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August 4, 2008

Outfitting The Swift Boat

Afscme1A-1

Afscme2A

It’s so fresh, the cement hasn’t had a chance to dry.

But just wait. Because, Rove — through his disciple, McCain campaign manager, Steve Schmidt — has now set in place the framing designed for Obama’s popularity, charisma, freshness, youth and religiosity to turn on itself.  Not to say there aren’t refinements to be made, and more stages to come.  Still, two-thirds of  phase one has already been accomplished, involving the formulation of the key visual terms and their injection into the political bloodstream.  The next step — and you can bet the surrogates are already in place — is just to repeat it over and over again.

And if high-minded Democrats — responding from the left brain — either dismiss it, or insist it isn’t going to work, I’d say, it’s already working.

For example, take a look at these two random wire images from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees convention on Friday.  Given the rhetorical viruses launched last week, and ironically, but not accidentally, boosted into high orbit virtually free-of-charge by both the left-wing internets and the media (plus, recruits Britney, Paris and Charlton Heston), it is hard to look at these images — which would otherwise have been so uncomplicated and adoring two weeks ago, and not sense the new overlay.

(images: David Paul Morris/Getty.  July 31, 2008.  San Francisco)

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    First it was Obama as en empty suit;
    Then Obama as the Outsider;
    Followed by Obama the Anti-Christ/Evil Incarnate/Destroyer of Worlds.
    The trifecta is complete!

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com/ black dog barking

    You’d think, having experience with covering presidential elections, that news organizations would not be caught flat-footed in August, a lull in activity as behind the scenes preparation for conventions and running mates occupies the candidates. As KKKarl knows this news vacuum must be filled and someone making false but easy to articulate claims is easier to report than, you know, informing the electorate about the issues and consequences of the coming election.
    The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth made outrageous, counter factual assertions that made no effort to right any known wrong or improve anyone’s life. The only discernible benefit was these charges gave cover to those for whom a candidate’s military service was an important factor but wanted to vote for Bush anyway. From a Republican point of view the Swift Boaters was a defensive maneuver to keep their base intact: a lie for those that wanted to believe.
    This new August Surprise looks like the same play, new election. The charge is mainly unstated because, if fully articulated, it is foolish on its face. BHO seeks attention? Of course he does. He’s running for President of the United States. To get someone’s votes they must know who you are. Celebrity? OJ was not a celebrity when he was a Heisman Trophy winner and an outstanding pro running back, he was a well known athlete. OJ the wannabee actor was a minor celebrity. OJ the wife murderer was a Celebrity. Jaws the Shark, Paris Hilton, and Britney are Celebrities.
    Barack Obama is not a Celebrity. He is an educated and accomplished human being working hard to make our system work.
    The day after the election this November, no matter who wins, Americans must start working together on a long list of very serious problems. Sowing unfounded doubt about the character of those that must lead and decide does not make this necessary coming together a likely event.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    Me, I would rather have a Rock Star president than a grouchy old man.
    But that’s just my personal preference…

  • Gasho

    Obama is smart enough to handle this lame and desperate ‘attack’. If he’s good enough to give a speech about race and come out looking good he should be able to counter any of this ‘celebrity’ attack by sticking to the issues and presenting himself as a serious and capable man – while exposing McCain as an attention seeking over the hill veteran who is incompetent and incapable of handling the complex and nuanced job of running the country. When ARE those debates, anyway??

  • ratfood

    McCain is at a biker rally/oil wrestler-palooza in SD today. Let’s hope there are lots of photographers in attendance.

  • sadja

    I would rather see Morgan Freeman (may he fully recover) as the preznet than mcsame – how can these two men be of the same age (roughly) and be so different. Morgan seems so aware of his senses and mccain is so…..not. why dont they show others that are the same age as mccain – in comparison- i think ppl might wake up to see he is not fully functional in his faculties.

