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As any trial lawyer knows, victory in most cases usually rests on the credibility of the witnesses.  If a witness comes across overall as honest, a jury will forgive him some inconsistencies in his testimony. But there is a tipping point at which a witnesses' errors can become too numerous or outragious to stomach, and the jury will conclude they are a liar and dismiss everything they have to say, even if some of it was otherwise believable.

The same thing is true in politics. The Republicans are world-class experts.  They made Gore a liar by pounding home a single remote misstatement about inventing the internet.  They made Kerry a flip-flopper on the basis of one video clip about voting for the war before he voted against it. They know that if you can kill the messenger, you don't have to worry about killing the message. You can just win, baby.

The McCain campaign has reached this tipping point, but the Obama campaign has yet to connect the dots for the public in the "jury" of national opinion.

a bit more after the flip

McCain's lies about taxes, Palin's record on entitlements and the Bridge to Nowhere, Obama's patriotism, and virtually every other issue are no coincidence.  He has been allowed to act as though his errors are, at most, isolated examples of the "toughness" of the campaign.  He hasn't been called to task for what they mean as a whole.  He hasn't been saddled with the truth that he is a man who's ambitions have overwhelmed his former decency.  He has become what he claims he is against. He is a man who will say anything to get elected. His campaign is no longer credible because he is no longer credible.

Yep. Politics is a tough business, just like trials. And if you're going to win a verdict in the jury of public opinion you'd better be willing to able to take out the other side altogether, not just nitpick at it's mistakes.  

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the common thread here is John McCain.  The buck stops with him, and him alone.  His campaign has engaged in a series of half-truths and distortions so numerous and so outragious that there can be no doubt about his intentions.  His goal is to get elected, and he will say anything it takes to do it.  The "straight-talk express" is a thing of the past, as each day's new distortions so painfully remind us.  

Originally posted to jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:23 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Face to face (7+ / 0-)

    If I were BHO, I'd wait for the face-to-face.  You can say anything in political ads and statements, and people automatically think it's a lie.  And the other side will put out their statement or ad contradicting yours, and people tune out the debate, because it plays out over days or weeks, if it plays out at all.

    No, it it were me, I'd flat out to his face call McCain a liar and a dishonorable man.  Since it's not me, however, I expect BHO to do it with quite a bit more charm and grace.  Still, that's where and when it needs to be done.

    Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor. - MH @ mudflats

    by rb608 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:28:39 AM PDT

    •  It can't be a one-time thing... (20+ / 0-)

      You have to integrate this into every speech, interview and negative ad.  Surrogates should have this as their talking point for the rest of the way out.  

      Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

      by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:31:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  tipped (as there's no jar) but.... (5+ / 0-)

        Elections are not won on ad campaigns, any more than trials are won on the lawyers' arguments.  Elections are won or lost on events, just as trials are won or lost on evidence.  I agree with Obama's strategy of attacking hard in events (DNC speech, upcoming debates) but not bombarding the airwaves with constant attack ads.

        The debates, especially, will be important, as they are unscripted.  As a trial lawyer, I'm sure you know the value of getting a volatile witness on the stand, then pecking at the edges of his testimony, calmly picking away at fact after fact, until he loses his temper and destroys his own credibility.

        John McCain is that volatile, indeed his temper is legendary.  But again, this is something Obama must evoke by pecking at the edges, so that he does not come off as harassing or badgering.  Obama is smart and tough enough to do that, and if McCain bites - the election is over.

        •  I am not sure I agree with you about the ad (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mamamarti, JellyBearDemMom

          campaign issue. First we do not have MSM on our side. ABC, Fox CNN, NBC "news" will largely promote McCain's talking points (and web ads) so we need to have these issues addressed in other ways in this media. Also the Wolves ad did hurt Kerry seriously with the soccer moms, and the Daisy ad was very important in the Goldwater campaign. It was that ad as much as anything that conveyed the danger of a Goldwater victory.

        •  With so many low info. voters out there... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          campaigns are won or lost on what information gets out the most easily to the masses...and its not DailyKos, or the New York Times, or MSNBC.

          Welcome to the age of the YouTube video.

          I understand what you are saying and many many will be eagerly watching the debates and watch the speeches on cable, the networks, or CSPAN.  But I wouldn't underestimate the power of some of these smear email campaigns and YouTube clips and yes, tv ads.

          asking "Why not?" Lisa in CT on First Read and Obama website

          by JellyBearDemMom on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:51:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  See my diary yesterday ... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SSMir, mamamarti, JellyBearDemMom

            ... for my scolding of Kossacks on the use of "low information voters."  I am so sick of that phrase.

