The Politics of Arugula

One of the disappointing aspects of this campaign has been that, instead of the high minded debate on policy we had hoped for, John McCain has decided to engage in a dirty Rove/Clinton style campaign based upon distorting Obama’s positions, campaigning on irrelevant points, and resorting to the race card. The Clinton campaign resorted to attacks on Obama’s elementary school papers, claims that he is not a professor of Constitutional law, and attacks following Obama’s mention of Ronald Reagan in a historically accurate context. McCain is doing no better as his attacks are based upon comparisons to Paris Hilton and eating arugula.

Such dirty attacks have  become common among Republicans as the McCain campaign looks like just another Bush campaign. Even the senior Bush, considered superior to his son, campaigned by going through flag factories and attacking “card carrying members of the ACLU.”

Much of the problem stems from the fact that Republicans no longer stand for anything of consequence. They primarily use conservative economic theory to justify tax cuts with claims that they will pay for themselves and their corporate welfare programs conflict with their free market rhetoric. Andrew Sullivan comments on why the McCain campaign has resorted to a campaign based on arugula:

They really played the arugula card? For all McCain’s personal qualities, we’re learning that the machine behind the GOP simply re-makes the campaign in its own Coulterite image. Instead of actually fighting on the core questions – how do we get out of Iraq with the least damage? how do we get past carbon-based energy? how do we tackle al Qaeda’s new base in Pakistan and within the nuclear-armed Pakistani government? how will we reduce the massive debt bequeathed us by the Bush-Rove GOP? how do we restore the Geneva Conventions? – we are debating people’s cultural insecurities and food choices.

The slow collapse of conservatism as a coherent governing philosophy is not unrelated to this. If you never want to fight campaigns on policy, why bother crafting any?

Be Sociable, Share!

No Comments

1 Trackbacks

Leave a comment