Here it comes
Yes, it started some time ago, but it's beginning in earnest now. The elite pundit and press, after grappling during all these weeks of slow news, is finally beginning to obediently fall into line and agree on a story line for the Democratic primary candidates.
Yes, it's sad but true that the press doesn't like working too hard. They're under a lot of pressure. There's not a lot of real material to work with. If they stuck to strictly reporting just the facts, or were honest in their appraisals of the candidates, it would be deadly dull.
How do you get your writing quoted on say, "Meet the Press" or the cable news shows? Why, you invent some damning story line and write a piece where you take a pretty mild and understandable incident or utterance by a candidate and spin an elaborate story from it. Then in turn, it gets amplified and repeated in various ways by dozens of other journalists, and eventually becomes "The Story", the narrative which the media nearly always adheres to lemming like, for the entire campaign.
The players in this drama know this fact. They know it will happen. So their job is to try like hell to feed the media and spin them to get them to go along with the story line most favorable to their candidate or damaging to the opponent.
We've seen this so often and for so long that it's ridiculous to pretend it doesn't happen or to act like we can't see it coming or don't recognize it for what it is.
The Republicans have literally lived on this sort of thing for decades now. We saw it in the past couple presidential elections in which truth and reality were tossed aside like some burger wrapper and the press willingly went along with things that simply had no truth to them.
But the press is lazy. So Gore was a serial liar, constantly exaggerated, would say anything to get elected. (all untrue and proven untrue) Kerry was wishy-washy and rather than a patriotic and brave young man who voluntarily served in combat in Vietnam (that's REAL bullets whizzing by your head folks. Not sitting on your ass with multiple deferments or getting sloshed and skipping duty in the National Guard.) was turned into some girly-man coward and traitor. (Yes, try to believe it. But it actually happened, didn't it.)
How were these things accomplished? How, in this country, could the press participate in spreading thing that they knew were patently false and stories which were provably false?
The books have been written on that subject, and more undoubtedly will. But the driving force behind it was the literally massive and lavishly funded conservative effort to systematically upend the normal journalistic process. They'd invent some blatantly false spin, e-mail it to Drudge, who'd post it with a screaming headline. Believe it or not, despite repeatedly being shown to report blatantly false stories, Drudge is often the first site most journalists and pudits read.)
The utter crap, completely unverified or confirmed, mind you,would get picked up on and broadcast literally around the clock from hundreds of AM stations from coast to coast, and on their own cable network around the globe. All this within hours at times.
Then the army of right wing shills, including the zombie blondes, would be marched out onto the TV airwaves to further distort, spin, and spew mock outrage.
The next piece falls into place when major papers would then feel pressure to report it under the guise of reporting what someone ELSE was reporting, then...
The other cable channels would then rush to cover it so as to not be scooped, and now you have an utterly ridiculous story invented in the bowels of the Republican National Committee being sent straight to the top, reported and discussed as if it was completely legitimate and true by the entire national media.
And God help anyone who didn't play along. They were then scorchingly condemned as the lowest of the low, the "liberal media", who obviously weren't "fair and balanced" and were in the pocket of the liberals. (despite the fact that they were owned by enormous conservative corporations.) CNN and others completely freaked out and scrambled to replace execs and started hiring right wing loons left and right and cancelling even the few shows which featured ANY voice from the Dems or leaning left (Crossfire with Carville and Begalla, Phil Donahues highly rated and short-lived show) in response to these utterly false and ridiculous accusations.
It's referred to as the echo chamber, and it worked like a charm.
Did it work for the Democrats? Nah. They didn't make the effort to invent lies, or at least nothing like the Republicans, and they certainly weren't successful in getting any of them accepted as fact. Lord knows they had more than enough TRUE things to get out about Bush... but it never gained wide-spread coverage.
Remember Bush's getting into the guard by Dad pulling strings and then skipping out of service after he was asked to take a physical and then simply disappearing? There was a mountain of evidence that showed this to be true. But it was completely dismissed at the time. Then when someone tried to get the story out again and resorted to recreating the evidence, all true, mind you, but recreated, it resulted in Dan Rather getting fired and the story was deep-sixed forever.