            Even if it were true - and it isn't - telling people they're stupid is not a good way to convince them to support your candidate.

            •  I'm sorry you are sick of the phrase... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johanus, Scubaval, mamamarti, NCrissieB

              and I skimmed your diary.  I will try to make more time to read it more thoroughly later.

              But one thing quickly stuck out to me.  I don't use the phrase to describe people who don't agree with me.  I am married to a Republican, we disagree all the time but I do not think of him as a low information voter.

              I use the phrase to mean people who go to the polls without seeking to become informed about who they are voting for.  Low information, would seem to describe them without calling them stupid (which they may very well not be).  I think "low information" is more af a proxy for apathy rather than stupidity or lack of intelligence.  And apathy (while it surely exists) makes democracy difficult, to say the least.

              So, I rail in support of a more informed electorate (whether they agree with me or not) and I suspect I will continue to use that term (unless you have a better one, I remain open).

              I also think voters who read DailyKos or its right wing equivalents are not the ones thought of as low information.

              I do promise to read your diary more thoroughly later though.

              asking "Why not?" Lisa in CT on First Read and Obama website

              by JellyBearDemMom on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:19:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think apathy covers the 40% who don't vote (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I really don't think most people who bother to go to the polls are apathetic.  Obviously they have formed an opinion and want to express it.  If they were apathetic - and an appalling 40% of eligible voters are - they wouldn't show up to vote at all.

                Many of them will not have considered all of the same issues or information that you or I would have considered.  But the converse is equally true: you and I probably haven't considered all of the issues that matter to them, because those issues aren't important to us, or aren't as important as the relative handful of key issues upon which we've based our decisions.

                While most in the media try to ignore it, or disparage it as "stupid," the best predictor of voting remains ... party affiliation.  That is, most people still vote their party.  Oh, they'll say they don't, that they look at each candidate and "vote the issues," but somehow, conveniently, it almost invariably leads them to their party's candidates.

                Coincidence?  I think not.

                Is voting for "the Democrat" - especially in a down-ticket race where you'd have to be Columbo to find any useful information on the candidates - a "low-information" decision?  Or is it a reasoned and often reliable conclusion that "the Democrat" is more likely to reflect and advocate your values and goals than is "the Republican?"

                Is it a "low-information" decision, which choosing among four names on the ballot for County Judge - none of whom is even allowed to speak on any issue that might be relevant - to pick "the woman," both because you think woman are underrepresented in the judiciary and also because you think they're likely to be better suited to the task?

                What if you choose by the converse, picking "the Republican" for the down-ticket race, and "the man" for judge, for precisely the same reasons?  Should you not vote at all, if you can't get more precise data on which to base your decision?

                Now, what if it's a presidential campaign, as we face now, and you're so deluged with information - some true, some false, some partly true, all of it requiring hours to ferret out if you want any real sense of each candidate - and you just go with "the Democrat," because the GOP have screwed things up so disasterously over the past eight years that you wouldn't even consider voting for a Republican?

                Is that a "low-information" decision?

                Is it any more a "low-information" decision if you don't follow the speeches, debates, ads, etc. at all, already having decided you're going to vote for "the Democrat" (for the above reasons), so why waste time gathering more information for a choice you've already made?  Time you could spend helping the local campaign you've already joined, and that you joined simply to support "the Democrat?"

                What if it's "the Republican," because you're still convinced that Democrats are going to raise taxes and give them to poor people, and while you may be poor right now, you're equally convinced that you will break up into the middle class or even wealth, once "the pieces fall into place" in your life?

                What, exactly, is the threshhold for "low-information voters?"  Is it how much research they do, or the conclusions they reach, or the hopes they have (that you do or don't share)?

                That's why the term bothers me.  There is no real meaning for it, or none that anyone has pegged down for me yet.

                •  I don't disagree with all you say and honestly... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  this may be one of those times when you just care about this issue more than me.

                  I know what I mean when I say it, and since I don't speak for anyone else, there's not much more I can say.

                  Its my view, that people who just vote for a party without taking even a small look at who the actual candidate is, are (what I term) low info. voters.  The term has meaning to me in my mind.  Clearly it may not mean the same to anyone else.

