All for Show

August 28th, 2008

I don’t think Lieberman will be the Veep choice for McCain. Why not? Too much foreplay in the press, too much noise that seems to come from inside the campaign that Lieberman is seriously being considered. They know full well that choosing Lieberman wouldn’t impress the left- or center-leaning enough (a turncoat is rarely popular to anyone but those they turn to), and it would really tick off their base, turning way too many people away from the polls on election day.

So why the buzz? Because they want to give the image of a centrist maverick, while still being reassuringly hard-right for the base. It’s only because of the Liberal Media’s™ tireless campaigning for McCain that anyone believes that he is a (1) straight-talking (2) centrist (3) maverick who (4) has not reinvented himself (shame, shame, Brokaw). All 180 degrees away from the truth, but the media loves an image, however false. That, and the constant hammering of Obama has allowed an ineffectual, flip-flopping, gaffe-ridden old charlatan even in the polls with a strong, young, charismatic Democratic candidate.

  1. Paul
    August 28th, 2008 at 11:24 | #1

    People at work who know I follow politics at an unhealthy level (like you, Luis) ask me who I think McCain will pick.

    I think he’ll pick the most moderate Republican woman he can find. I don’t know who, but it won’t be Lieberman (do you think the Republicans trust him at all?) and it won’t be a pro-choice white guy. It’ll be a woman.

  2. Luis
    August 28th, 2008 at 12:37 | #2

    If he picks a woman or an African-American, it will, almost by GOP policy, one who is strongly right-wing and antagonistic toward women’s and minority issues–simply because that’s what an appointed Republican has to be if they’re not white and male. It’s like they have to prove their right-wing creds all the more.

  3. Paul
    August 28th, 2008 at 14:47 | #3

    It won’t be a black guy. The only possible, semi-serious minority person is Jindal, from Louisiana.

    The problem with them picking a black guy is that it negates their ability to use the dog-whistle types of attacks upon Obama that they’ve already been using.

    David Gergen provided an absolutely devastating critique of that on Stephanopolous’s show a few weeks ago, where he said “I think the McCain campaign has been scrupulous about not directly saying it, but it’s the subtext of this campaign. Everybody knows that. There are certain kinds of signals. As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, ‘The One,’ that’s code for, ‘he’s uppity, he ought to stay in his place.’ Everybody gets that who is from a southern background. We all understand that. When McCain comes out and starts talking about affirmative action, ‘I’m against quotas,’ we get what that’s about.”

    It was stunning because he pointed it out perfectly and matter-of-factly, instead of making it into a huge argument. While the media mostly ignored what he said, the reality is that the rightwing machine did back off of those attacks a bit.

    I think he was both right and wrong- I think that some of those attacks on Obama were actually dog-whistles for the religious right, suggesting that Obama is the AntiChrist (there’s a serious train of thought like this amongst the more wacky of the right wing whack jobs) but Gergen’s point was spot-on.

    You can bet that the Republicans will work racist appeals into the campaign as much as possible. Why not? It can only work as long as they maintain semi-plausible deniability.

    No, write it down now: Paul’s betting on a woman for VP for the GOP.

  4. Paul
    August 30th, 2008 at 03:28 | #4




  5. Luis
    August 30th, 2008 at 18:15 | #5

    Hey, we were both right. I was right about Leiberman and the hard-right nature of the pick it she were a woman. Still, good call.

    However, I think this more about more about how transparent and shallow McCain is than anything else. Of course, the media didn’t call it, because they’re still pretending that McCain is a respectable and honorable bipartisan maverick reformer war hero.

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