Friday, September 05, 2008

The GOP's cheerful viciousness


"More politically damaging still is the absence of any truly stinging attacks on John McCain. Even Joe Biden's speech -- billed as the "attack dog" event -- almost completely avoided any criticisms of McCain the Person, who will emerge from the four days here as a Wonderful, Honorable, Courageous Man -- a friend to Democrats and Republicans alike -- who just happens to be wrong on some issues. The Republicans will spend the next four days mercilessly ripping Barack Obama's character to shreds, as they did to John Kerry in 2004. . . .

The GOP's attacks on Kerry in 2004 were mocking, scornful, derisive, demonizing and deeply personal -- in speech after speech -- and they were also highly effective. They weren't the slightest bit deterred by the fact that Kerry was a war hero who was wounded multiple times in Vietnam while George Bush and Dick Cheney. . . . weren't. Has there been anything remotely approaching those attacks on McCain by any of the prime-time Democratic speakers?

The GOP assaults on Barack Obama will be -- have already been -- even more vicious and personalized, which means by the end of their Convention next week, John McCain will be, by all accounts, an honor-bound, principled and courageous patriot (who, at worst, is wrong on some issues), while Barack Obama will be some vaguely foreign, weak, appeasing, super-ambitious, exotic, empty-headed, borderline un-American liberal extremist. Democrats seem to be banking on the fact that the agreement which most Americans have with their policy positions, along with widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of things, will outweigh the effects of this personality war -- a war which they, yet again, have allowed to be one-sided."

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