                  But I can't and won't dissect the rest of what you say (and I'm sure I agree with some and don't agree with some).  I just have to move on.

                  I can't say I won't use the term again, because I know what I mean in my head when I use it.  But I will think about it more when I have the time.  And I will try to be more careful in my use (although I understand that won't be enough for you).  I remain open to other terms for people who go to the polls and vote against Barack Obama cause they think he's a Muslim.  Would ignorant be more acceptable in that case?

                  asking "Why not?" Lisa in CT on First Read and Obama website

                  by JellyBearDemMom on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:57:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Okay, excellent example! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Yes, I'd agree that people who vote for McCain "because Obama is a Muslim" are very definitely "low-information" voters.

                    As it happens, though, only 8% of Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim.  (By contrast, 18% believe the earth is flat.  Yeah.  Really.)

                    Assuming the same apathy statistics apply to them as to other folks, that means ~3% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim - but are too lazy to vote anyway - and ~5% will actually vote for McCain because they think Obama is a Muslim.

                    Honestly ... I'm not going to sweat that 5%, because there will be "that five percent" in any population.  Someone's always going to be be in the bottom five percent of education and understanding.


        •  I'm not sure picking at the edges does the trick. (3+ / 0-)

          I agree that Obama has a real opportunity to confront McCain at the debates, but I'd actually prefer to see him do it in the ads.

          At the debates, I think Obama needs to be presidential, not petty.  The ads are easier to control and build into powerful attacks.  Their repetition is critical in painting a negative theme about the other side that will stick.

          Bush only needed 2 ads to defeat Kerry.  The windsurfing ad and the "I voted for the war before I voted against it" ad.  He played each one a million times, and Kerry was toast.

          Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

          by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:53:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I very much agree with you. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
          •  This is a horrible misreading of 2004. (6+ / 0-)

            Kerry did not lose the 2004 election because of two campaign ads, whatever the narcissistic media and insider-experts would like you to think.  He lost because:

            1.  The GOP still had a massive, mobilized, and well-oiled political machine on the ground.
            1.  The White House could and did issue "terror alerts" anytime there was bad political news.
            1.  Many voters didn't want to change presidents during wartime.
            1.  Kerry didn't seem like much of a change (both were Skull-and-Bones Yalies and Kerry had no real distinction in policy on Iraq).
            1.  Osama bin Laden released a tape supporting Kerry, on the eve of the election, too late for Kerry to distance himself and regain any formerly undecided voters.
            1.  The GOP ran a massive and effective voter-suppression operation in Ohio.

            These were real events, not mere ads.  Don't buy into the media meme that everything is about the media.  The media benefits from that meme, so they repeat it ad nauseum, but that doesn't make it fact.

            •  Yes there was that too. Also, frankly, Kerry ran (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SottoVoce, mamamarti

              an awful campaign. And he never should have appeared in the spandex to riding on an expensive bike. He made the issue of elitism key.

            •  Hmmm... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              erik in grayslake, mamamarti

              Can't say that I disagree with anything you said, except that my comments are directed to the art of public persuasion, rather than the impact of outside events.  

              The Bush ads were unrefuted and I believe gave people who were prone to fear a reason to play it "safe" and vote for the "tough guy."  They turned an actual war hero into a wimp, and a coward into John Wayne.

              I suspect that with more effective ads, Kerry could have opened a big enough lead that these last minute events would not have put Bush over the top.

              Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

              by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:15:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Surprisingly ... voters know the difference.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Voters, like jurors, know the difference between chicken shit and chicken soup.  The know how to distinguish between persuasive rhetoric (political ads, attorneys' arguments) and real evidence (those pesky facts, events, witnesses, and exhibits).

                If your core argument were true - that it's all about persuasive rhetoric, and that outside events, facts, evidence, etc. are irrelevant - then I would fight against any hint of democracy ... and against any use of jury trials ... because those issues are too important to turn on who comes up with the most clever rhetoric.

                Something to consider....

                •  Uh, you're misstating my point. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  erik in grayslake, NCrissieB

                  My core point is not that it's all about persuasive rhetoric, but that without rhetoric that effectively makes your points, you have no points, and you lose.  

                  The thing that can and should make Democratic rhetoric different from the Bush/McCain/Rove rhetoric is that the latter is grounded in misstatements and half-truths, while the former is and should always be grounded in the abundant and real facts that support Democratic positions.

