Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin and McCain

If sheer consumption of information is the benchmark, I have to be one of the world's foremost experts on the negative aspects of the McCain/Palin phenomenon. As previously noted, I'm following it so closely at least in part because I have this spark of an idea (recurring daydream, maybe) that the whole thing will very shortly meet a fiery doom in a conflagration of epic proportions.

Their campaign, I mean. Sure, it is rumbling along, still, with some ominous amount of momentum, but all the signs are there that it is coming apart at the seems. The media -- having for so long been so deferential to McCain -- is now nearing open warfare. Whatever qualms they might have had up til now in terms of not pursuing certain angles, airing certain narratives and facts, which might appear damaging to McCain... that's all gone now.

The campaign is keeping Palin on the shortest of leashes. According to the story:

Palin has yet to say so much as hello to the press corps [on her campaign plane].

The campaign is doing its best to keep Palin well away from inquisitive reporters, going so far as to book the press corps into a separate hotel from the candidate.

John McCain has not held a press conference in over 4 weeks. He is ducking difficult questioning. He went on The View for what I'm sure he considered a bit of puffery, and ended up getting mauled. One of his spokesmen recently told Politico: "We’re running a campaign to win. And we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it."

The man openly disregards them and scoffs at them, both through his surrogates and through his his own words and deeds. And if there is one thing you can't do to the media -- if you are counting on their support -- it is disregard them. It strikes at their vanity, and impels them to prove their importance. And you don't want that. Especially when your campaign (and indeed the most popular of your ticket's two candidates) is built on a teetering mound of easily-disproven lies.

After all, it doesn't take much effort -- in fact, it is an exercise perfectly fit for a lazy but vanity-fueled media contingent -- to show that when John McCain states that Sarah Palin "knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America", he is not asserting something that is true, or even something that he believes is true. It is preposterous. (Read this excellent post from Matt Yglesias for more on this.)

When you begin to openly hold the media and its importance in such low esteem, even someone like Tom Brokaw might become offended at having his intelligence so blatantly insulted, which might cause him, on national teevee, to ask one of your supporters a question like:
More about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America? More about solar, more about wind, more about geothermal than the MIT scientists who are working on this initiative? Boone Pickens? Al Gore? Do you think she knows more than any of those people do?
You could continue adding to Brokaw's list for weeks and still not have exhausted all the other people in the United States that know more about energy than Sarah Palin. Uh, just for example, putting to the side for a moment the nefarious ends to which the current V.P. puts his knowledge, does anyone with a brain in their head think Sarah Palin knows more about energy than Dick Cheney?

This kind of thing doesn't even pass the laugh test. And yet this is what John McCain's campaign is now built upon. It's only a matter of time until the joke filters down to the voters, though of course there's not a lot of time left for it to matter. On the other hand, all it would take is for one single ultra-damaging story to come out of Alaska, and the whole thing would come crashing down in an instant. Let's hope it happens before the election.

On a related note, if you, like me, are interested in being a rubber-necker for this possibly impending disaster, you should be reading Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic. This guy is a smart ex-Republican with a lot of guts -- and he has had quite enough of McCain/Palin; he does very little other than throw firebombs at them all day every day. (I'm glad someone's doing it... but DAMN.) A sample:
McCain knows one thing: how to smear, lie, disorient, distract, and intimidate. You can't beat these thugs and liars at their own game. Beat them at the task of government. They are unfit for it.

1 comment:

Gleemonex said...

Mr. Gleemonex might give you an information-gathering run for your money -- he is just mainlining that shit on his iPhone wherever he goes (and late into the night). I tell him at least thrice daily that he has a MUCH STRONGER STOMACH for that than I do ...