As the stock markets implode, as panic over the economy spreads, and as the election heads into its final month, the McCain-Palin campaign has bet the farm on a frightful cartoon of Sen. Obama whipped up by Republican Party smear...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 10/06/2008

As the stock markets implode, as panic over the economy spreads, and as the election heads into its final month, the McCain-Palin campaign has bet the farm on a frightful cartoon of Sen. Obama whipped up by Republican Party smear merchants.

McCain Bets Election on Recycled Violent Rhetoric about Obama
Sen. Obama, the McCain campaign tells us, is not just the wrong choice for President--he is, they claim, a violent beast whose hatred for American can only be slaked by inflicting pain and suffering on every man woman and child in the land. It is a sick fantasy Americans know too well at this point in the election, and it is a sign of the desperation of the McCain campaign that they are returning to it in full force as the campaign enters the home stretch. 

Jack Tapper of ABC News reports that the McCain campaign has chosen to win the election by convincing voters that Sen. Obama's has deep ties and sympathies with 'domestic terrorists':

This morning the McCain-Palin campaign blast-emailed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's attack in Clearwater, Florida, on Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., regarding his relationship with William Ayers.

"I was reading my copy of The New York Times the other day, and I was really interested to read about Barack’s friends from Chicago," Palin said. "Turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers.  And according to The New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, “launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.”  Wow.  And there’s even more to the story.  Barack Obama said Ayers was just someone in the neighborhood.  But that’s less than truthful.  His own top advisor said they were, quote, 'certainly friendly.'  In fact, Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers’s home.  And they’ve worked together on various projects in Chicago."

Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod told CNN that Obama had no idea who Ayers was when he visited his home in 1995.

"When he went he certainly, he didn't know the history," Axelrod said.

"It's a dangerous road, but we have no choice," a top McCain strategist told the Daily News of their new strategy to attack Obama's character. "If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we're going to lose. (link)

So, there it is in plain view:  a cartoon version of Barack Obama re-imagined as a violent threat with the purpose of scaring voters into pulling the lever for John McCain and Sarah Palin.  And as Tapper points out, it was on the day the stock market dropped below 10,000 that the McCain campaign began pushing anew their fiction of Sen. Obama being in cahoots with 1970s domestic terrorists.

This violent story about Democrats is not new, of course, nor is the cartoon version of Senator Obama and his wife. But the choice by the McCain campaign to use it turn to the violent cartoon as their election end game certainly warrants attention for two reasons.

First, in choosing to push a violent burlesque of Obama, the McCain campaign has signaled its own belief that they cannot win the election if voter attention stays anywhere near real problems and real solutions, such as the economy, healthcare, the environment or foreign policy.

Second, in pushing the fiction of Obama's ties to 'domestic terrorism,' the Republican party has chosen not to go with a  campaign strategy crafted out of the reality of the current economic crisis in America, but to re-use violent rhetoric thrown at Sen. Obama by right-wing pundits six months ago--when the economic crisis did not inform the national political debate.

As far back as April, for example, right-wing talking head Ann Coulter accused Sen. Obama of harboring violent racism comparable to Adolph Hitler and added:

"Obama pals around with terrorists."


Rather than distance themselves from the violent rhetoric of pundits like Coulter, the McCain campaign has adopted it as their campaign end game.

Meanwhile, the only index falling faster than the Dow Industrial Average is the polling of support for John McCain.  As of October 6, McCain dropped in national polls to an average of 7 points behind Obama, including significant collapses for the Arizona Senator in Florida and Michigan.

© 2008 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop

© Jeffrey Feldman 2008, Frameshop

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