                  The equation is thus:

                  Republican rhetoric + lies = persuasion, if unrefuted.

                  Democratic rhetoric + truth = persuasion, not refutable.

                  Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

                  by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:30:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Agreed 100% (0+ / 0-)

                    Yes, Democrats need to make our case - the truth - persuasively.  If we do that, we'll win, because the truth is on our side.  To quote a quip (oh so apt) from Stephen Colbert:  "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

              •  Ya. The ads were refuted, but I (a long time Dem) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                have them still seared in my memory. They were effective. I think the Repubs then (as now) simply have a better ad team (and it is not just about the issue of attack) they no how to go simultaneously to to brain and heart so they penetrate. And they are both cohesive visually and use strong sound elements.

            •  Kerry lost because (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

               he let Rove smear him--military service, Senate votes, elitist windsurfer with a rich wife, looks French, etc. and never responded except to claim he was above it all. It made him look like an effete wimp.

               Bad move.

               I doubt the Obama campaign will make this error. Obama is a poker player, and he knows a bluff when he sees one. McCain's desperation shows in every move he makes--the bald faced lies, picking an unknown and unqualified extremist as a running mate, his daily actions on the campaign trail. I look for Obama to call McCain on all of it in the debates. McCain's recent performance on both The View and in his interview with the local news anchor in Maine shows that he does not have command of the facts and doesn't do well when challenged one on one. His basic strategy these days is to claim black is white. Unfortunately for McSame, the media has finally turned and decided to report on his falsehoods.

               The debates will finish McCain. Palin will be irrelevant. Game over.

              What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

              by happy camper on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:22:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  On debates. If you look at that stupid (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                question and answer thing with the evangelical minister, McCain came off much better than Obama (I hate to admit). He knows how to put out there punch lines. He knows how to convey his sense of "I'm an everyman" even though he is clearly not.

                At the point when Obama was way up, we were using the 7 houses and the shoes to counter this. But there has not been any of that recently.

                •  I agree. Obama needs to punch up his points. (0+ / 0-)

                  Americans simply do not have the attention span to follow his cogent but detailed analysis.  The most successful presidential candidates reduce their points to about 3 words or less.

                  Republicans:  Dems raise taxes
                  Regan: Welfare "Queen"
                  Bush: "Compassionate conservative"
                  Bill Clinton: Change agent, comeback kid.

                  Then they bring them back a million times.  The 7 houses should be restated a MILLION TIMES.

                  Dems have to understand that, while we've been breathing this stuff for over a year, the low-information "swing" voters are just waking up.  Lay it on a million times.

                  Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

                  by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:40:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  But look at the venue. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Vicky, Scubaval

                   I think Obama did pretty good considering he was basically on Republican turf. If People for the American Way held one of these things, how do you think McCain would do? Judging from his performance on The View, where the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar ripped the old man a new one, I think he'd be roadkill.

                   McCain is like Bush. Put him in a safe situation with a sympathetic audience and he's great. Actually defending his positions? Not so great.

                  What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                  by happy camper on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:42:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  the problem with debates (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  is that they aren't debates anymore. the candidates prepare and rehearse mini-speeches on the topics raised by the questions, and then they deliver those mini-speeches regardless of the relevance to the gist of the question. every word uttered by the candidates (and I am thinking particularly about the GOP) is controlled and "on message". so i would not expect much in the way of clarity from the debates.

                  obama also needs to work on the "shorty and punchy" thing. his responses can be long and meandering. not kerry-esque, but uncomfortably close.

                  -7.75,-7.54; Sarah Palin: Bush with lipstick and hoop earrings. McCain: an equal opportunist who will do whatever it takes to steal this election.

                  by erik in grayslake on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:47:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Agree the debates (0+ / 0-)

                     could be a lot more like, well, debates. Much depends on the moderator. Will relevant follow ups be asked? Maybe. Will the candidates be allowed leeway to actually address each other's points? Probably not, but we can hope. McCain has shown that he can be pushed off his talking points. The guy had serious trouble with the ladies on the View, and with his interview in Maine. Neither of these events should have been anything more than an easy chat. McCain's problem is, once his foot is in his mouth he has a hard time getting it out. He might even melt down on national TV. Wouldn't that be a sight to see?


                    What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                    by happy camper on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:57:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  I think it should be multi-pronged. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vicky, rb608, Robert Davies, mamamarti

      ads, face-to-face, surrogates, op eds. My larger question is timing. I don't want this to be one of those things that if we push on this now it will be "old" by election time.

