Tuesday, June 17, 2008

McCain's Playbook: Hate, Fear and Caveman Politics

Matt Taibbi on McCain and he's not happy. A 'recommended read'.

[...] The reality is that the once independent-thinking McCain has by now completely remade himself into a prototypical, dumbed-down Republican Party stooge - one who plans to rely on the same GOP strategy that has been winning elections ever since Pat Buchanan and Dick Nixon cooked up a plan for cleaving the South back in 1968. Rather than serving up the "straight talk" he promises, McCain is enthusiastically jumping aboard with every low-rent, fearmongering, cock-sucking presidential aspirant who's ever traveled the Lee Atwater/William Safire highway.

Like Hillary Clinton, an erstwhile vilified liberal who remade herself as a flag-waving, Sixties-bashing champion of "hardworking Americans, white Americans" once the remarkable candidacy of Barack Obama forced her off her old turf, the one-time "insurgent" McCain has finally decided to sail with the wind at his back by going dumb and courting the same talk-radio demographic that used to despise him. What enables him to do so is a key insight: that while George W. Bush may be unpopular as an individual, fear and hatred in this country have never gone out of style.

Never mind that Iraq isn't exactly Vietnam, or that Barack Obama isn't Jane Fonda - what matters is that the Republicans nominated a wounded old soldier who now gets to spend the next five months trying to exorcise his personal demons, and this serendipitous circumstance fits nicely with the party's national strategy, despite the fact that pinning these old hurts on the likes of Obama makes no sense at all. Still, it's not hard to hear, in McCain's quasi-coherent rants, his bitterness at being abandoned to years of savage tortures while millions of little Hillarys and Bills and Obamas-in-training were getting high and balling each other during the Country Joe and the Fish set at Woodstock, instead of standing up and saluting the "winnable" war effort that got McCain sent to Vietnam in the first place.

Then as now, the crime of the Obama class in the eyes of a wronged veteran like McCain wasn't that they caused these wartime sufferings; it was that they didn't cheer them as righteous and necessary, and unhesitatingly support the sending of more soldiers to the same fate. In the present day, it is George Bush who got us into this new Vietnam-like mess and revived the specter of tortured prisoners, but McCain's anger isn't focused in that direction. He's not mad that it's happening again, not looking to blame the people who actually started the fire. Instead he seems re-energized by the fact that we are all back in that same hell, back to living the PTSD-inducing nightmare that McCain himself never got to leave - and if it takes dumbing down his act and playing to the Rush and Hannity crowd to give his story a happy ending this time around, he won't hesitate. So if you thought Hillary was bad, buckle your seat belts: The really dumb stuff is just beginning.

I certainly hope that the dumb fuck Americans Matt quotes in the article are in the minority. Yeah, there are a lot of them, but I pray there aren't enough this time.

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