I’m totally digging Balloon Juice nowadays. John lays the fuckin’ facts out on the table:
Forcefully and confidently defining yourself and what you believe in, while defining your opponent and his ideas is not â€œdirty politics,â€ it is politics. Obama did not launch into numerous attacks on John McCain the person, he didnâ€™t raise questions as to whether McCain is in league with the terrorists, he attacked McCain on the issues, over his ideas and his policies. Again, that is not dirty politics, although it is a â€œnew kindâ€ of politics for a party that too often has let the opponent frame the debate with the esoteric hope that â€œthe people are smarter than thatâ€ and â€œwill see through the Republican attacks.â€ Rather than worrying about the Obama campaign, Democrats should be cheering what happened yesterday. It was the first time I remember a Democrat forcefully engaging Republican ideas, explaining why they are wrong, and providing an alternate vision.
Exactly. Exactly. EXACTLY. “A new kind of politics” doesn’t mean Barack Obama has to nod his head and agree with everything John McCain says, triangulate, or timidly demur. It means sticking to the arguments, premises, conclusion and all. It means being unafraid to point the finger, say, “You’re wrong, and here’s why.” Barack Obama pays John McCain the personal respect that he’s due, if not more. And then he goes toe to toe and argues without blinking why McCain isn’t right for the country. John McCain is happy to mutter shit about Hamas loving Obama, or blather about Obama not signing up for the Armed Forces (when there was no war!), or keep calling him inexperienced. All that gets shredded to shit when Obama repeatedly makes the case that McCain has no case. Substance and style vs. no substance and tired, worn out style.
Go watch some UFC, folks. Everybody talks their shit outside of the ring, talks about how fuckin’ badass they are, how they’re going to deconstruct the other guy and become his worst nightmare, etc. etc. But none of that matters once the ref says, “Fight!” And nobody roots for the guy who spent three rounds getting his face pounded to a bloody pulp to win the decision.
I welcome John McCain to try fighting back on the issues, point for counterpoint. I welcome people sitting down, ignoring all the flash, and keeping score. Because I’ve always seen that when liberal/progressive/libertarian types go up against somebody trying to please the rightwinger crowd and don’t back down, the opponent crumbles and runs. McCain can’t stand up in a fight because he’s stuck to Bush, and if he tries dumping Bush his corner will throw in the towel. His argument is fundamentally handicapped, and Barack Obama should use every day from here til November taking McCain on directly, diligently, and fearlessly. McCain will start to whine, the wingers will start to whine, the media will echo the rightwing talking points (“Is Obama unfairly attacking John McCain?”), and some new personal smears will be attempted before the election, but if Obama persists, the crowd will see who is winning, and the media, smelling McCain’s weakness, will go into a blood-frenzy.
This is the simple message I’ve wanted Democrats to get for a long time. When you fight, you win. When you react out of fear, back off and triangulate, you lose. If you think wingers don’t seize on the moment and go for the kill the second they smell blood, you haven’t been paying attention for fifteen years.