  •  One Trial Lawyer To Another (8+ / 0-)

    We have a unique ability to influence people.  We know how to organize and mobilize.  We have put maximum effort in electing Barak Obama.  He is so good for the country on so many levels.

    Down here in Florida, we are registering voters, signing up as poll watchers, manning phone banks, canvassing, arranging transportation to polling places for the elderly and those with no cars, donating until it hurts, and doing everything we can.

    This is an extremely important election.

    •  What is happening in Florida in terms of the (3+ / 0-)

      swing to McCain? Do you have any insights?

      •  It is overblown, in fact... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vicky, njr, richmonds, Scubaval, mamamarti

        ....the internal numbers actually show Obama has a slim lead.  There has been an overwhelming number of new Democrats registered in Florida (over 100,000) and the great majority of them do not have land line phones (i.e. their students, poor people, etc.).  Those people are not showing up on the MSM's polling.  Also, the ground game here is clearly being won by Obama.  He has more people in more places that are better organized.

        In the Florida Panhandle is where McCain gets some traction.  Palin has "energised" the syncophantic GOP followers there. However, in Central and Southern Florida, where most of the people live, Obama is very popular.

        I have been working on Presidential Campaingns for the Democrats since 1978.  I feel cautiously optimistic.  

        One looming problem: once again the Governor and Secretary of State are Republicans.

  •  So...wouldn't he also lie in the White House? (9+ / 0-)

    THIS is where the rubber hits the road:  his lack of concern about lies in his own campaign portend a lack of concern for lies if he's President.  

    The jury would have lots to chew on with this deduction!

  •  I agree, although.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vicky, BachFan, Dauphin, mamamarti

    As a fellow attorney, I'm sure you know that "going for the jugular" is a risky strategy, and that it can easily backfire if the jury (mis)perceives it as petty meanness.

    The objective in a trial isn't to destroy the opponent.  It's to win the case.

  •  And we have been through this before... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Davies, richmonds, mamamarti

    it all goes back to McCain for this election cycle, but if you further connect the dots, you will find Bush/Cheney.

    Just what war will we be deceived into entering this time...??

    In eight years, my son will be 14 years old.  What mother doesn't think in terms like that?

    asking "Why not?" Lisa in CT on First Read and Obama website

    by JellyBearDemMom on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:34:29 AM PDT

  •  Your honor... (6+ / 0-)

    I'd like to enter into evidence exhibit A:

    Now, the jury can plainly see that our opponent's claim to be earmark reformers is far from the truth.  The average Alaskan gets close to 20 times the amount of federal earmark money as does a guy or gal in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, or Florida.

    McCain/Palin dishonest?  Your honor, I rest my case.

    "Earmarks, schmearmarks, this election isn't about issues..."

    by Schmearmarks on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:44:19 AM PDT

  •  I've been an appellate lawyer for 30 years... (8+ / 0-)

    I like the "lie" theme.  But people will also react to the issues.  Let's don't forget that.  But we can meld the "lie" theme with the issues:

    - McCain tells you that I'm going to raise your taxes.  That's a lie.  My tax plan gives a larger tax break to the middle class than McCain's.

    - McCain tells you that I want "socialized medicine."  That's a lie.  Under my plan you will keep your present insurance; we'll just provide coverage to those who don't have it already.  Also, McCain wants to tax your current health premiums and leave you with a $5000 tax break that won't pay for the average family $12000 premium.


    You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody. - My Dad.

    by briefer on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:52:10 AM PDT

    •  I like that approach (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's concrete and direct.

      And a big thank-you to all the legal minds posting here. Your contributions helps all of us.

      "Statistics are people with the tears washed away." Sociologist Ruth Sidel

      by Vicky on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 07:28:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's a great formula for making both points. (8+ / 0-)

    I love the combo of McCain/Lie/Here's the Truth repeated over and over again.  

    At trial schools we always teach lawyers to use these kind of triads because they always seem to pack a powerful rhetorical punch.  

    Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

    by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:03:20 AM PDT

    •  How about the issue of timing. There is in a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a criminal case a set time frame. Here it is different.

      •  The beauty here is that every day... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        McCain is giving us new material to work with.  The extended time frame presents opportunities.

        With this framework, each of McCains misstatements or attacks becomes ammo for the general theme that we are selling.  They become an asset rather than a liability.

        Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

        by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:43:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  McCain/Lie/Here's the Truth (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vicky, SSMir, Schmearmarks

      THANK YOU! That is a great formula for a series of hard-hitting ads.

      It fits perfectly with George Lakoff's great essay on the subject of framing what's left of this election (as something other than American Idol):

      Prof. Lakoff's diary was lost in the diary blizzard, and it deserved a lot more air time than it got here. I wish it could be re-posted in prime time - but mostly I wish the Obama campaign would adopt Prof. Lakoff as their framing consultant for the rest of the campaign.

  •  The problem is, how to go about it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vicky, mamamarti, Dana99

    First, this is politics, not a courtroom. A certain amount of dishonesty just goes with the territory. Second, although it's hard to accept, there is actually some disagreement about whether some of the lies are actually lies. As you well know, there are various kinds of speech acts that resemble lies: exaggerations, slips of the tongue, misleading but literally true statements, phrasing things as a question or putting in hedge words like "perhaps" "it appears that". None of these things are considered to be as serious as an actual lie.

    What I think is that we need to find a way to make the McCain dishonesty, whatever it is, real to voters.

    This actually goes back to the "McSame" theme. The entire world has seen the results of dishonesty by President Bush. Even in flag-wavin', gun-totin' America, most people accept that the Irak war was a mistake, and most people understand that they and congress were told falsehoods to garner their support for it. AND, as Krugman reminded us a couple of days ago, there was at least one flat-out lie during the 2000 and 2004 Bush campaigns, as well as very misleading and stupid campaign tricks both times ("Gore claims he invented the Internet", swiftboats,...). We should have known how dishonest President Bush would be based on how dishonest his campaign was, so let's take a look at this campaign in that light. Dishonest George = dishonest John.

    I think that if we can make the point that dishonest, deceptive campaigning = dishonest, deceptive presidency = Irak war, Katrinia, sex-love-and-bribes in the Dept. of the Interior, etc., then that could make it real to voters.

    One "hook" that keeps rolling through my mind when I think about all this is the famous Bushism "fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again". Somehow that has to be part of the mix.

    Greg Shenaut

    •  I guess I would then ask/counter: how do we (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      get this issue of outright lieing to stick to McCain not just Bush. The McCain campaign seems to effectively be reinserting the "I am different. I am a maverick" meme. Which of the lies of McCain (now and in his past record) do you think are most salient to address? This is where I begin to think that turning back to the issues: the lousy economy, the outsourcing of jobs, the lack of healthcare may be key. I also think we need to find a way to address the suburban women specifically - maybe through education and war  - what Obama proposes on college education and McCain's push for 100 more years of war in Iraq. (No suburban (rural or urban) Mom wants her kids to face that.

    •  The ad would start this way... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...with some of the best current quotes from MSM denouncing the lies and - then - footage of Bush with with "weapons of mass destruction" assertions, etc.  Followed up with more "lies" quotes from MSM about Bush.

      Then the more of the same theme...

      Powerful possibilities, I think.  

    •  Ahhh... That fool me once line always cracks me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erik in grayslake, Vicky, mamamarti


      I agree with you that there is typically some grain of truth in each of both Bush and McCain's lies, which makes them squirly to pin down.  

      But that's really the essence of my diary.  You have to make the case that, while any individual exageration or misstatement might be accidental, when you look at the whole pattern, there's no accident at all.  There's a concious attempt to deceive and mislead our nation.

      Just like Bush, as you point out so well.

      Democrats Will Win if We Are The Party of the People see: Progressive Populism

      by jsmckay on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:22:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Bush "fool me once" embarrassment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is a perfect lead-in to a series of four-more-years-of-lies ads. JedReport, are you listening?

      The hardest thing about creating a series like that is trying to limit it to a manageable number of ads.

  •  Dishonest/Uninformed attacks (0+ / 0-)

    ...against McCain-Palin have immunized them against legitimate attacks.

    The first few days of breathless ranting and raving against Palin is going to make it difficult for real attacks to carry weight with casual observers ("the jury").

    Precious credibility has been lost. As trial lawyers know - the case always hinges on credibility.

    Continuing to call McCain-Palin "lying liars" is not going to be helpful since many of the early attacks against Palin have been so irrational. Calling them liars seems like just more of the same.

    I think the Obama campaign and its supporters need to reset and reestablish credibility with the public.

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