Saturday, September 6, 2008

Slash and Burn

Now I'm beginning to get it. Of course everyone knows about Karl Rove's slash and burn style of politics. Obama and the Democratic party expected it and thought they were prepared to fight it with rapid response. Its not working all that well, it turns out.

I may have hit on the reason. Obama just hasn't realized how devious Karl Rove really is. Rove knows that some of his smears won't stick, but that doesn't matter because Rive's real strategy is working like a charm. Subtly he is playing on emotions and not facts. Innuendos about Obama's middle name, Hussein, are sly messages that Obama is really a Muslim disguised as a Christian.

A comment made by Rep. Davis, (Republican, Kentucky) referred to Obama as that 'boy' and Rep. Westmoreland, (Republican, Georgia), referred to Michelle and Obama as "elitist class individuals that thinks that they're uppity." They can apologize to high heaven later, but the message has been delivered --- "You just can't trust Obama because he's so - well - different. He's not one of us - be warned."

But Karl Rove is clever and more subtle. He has his minions using the term 'elitist' endlessly and any Southerner knows thats code for 'uppity". The other term the Republicans use is 'The One' and we all know that means uppity.

Even a compliment about Obama's intelligence is disguised as a slur. Who does that elitist (uppity) guy think he is? And it speaks to the fears of many voters. The message is so subtle (or not) that it's like slippery Jello - it is impossible to counter.

Palin is as different from , say a Kansas housewife, as she is from me. But her image is, "She's one of us. She's tough, she won't take our guns away, and she will keep America strong. She's just an ordinary hockey mom like us." Of course that's utter nonsense, but emotions are 50% of what many voters base their choice on. And the religious right are delirious at her choice. She is anti gun control, anti choice, anti gays, and anti science. All issues important to them. Do you want creationism taught in your school? Elect McCain. Do you want anti-abortion judges who will overturn Roe vs Wade? Elect McCain. Do you want ideology over science? Elect McCain.

The Republicans don't have one single accomplishment they can point to so the strategy is to appeal to the emotions with smoke and mirrors. Factually, McCain and Palin are probably two of the worst choices anyone could make to run this country. McCain's judgement is so flawed that he has to run against himself. He has changed positions oftener than I have changed my linens. The few good things he did as a Senator are now the very things he is against. If it weren't so serious it would be laughable. He either can't remember vital and extremely important issues or he is lacking in knowledge. Palin is a loose cannon with absolutely no experience in foreign policy or issues vital to being President. She is a good showman and that's why she is being used. She fires up the base and appeals to them emotionally.

We can point out that Obama's experience as a community organizer helped 90,000 people as opposed to Palin's job as Mayor for under 7,000 residents. ( It must really take chutzpa to say she has more experience.) Facts don't matter in slash and burn politics. In fact they are a massive detriment to this crowd. They stand up and proudly say (with emphasis and a rah rah delivery) that she has more experience. Ridiculous as it is, those who vote with visceral feelings instead of their heads will believe it.

The Rove minions are told to keep the message short so that it will fit on a bumper sticker and then 'stick it to the Democrats'.

The Republican strategy is to appeal to veiled racism, the dislike of the wealthy elites (Never mind that Cindy and John McCain could buy the Obama's ten time over) and fear of the unknown. Then add the story of John McCain's prisoner of war status and repeat those messages over and over. Drill, drill, drill it into the skulls of the gullible. Make people afraid of Obama and obscure the facts with lies. Naturally the Fox bubble heads and Rush will help enormously.

I hate to tell you, folks, but it works. Now will someone explain how you fight a slippery emotional appeal with fire? I'm afraid the obvious way is to get down in the gutter with the opposition and Obama is trying very hard to avoid that. He truly wants to unite this country and not play into the Republican divisive culture wars.


Rain said...

You said it well and it's what is working. I don't know a solution because if Obama does go down into the mud, we lose anyway by being just like them. This is a test of who the American people are and about a lot more than Rove or McCain. The people this appeals to are scary to me and if they are the majority, then I just don't know. It's very frightening for who this country really is. Are we selfish and care only about ourselves or can we look to higher values and solutions that lift us all up? the way it looked at the Republican convention is they only care about themselves

kenju said...

Youa re so right. I am praying that Obama takes the high road and doesn't start the smearing like the others have.

Joy Des Jardins said...

My guess is that Obama is more of a class act than that. If I am will really hurt; but I truly believe he is. I think this is one of the things he is fighting hard against and I don't think he wants to lower his standards. It might really be tough on him considering what we've seen so far.... said...

You are spot on about how Karl Rove appeals to emotions and how effective it has been before.

If the American public can't see they are being manipulated, then we are all in trouble.

I still have high hopes for this country - I've been reading lots on the Internet and there seems to be an insurgence of previously apathetic and young voters who will be voting for the very first time in November. And I believe their vote will not be for McCain/Palin.

Sylvia K said...

You do indeed, say it well and as Rain says, their tactics are working and I find that scary beyond words. I think Karl Rove is a major danger not only to this campaign, but the country. I gues we just have to keep writing and talking and hoping that people in this country will wake up before it's too late!

Linda said...

Rove has always been frightening. His rule is 50+1. It's all a game to him and he's out to win at any cost. More frightening is the thought of him mentoring more like himself.

Nancy said...


You have hit the nail on the head with your comments about Rove and Company.

It really is a dilemma. What should Obama and Biden do to answer their smears? I really don't know because they fooled the hell out of me in the 2004 Bush-Kerry election. It was the surprise of my life when Bush won that election!I could not believe that the majority of the people actually voted for him after the way he messed up in his first term.

But give Rove credit. He turned a genuine war hero (Kerry) in a cowardly slacker and made Bush look like the war hero standing on that carrier deck with his ,don't laugh, flight helmet under his arm and a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner hanging in the background.

And, what did Kerry do about those "Swift boaters"? Nothing. He went wind surfing.

This time it will be more difficult for Obama to answer the smears because he has to be courteous to the woman candidate.

There has to be a middle ground where Obama can answer the lies and half truths and still not get down into the mud with the Rove crowd.

I think what surprises me most is the attitude of the religious right. They are Brutal in their arguments. They make up the most outrageous lies and you don't know whether to ignore the insanity of what they say or try to answer them in kind.

It will be interesting to watch what their advisers suggest they do to win this election.....

Darlene said...

Thanks to all of you for your insightful comments. I think that Obama must stay above the fray, but he needs a pit bull to champion him and fight fire with fire. The public needs to hear about the real Palin and the real Cheney and not Rove's sanitized story.

Betty said...

The "media" could help a bit by pointing out facts like: Sarah Palin's job as mayor of her tiny town was only part time, and it's relatively easy being governor of a state with only about 600,000 people and no real problems.

Ginny said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It's so scary that everyone hasn't taken the time to be as informed. Thanks for putting it all into words so well. I will continue to catch your posts. Ginny