  • Jay Salter

    Michael Shaw is absolutely right. “[I]f high-minded Democrats — responding from the left brain — either dismiss it, or insist it isn’t going to work, I’d say, it’s already working.”
    The Rove/Schmidt axis has identified Obama’s most effective advantage — his appeal as a potentially transformational figure — and is turning it against him by essentially redefining Obama as all glitter and no substance. It’s an adroit and profoundly cynical maneuver.
    In effect, McCain has ceded the election to Obama if he can meet and overcome this challenge. Therefore, it cannot be sidestepped. It must be met head-on, jujitsu-style. Obama must fully embrace the role of transformational figure (because that is in fact what he is) and conclusively demonstrate that not only is he the transformer his supporters imagine him to be, but in fact he is the transformer these desperate times cry out for. He must convincingly demonstrate that the “change” he has proposed is exactly what the nation believes is needed now, and he alone has the huevos to deliver it.

  • Asta

    To sadja, Obama and McClain are not the same age roughly as you suggested. McCain is 72 years old. I believe Obama is 45. Even if I am a couple of years wrong, we are speaking of a whole generation difference. In some cultures, maybe 2 generations.
    I am so freaking tired of this Dark Ages Middle Ages Hex on You Anti Christ crap, I could just scream. What on Earth is going on? I feel like I am living in some badly written sci fi novel, one not nearly as well thought out as “A Canticle for Leibowitz”.

  • http://novemberblog.blogspot.com Noah

    Check out this image the RNC has up of a tire-gauge bashing Obama over the head:
    http://novemberblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/republican-national-committee-bashes.html

  • tina

    The Obamabots would do well to stop wearing identical clothing to His events. They particularly need to shed the green, which is the color that identifies/is associated with both the Muslims and enviro-liberals. People might, you know, get the wrong idea.
    God help us, I’m only being half snarky here. There are people out there who will really believe it, and who do believe it. They see Obama’s followers as cult-like worshippers, and truly believe he might be the anti-christ.

  • tina

    Asta–Sadja was saying that Morgan Freeman (not Obama) and John McCain are about the same age, and that Morgan Freeman appears more mentally sound than McCain to the extent that it makes a striking contrast.
    But then, I have an 87 year old grandmother who thinks more clearly than McCain.

  • cenoxo

    …boosted into high orbit virtually free-of-charge by both the left-wing internets and the media (plus, recruits Britney, Paris and Charlton Heston), it is hard to look at these images — which would otherwise have been so uncomplicated and adoring two weeks ago, and not sense the new overlay.
    BagMan, BnN is undoubtedly one of the better left-wing Internets (SGM#1 and all), but you’ve lost me completely on the media slant you’re presenting here.
    Given that the AFSCME Endorses Senator Barack Obama for President wholeheartedly, what exactly are you saying? That by openly showing their admiration for BHO, AFSCME members — mostly Democrats, I assume — have become unwitting accomplices to Karl Rove’s fiendishly diabolical plot to paint BHO as a mere celebrity?
    Firstly, you’re probably giving Rove far more credit than he’s due. Secondly, what are enthusiastic BHO supporters supposed to do now? If they cheer BHO, they’re Republican running dogs. If they don’t cheer, his campaign runs out of all that youthful vitality (and green t-shirt sales plummet).
    And I thought the Neocons were paranoid…

  • http://profile.typekey.com/[email protected]/ DennisQ

    There’s too much time between now and November for silliness like Obama’s celebrity to have much of an impact on the election. We’re in the dog days of August, a time when not much of significance happens.
    For one thing, Iraq could seriously blow up between now and the election. The surge in Iraq isn’t really working, it just looks like it is. Payoffs have kept the Sunni quiet, but blackmailers are more likely to increase their demands when they sense greater vulnerability. This year’s “October surprise” could be a full-scale Iraqi insurrection.
    Domestically, Republicans maintained message discipline when they were winning. I don’t know how they can prevent defections when they’re losing. They’ve been successful in avoiding the appearance of a party in disarray, but that assumes that local Republicans will go quietly to defeat. Don’t bet on it. If career politicians see breaking with the party as their only chance of winning, they’re going to do that. Can McCain stay loyal to Bush when everybody down ticket is running away from him?
    Democrats, too, may have to take risks, especially if clear policy alternatives emerge between the parties. Frankly, the Democrats have something to sell; the Republicans don’t.

