Obama Prepared For McCain To Get Dirty

With McCain on the wrong side of the issues and trailing badly in the polls, he is prepared to go even more negative in the hopes of pulling out a victory in November. This will include raising Obama’s ties to Ayers and Rezko even though these smears have previously been debunked.

Having learned from seeing such attacks used against John Kerry, Obama is responding by launching a preemptive attack with this ad:

“Three quarters of a million jobs lost this year. Our financial system in turmoil. And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy. No wonder his campaign wants to change the subject.

“Turn the page on the financial crisis by launching dishonorable, dishonest ‘assaults’ against Barack Obama. Struggling families can’t turn the page on this economy, and we can’t afford another president who is this out of touch.”

In addition to the ad, Obama has given surrogates an ok to go after McCain for his association to Charles Keating and involvement in the Keating 5 Scandal. Marc Ambinder notes other associations which might be harmful to McCain:

A senior Democrat who has had contact with Obama’s high command points to Democratic strategist Paul Begala’s comments on this morning’s Meet the Press.

Begala noted that McCain once “sat on the board of a very right wing organization,” the U.S. Council for World Freedom, led by a retired Army Maj. General named John Singlaub. The Anti-Defamation League allegedly called the CWF’s parent organization a gathering place for racists and anti-Semites.

Said Begala: “Now, that’s not John McCain. I don’t think he is that. But, but, you know, the problem is that a lot of people know John McCain’s record better than Governor Palin, and he does not want to play guilt by association or this thing could blow up in his face.”

Other potential negative associations for McCain are his long-time South Carolina consultant, Richard Quinn,  a publisher of a Southern heritage magazine, and John Hagee, a pastor whose endorsement McCain solicited and later rejected.

Obama is also counterattacking on the stump:

Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday charged that Sen. John McCain’s campaign is launching “Swift boat-style attacks” on him instead of addressing the country’s problems.

“Sen. McCain and his operatives are gambling that they can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance. They’d rather try to tear our campaign down than lift this country up,” Obama said at an event in Asheville, North Carolina.

“That’s what you do when you’re out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time,” he said.

The comments come a day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, claimed that Obama associated “with terrorists who targeted our own country.”

In return the Republicans are searching out yet more associations to use to smear Obama. Nate Silver compares this strategy to that of a football team which must resort to desperate measures despite the fact that odds are against them working:

It is a sad denouement for what was one to be a high-minded campaign focused around themes of honor and reform (themes that were resuscitated briefly during the Republican Convention), possibly accompanied by McCain’s taking a one-term pledge. It is also, however, Mr. McCain’s strategists would seem to have concluded, their only remaining hope.

I am not here to dispute that this is McCain’s best strategy — in the same way that an onside kick is a team’s best strategy when it trails late in the game with no timeouts left. But like the onside kick, it is fairly unlikely to work.

The problem for McCain is that resorting to this type of attack further damages the impression that McCain is different from other Republicans. Just as dirty attacks from Hillary Clinton backfired and helped Obama win the nomination, such dirty attacks from McCain will further demonstrate to voters that change is needed in politics, leading more independents to back Obama. Even Hillary Clinton was careful about using attacks based upon Rezko and Ayers, leaving much of this to the media. If less offensive attacks by Clinton backfired against her, there is a far greater chance that these attacks will harm McCain more than they will harm Obama.

Having announced to the media that this is his strategy will make it even more likely to succeed, and raises further questions as to the competence of McCain’s campaign. In recent years Republicans have been incompetent at governing but highly skilled at launching Swift Boat attacks. Currently McCain appears to be incompetent at both matters of public policy as well as at launching Republican smears despite turning to Karl Rove staffers.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    Raul says:

    Desperation is ugly and Mc Grumpy and Sarah the parrot have nothing else but to pander to their base of lesser educated crackers. America has seen this movie when we elected George W. Bush twice and we know how that has ended up. Vote Hope Not Fear America. I have personally met Barack Obama five times and he is the real deal He has superior intellect and integrity two strengths we cannot find in the current Republican clowns. We must restore Americas standing in the world and our economy. Iraq costs us 10 billion a month plus the loves of our troops and there is no such thing as Victory in the war we were lied into. General Petraeus who Mc Cain loves to mention said there is no such thing as victory Mr. Mc Same. The battleground states are now reflecting the fact that America is too smart to buy the same fears that Rove is trying to peddle to us again. Obama will win in a landslide and that my friends is a great thing for our country. OBAMANOS! YES WE CAN! SI SE PUEDE! Iam a decorated veteran who has a son in Iraq and I approve this message!

  2. 2
    Mooseburger says:

    Someone needs to ask Todd Palin why he hates America! He was a member of the Alaska Separatists Group that continually slams and has no use for America, and Sarah did a video address to them at their annual convention just this year! What kind of risky radical whackos has John McCain’s judgement brought into our political process? What kind of judgement is that?

  3. 3
    Progressive Observer says:

    McCain’s inner circle assumed they could throw as much waste at the wall as they wanted to in the last month and hope that something stuck and they wouldn’t get hit back.  Really?  Unfortunately for them there is a big difference between a vague association with someone who did something when you were in grade school, the accusation against Mr. Obama, and using your power to try to cover up for a close family friend who is also a thief that helped steal billions from the American people – what John McCain did.  McCain invited the American people into this haunted house now he has to live in it.
    Sarah Palin just believes that dinosaurs co-existed with humans, that Alaska will be a last refuge of humanity when the world ends, that war with Russia is perhaps a good idea, and that her pastor got her the job as governor by fighting witchcraft on her behalf.  I don’t think anyone will mind her having the nuclear codes do you?

  4. 4
    Aki says:

    Republican Right is desperate, they know they are about to be defeated by an Obama landslide. Expect lots of dirty tricks, sideshows and distractions from redneck KKK associated Republican architect Karl Rove. Thing is though this time nobody is going to buy it and the world is watching very closely. This time Rove, Cheney etc if you pervert justice your going to get caught and tried for treason. Believe it. You cant be throwing around dirty tricks and smears when you have so much dirt on your own collar. Vote for Change Vote Intelligence Over Ignorance. A new America is born.

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