Yes, a few documents had been faked, but the FACTS WERE ALL TRUE. No matter.
It was far more important to spend hours upon hours of airtime repeating the demonstrably false accusations of a bunch of paid-off right wing liars who hadn't even served with Kerry in Viet Nam.
Recently we've seen the "liar" narrative attempted to be nailed on Hillary Clinton's back. She didn't help things by lying. But nonetheless, now the effort to turn the Dems into cartoon simple characters begins.
Hillary is a liar who can't be trusted. She screwed up and that gave them all they needed. Now they'll try to pound that relentlessly.
Is she a liar? No. Not in any real sense in that she's more dishonest than the average politician. But no matter.
They've had a more difficult time trying to turn Obama into a cartoon.
He's more complex, there's less history to try to distort or mine for a narrative.
They've ran a few things up the flag pole, and they'll no doubt do some damage amongst the demographic which has always been absolutely crucial to any chance at Republican victory: clueless morons.
These folks couldn't spell Iraq let alone point it out on a map. These are the folks that are responsible for the WWF and monster truck racing being multi-million dollar industries. They don't know what they're talking about, and they're almost proud of it. But they know what they're scared off, because the right wing tells them. (actually, the right knows what they hate and fear, they just feed them crap that confirms and increases it to levels beyond anything resembling reality.)
These are the sort of gullible half-wits who both believe and forward around laughably false right wing e-mail spam which either purports to reveal some shocking "truth" about Obama or Clinton or Dems, or otherwise jacks up their ignorance and mindless support of right wing goals such as endless war. (See the post "When a Wingnut Wetdream Explodes" here for but one small example out of hundreds of the sort of thing these morons send around constantly. In a way, it's not their fault. They're fed so much false information, manipulated like mindless tools, no wonder they think like they do.)
So Obama has been a bit tougher. They tried the whisper campaign and that got a lot of the morons to believe Obama as a "secret Muslim", a concept laughable to anyone with even a flimsy grasp on reality or fact, but entirely sellable to the right wing demographic. Polls show that there are still a vast number of people who honestly believe that Obama is a Muslim.
Then there was the attempt to somehow paint him as a clone of his minister, a minister that they utterly distorted and mischaracterized through a few snippets of the most inflammatory few seconds of a few sermons. Never mind the hyperbole that's routinely employed from the pulpit, never mind all the other good works he's done, the thousands of needy people he's counseled and brought to believe in the same religion the right claims as their exclusive domain. Just excite the rubes. That's the name of the game.
Obama dealt with the issue in a remarkably honest and bold way, and largely put out the attempt to fan it into some mushroom cloud of irrational spin.
So now they're trying on a new label.
As usual for the right, this one's been used before. It's the "elitist" label we all recall from their effort, successfully, to pin it on the last two Democratic candidates.
Of course, this is code for the moron right and those who manipulate them.
"Elitist" to them means anyone who is clearly more intelligent, more educated, more aware of facts, more capable, more accomplished, and eminently qualified for president than you are, you being the average guy who might work for the city patching potholes or perhaps selling insurance or anything where you make less than $300,000 per year.
The "Elitist" label is the code word they use for a blatant and extensive effort to foster RESENTMENT and JEALOUSY towards a candidate who actually is accomplished and very intelligent.
Why, the right says, he thinks he's BETTER than you!
You may recognize this from the same boozy and bizarre tendency, often mocked in comedy, of those who are extremely drunk to suddenly turn on someone and accuse them of thinking they're "better than" the person who's completely sloshed.
Yes, millions of us harbor deep down a sense that we're failures and that it's US who should be sitting at their beach home or driving that nice car, not those Mexicans or Blacks or... it doesn't matter. Who drives those cars and owns those homes? Why PEOPLE LIKE GORE AND KERRY AND OBAMA, that's who!!!
You know, those egg-heads who actually graduated from college and made something out of themselves. Those guys who speak with authority and explain things in detail because they know what they're talking about. The guys who never seem like idiots. God I hate them.
So it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the right makes a major effort to try to tap into this simmering resentment among their moron demographic.