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com The BAG

    Cenoxo: I was watching some CNBC show in the late afternoon today (w/ sound off, as usual) and there is the despicable Ann Coulter. In the text under her, I see: “Obama: The One” …and they left it up for-ever! This post is more a warning and an example of how these pernicious cognitive memes actually work. And, after seeing it sink a whole lot of Dems, I no longer choose to ignore, or minimize, what I see the Repugs — as damaged as they are — putting into place, especially after last week, and given Schmidt’s close ties to Rove.

  • cenoxo

    The BAG said, “This post is more a warning and an example of how these pernicious cognitive memes actually work. And, after seeing it sink a whole lot of Dems, I no longer choose to ignore, or minimize, what I see the Repugs — as damaged as they are — putting into place…
    But sinking Dems in what way? Exactly how are crowds of enthusiastic Dems — including all those apparently high-minded, green-clad AFSCME members — supposed to defend themselves against the “pernicious cognitive meme” of openly supporting BHO as their one candidate for President? Hitting the gas while you’re standing on the brake pedal only generates a lot of smoke.
    And if Pantone #369 is banned, what will they wear at the barricades?
    (BTW, good suggestion to watch television with the sound turned off. In effective visual media, images must work first all by themselves.)

  • Cactus

    I guess the question is, did the editors (being aware of McC’s ads) just decide to go along because it was a good tag? Or did they specifically set out to reinforce McC’s point? Any bets? The point is that these particular shots were chosen, when the man just happened to have his arms raised, and there just happens to be a group of people shooting photos right in front of the press photographer’s camera. C’mon, it’s a conscious underlining by the media of McC’s anti-Obama ads.
    One of the hallmarks of the rovian attack is to go after the opponent’s strengths, which is exactly what these ads and after-comments by his surrogates have been doing. But Obama can’t go after McC’s strengths because his (and maybe his only) strong point is being a POW/veteran. We have seen even a mild slight be met with resounding outrage by the right-wing talkers.
    And speaking of which, where are all the democrats? Why aren’t any of them standing up for their candidate? Do the right-wingers and this lame-duck administration have them so terrified that they are afraid to stand up and call them out on their nonsense? Byden did after the ‘tour’ even though he knew he wasn’t going to be veep. Kerry did last weekend, but then Kerry was hampered by being Kerry. Where are the others? Where’s Hillary?
    The subliminal text of the ‘celebrity’ video is racism and violence, not celebrity, as The Bag has pointed out previously. But the mention of Charlton (above) reminded me of the video that I understand was only played on YouTube(?). At first, I didn’t get the connection, as in the one what…..? However, Thom Hartmann explained it the other day from the perspective of the Christian evangelicals. They apparently use the term ‘the one’ to mean the anti-christ so the mixing of that term with Moses and Charlton parting the waters was meant to imply that Obama is the anti-christ. Only slightly more obscure than the celebrity business. That’s the sub-text of the combination of those ads.
    Isn’t the way Obama can fight this is by pointing out all the innuendos and exposing them? This kind of thing only works if it’s kept sub-rosa. The next thing he has to do is hammer away at McC’s lies and failures, of which there are many, which the media will not do. Ad after ad listing all his anti-affirmative action votes, his opposition to MLK holiday, his votes against the veterans, etc., etc. Be repetitive and list every single vote. Use those taped snipets where he doesn’t seem to know whether he thinks insurance companies should pay for birth control or viagra. Where he can’t seem to hold two questions in his head at the same time and totally loses both of them.
    Well, obviously the campaign would be run differently if I were in charge. LOL.

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