Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Christmas in America!

I wrote a little while ago that it was the Democrats election to lose. In their excessive vitriol toward Sarah Palin, they managed to rally disaffected independents and discontented Republicans to her cause. These attacks against her personal life - especially those directed at her disabled new son and her pregnant daughter - did nothing but sell her to the electorate. So it wasn't all that unexpected when the official Democratic strategy switched away from her personal life and focused attention on her as a politician.

This new strategy was immediately effective. Palin's track record as a politician is light, though not as light as it would seem, but light nonetheless. Obama and the Dems scored easy hits against her rising star by simply bringing up her recent mayorship of the tiny Alaskan town of Wasilla. But these attacks were nothing compared to the damage Palin did to herself in her Charlie Gibson interview, which highlighted her greeness better than any Democratic attack ad. The Democrats were simply sitting back and letting Palin (and McCain's lousy campaign strategists) do the dirty work themselves.

But wouldn't you know it, the Democrats and their supporters are forgetful. Even with Palin's star fading as fast as it rose and with Obama's call for a end to the rumour-making, they just couldn't help themselves. Enter Charles Rangel, a popular Democrat out of New York, who had the foresight to call Palin a 'disabled politician'. That might be an accurate assessment from his point of view, but his choice of words couldn't have been worse. Saturday Night Live jumps in too, showing a skit that insinuated Palin's husband indulged himself in an incestuous relationship. And on top of all of this, you have several supermarket tabloids, greeting shoppers every day with more ludicrous rumours about Palin's personal life.

And so we start the week with the GOP still in close contention and the final results of the election anyone's best guess. Well done, guys.


Stuart A. Thompson said...

I admire your Republicanism and your support for Palin. It gives me great perspective and insight. However I have to question some of your claims...

First: "they ["the Democrats"] managed to rally disaffected independents and discontented Republicans to her cause"

This is at best an inference about Palin's support polls, which were admittedly strong at the onset. But you cannot conclude that initial support figures led independents and leaning Republicans to join the cause. It has been concluded from all sources I can find that Palin has succeeded incredibly in one area: securing the Republican core. This is of course a benefit for McCain, so don't dismiss it. But any Palin support, even if middle-roaders were among them, is evaporating.

Second, I have been seeing this connection everywhere: that "the Democrats" -- and by implication Obama/Biden -- were responsible for Palin-bashing, especially at the onset. In fact, the culprit was almost entirely the Daily Kos, and then other "liberal media" that repeated Kosisms re: Palin. The Obama-Biden official position at the onset was actually complimentary ("She is a skillful politician") when it could have factually negative. This is something the GOP convention repeated, and so did the McCain attack ad (the one with wolves in it) that said, by implication, that Obama was out to "destroy her." In fact, in this ad, it attributed "lies" to Obama (through our friend implication) when they were entirely sourced to e-mails and blog posts (see: You specifically say that "the official Democratic strategy switched away from her personal life" when Obama repeatedly claimed that Palin's personal life was "off limits."

Then: "highlighted her greeness better than any Democratic attack ad"
What ads attacked Palin's greeness? but yes the Charlie interview could have been better.

You're right about the "disabled politician" gaffe, but I haven't heard about this until now.

Colm said...

Hi Stuart!

1) I'm discussing her initial appeal to the Republican core, and then her added appeal to white female voters, thanks to the vicious attacks against her family, who prior to her nomination usually polled toward Obama and the Democratic party. This has been evaporating, as I mentioned later in the post, thanks to Palin's own actions (or lack thereof).

2) You're right, I stretched that association pretty thin. I still think though that Obama wouldn't have taken the high road if the Kos attacks had found a more receptive audience in the voting public. But that's not a specific dig against Obama - any politician would do the same.

3) Heck, I'm not even aware of a Democratic attack ad that targeted Palin's inexperience. If one exists, it's completely superflous; Palin is earning the mantle "the Unready" all on her own.