They don't have to be moron's per se, just too stupid to realize that they're acting out of an astoundingly selfish and irrational motive when they dislike someone for simply being intelligent.
The right wing actually gets millions of people to vote against someone PRECISELY BECAUSE they possess the rare qualities of intelligence, judgement, and demeanor that's necessary to be an effective leader.
The right has succeeded in getting people to think that someone they'd "like to have a beer with", in other words, someone as ignorant, inarticulate, and incurious as they are, is actually a better pick to be leader of the free world. And anyone that dares demonstrate superior intellect or the ability to process complex and nuanced situations is suspect and an..... elitist.
Again, you can be forgiven for wondering if we've all fallen through the Looking Glass. It's almost impossible to believe, but there it is. You've seen it happen with your own eyes.
So now comes this ridiculous attempt to completely distort what Obama said to some San Fransisco fat-cats in an attempt to explain why working people in middle-America have been persuaded to vote directly against their own interests for so long.
What he said was perfectly true, and perfectly rational. There's been books written by researchers that back up what he said exactly.
Now Clinton and others pretend that he was demeaning these people, that somehow he was trying to say that the ONLY reason people like guns and religion is because their local economy has tanked.
That's so willfully wrong it hurts. Yet there was good ol' Jimmy Carville spinning that like mad on today's "Meet the Press". And with a straight face.
It should be clear, as it is to anyone who has looked into politics and elections in the past few decades, that what Obama said is exactly true, though he obviously in trying to make the explanation wasn't as exact and precise as he may have been. But he wasn't there to deliver a socio-politico treatise on why middle-Americans have been conned into voting against their own interests, he was just trying to give an overview off-the-cuff.
But since he didn't expound at length, and with a professor's accuracy and precision, they're pouncing on him and distorting his words beyond recognition.
Clinton even thought it would be a great time to pay homage to the right wing machine that spent hundreds of millions trying to destroy her and her husband by hauling out their good old "elitist" trick and using it herself.
What a swell gal.
And to capitalize on the "elitist" attack, they even had a press availability in a bar showing Hillary downing a beer and a shot. Made nearly $20 million last year, but she's just like your average Joe. (see "have a beer with" above.)
Obama came from broken family and clawed his way to graduating with honors from Harvard, then went to work in neighborhoods you wouldn't dare be caught in even during the day. But psst...... he's "elitist".
A recent poll was cited a couple days back that I found of interest. I've talked to many people of the female persuasion who have been ardent Hillary supporters in the past. Now these same women seem to have no problem disguising their strong dislike of her.
This struck me as interesting, though I could see why they may have soured on Hillary. There's no shortage of reasons I suppose.
But the poll I saw was the first to actually identify and address this phenomena. It reported that somewhere around 27% of women now had a worse impression of Hillary Clinton than they had prior to her campaign. Based on what I'd heard, this was no surprise, and I actually thought it might be higher.
And it's exactly the sort of low tactic that Clinton is now trying on Obama that is moving them away in my opinion.
I myself have always held Hillary in high regard, and was completely outraged at the horrible efforts to spread outright lies and distortions about her. The blatant misogynistic streak of so many on the right that tried to dismiss her simply because she was a woman was outrageous as well.
But the more I see of her on the stump, the less I like her. And I too find that I've gone from liking her a lot and looking forward to her run, to thinking she's truly no better than the right wing which she fought for so long.
Perhaps I'm being sexist myself for finding her behavior so objectionable. After all, if a male candidate was getting as down and ugly as she is, would I feel the same way? I'd like to think the answer would be yes, but I can't say for certain.
What's true is that her sex definitely puts her in a special box. She looks bad if she plays the victim, yet she often is. She looks bad if she fights dirty, yet male candidates do so with impunity.
I think all one can say is that even in 2008, it is decidedly not an advantage to a candidate for president without a Y chromosome.
Keep your eye out for such examples of the press and/or the opposition attempting to create a false "identity" or label for a candidate. They're looking high and low for this elections nice, neat, and above all, overly simplistic story line.
Have any other examples?
PS. I made this post very long to ensure that my right wing troll wouldn't be able to read it.