The Failure of the Socialist Smear

The smear tactics of the Republicans are not only failing to work this year, but are often backfiring against them. It is one thing for editorial comment, such as that I quoted in the previous post, to criticize the Republicans for such tactics. It is a far more serious thing for them when one of the more popular members of their own party, Colin Powell, criticizes the party on the same grounds, and when this becomes part of the narrative from the mainstream media.

I’ve frequently cited charges of socialism as one of the more absurd charges regularly used by right wingers. Members of the mainstream media are increasingly saying the same. Cokie Roberts mentioned that endorsements from Colin Powell to Warren Buffett discredit the charges of socialism in her weekly analysis  on NPR’s Morning Edition. First Read writes:

Obama as Karl Marx? Has the McCain campaign made a fundamental mistake in attack politics — don’t charge your opponent with something that doesn’t seem to pass the smell test beyond your base? This “socialist” charge is going to be hard for many middle-of-the-road voters to believe, particularly after Powell endorsed his candidacy. Saying Obama’s a “liberal,” well there are facts to back that up. But the socialist charge feels like an over-reach, and it may be falling on deaf ears. Of course, with the government getting so involved with our financial markets right now and McCain wanting to use federal money to buy up bad mortgages, it’s hard for McCain to back up his socialist charge since he wants a similar amount of government intervention. This has been a problem with many of McCain’s attacks on Obama — they over-reach. The “terrorist” stuff was not believable to a majority of voters; “questionable judgment” would have been an easier sell. Pushing negatives is a subtle business. Sledgehammers rarely work on the presidential level; it’s something to be saved for down-ballot races.

Saying that McCain’s attacks on Obama “over-reach” is an euphemism for saying they are lies.

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