tactic himself:
In an appearance before elementary school students (also filmed for a commercial), Governor Brown told two black girls, “You know I’m running against an actor. Remember -this: You know who shot Abraham Lincoln, don’t you?” The students began to laugh. “An actor shot Lincoln,” Brown said.
We know how well that worked out for Governor Brown…
Then there is the whole reverse sexism thing. As this cartoon aludes:
Consider the comment of Sally Quinn, long time journalist and multi-tasking mom: “Will she put her country first, or will she put her family first?”
Funny, I have read the same thing was said about JFK in regards to his Catholicism…and we know how that turned out.
The same folks who have been arguing for years that women can do anything are now upset that the GOP stole a march on the Democrats. At a cookout on Labor Day weekend I chatted with a neighbor who is a devoted Obama supporter who refused to acknowledge that Governor Palin brought anything to the ticket except her…uh…well, I will omit the precise language, but I think you get the picture. When I suggested that she united the GOP base and brought vigor to the ticket, plus someone who would help put the experience issue in focus, the response was a vigorous “no”…repeat observation above.
The Palin selection seems to have developed some of the features of the Congressman Miller selection by Barry Goldwater, who selected Miller specifically because Miller could get under LBJ’s skin. Palin seems to have that same ability.
Then there is all the little miscelaneous efforts to belittle…NLS now refers to the ticket as McCain/MILF. RK diarists have come up with all sorts of nicknames, including my favorite-“Politician Barbie”, and in an effort to show the horrible McCain temper folks have to go back to 1992 to find a video that backs up their claim.
While I would want a president who has a fire burning, I can understand the need to be diplomatic. But I would think that if the temper is such a huge thing, and so out of control, the video proof-along with the surrounding circumstances-of a more recent event would be readily available.
The reality is that the Palin nomination is putting the Democrats off their game, which can only help the GOP. But the other reality is that the long term contours of this election still favor the Democrats. While the GOP is surging on the Palin nomination and the post RNC bounce, the long term factors-economy not doing well across the board, mortgage balloon issues, continuing dissatisfaction with foreign troop commitments, gasoline prices-have to cut in the Democrats favor. The smart money has to be on Obama, as these factors have been out there for a while and have not been cured by the GOP.
Of course, perhaps at bottom line that is the real thing that is ticking off the Demos. The long time contours noted above have been in place for a very long time. So long, in fact, one really has to wonder how is it that this race is still competitive?
Maybe that question, and not Governor Palin, is really what has Democrats so cranky these days.