If Only She Would Do What I Said, Then I Wouldn’t Have to Beat Her

Doddering old fool David Broder is back, once again elevating high Broderism to an art form. Broder, in his never-ending pursuit for moderation, consensus, and “fair play,” has become upset with the increasingly negative tone of the campaign.

Fair enough, I suppose. A lot of us are tired of the negative tone of the campaign. But what makes us different from David Broder is that we are able to correctly identify why there is a negative tone. Broder, not-so-much:

The first question I asked John McCain and then Barack Obama was: How do you feel about the tone and direction of the campaign so far?

No surprise. Both men pronounced themselves thoroughly frustrated by the personal bitterness and negativism they have seen in the two months since they learned they would be running against each other.

“I’m very sorry about it,” McCain said in a Saturday interview at his Arlington headquarters. “I think we could have avoided at least some of this if we had agreed to do the town hall meetings” together, as he had suggested, during the summer months.

You see, the negative tone is Obama’s fault for not acquiescing to McCain’s demands. If only Obama had committed to the Town Hall meetings, why then the Rove hacks McCain has hired to steer him to the Oval Office would not have repeatedly accused (falsely) Obama of dissing the troops in Landstuhl. If Obama had agreed to these meetings, McCain would not have spent a week accusing Obama of treason, claiming he would rather win an election than a war. If Obama had only done what John wanted, then he would not have run a steady stream of mocking and condescending ads for the past few weeks. If he had just gone to the town halls, and let his campaign schedule be dictated to him by McCain, they would not be running around making asses of themselves with tire pressure gauges (by the way- they sure seem to have dropped that meme quickly, haven’t they?). If only Obama… never mind, you get the point.

You can believe that if you want, just like you can believe the blame for the negative tone of the campaign is shared equally by Obama and McCain, as Broder certainly does. But then, of course, you would probably have to be as foolish as Broder.

46 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    I think Broder’s concerned mainly with protecting his own influence, such as it is– which is why the skinny colored kid got the last word.

  2. 2
    wvng says:

    Lack of self-awareness seems to be a defining characteristic of the beltway crowd.

  3. 3
    DannyNoonan says:

    Broder should just lay back and enjoy it.

  4. 4
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    Broder is exactly right. If Obama would just concede and let McCain win, McCain wouldn’t have to use all these negative ads to attack him.

    It’s all Obama’s fault, for being a sore winner.

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    If Obama had only done what John wanted, then he would not have run a steady stream of mocking and condescending ads for the past few weeks. If he had just gone to the town halls, and let his campaign schedule be dictated to him by McCain, they would not be running around making asses of themselves with tire pressure gauges (by the way- they sure seem to have dropped that meme quickly, haven’t they?). If only Obama… never mind, you get the point.

    Excellent stuff! Evidently, the idea was that McCain would use all these joint appearances to show how he needed to school the young, inexperienced, untested Obama on foreign and domestic policy. The media would be treated to tons of photos showing McCain leading young Obama by the hand (the way that Lieberman often has to lead McCain around), learning all that governing stuff from Old Hand McCain.

    But Obama didn’t go for the bait, and now McCain is just fuming like the frustrated old fart that he is. The weird thing is that some of this preceded McCain explicitly adopting Rovian tactics. McCain seems to have truly expected that Obama would defer to him, and in strangely, and irrationally irritated that Obama refusing to play up to him. Maybe Maureen Dowd is on to something here (McCain’s Green-Eyed Monster):

    “John’s eaten up with envy,” said one [McCain pal]. “His image of himself was always the handsome, celebrity flyboy.

    “Now somebody else is the celebrity,” the colleague continued, while John looks in the mirror and sees his face marred by skin cancer and looks at the TV and sees his dashing self-image replaced by visions of William Frawley, with Letterman jokes about his membership in the ham radio club and adventures with wagon trains.

    It’s beyond stupid for Broder to try to twist this into the tired old “political equivalency” or “both sides going negative” nonsense.

    I guess this stuff is playing well with GOP true believers. But when even Paris Hilton can come up with a better political ad than Gramps McCain, you just know that the GOP Smear Machine is breaking down.

    The only thing that the Republicans are winning on: the compliant media harping on Obama’s celebrity status has pushed aside the conclusion that many of the foreign leaders Obama visited found him far more informed and knowledgeable about international issues than either Bush (no brainer) or McCain.

    The central truth that McCain is hiding from is that he is not more experienced, he’s just old.

  6. 6
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    Obama thinks that we could save more energy by inflating our tires properly than we could by drilling ANWR.

    McCain thinks this is complete hogwash, and he also agrees with it completely.

    The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle.

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    If Obama had agreed to these meetings, McCain would not have spent a week accusing Obama of treason, claiming he would rather win an election than a war. If Obama had only done what John wanted, then he would not have run a steady stream of mocking and condescending ads for the past few weeks. If he had just gone to the town halls, and let his campaign schedule be dictated to him by McCain, they would not be running around making asses of themselves with tire pressure gauges (by the way- they sure seem to have dropped that meme quickly, haven’t they?).

    And Obama would have done well to obey John McCain’s dictates, because these last few weeks have been absolute hell on his campaign. After McCain’s scathing “You’re just like Paris Hilton” ad backfired by pissing off one of his bigger donors and his “You’re just like Moses” ad backfired by pissing off evangelicals and earning him a few cheap laughs on late night comedy shows, it seems like McCain has gone into full-on self-embarrassment mode.

    How is Obama supposed to justify his piddly 3% lead in the polls when McCain has been forced to run such a disastrous series of campaign blunders? How can Obama hope to win in the fall with such meager margins of victory against such a weak and tired opponent? The Democratic landslide in the Fall is going to look all-too-easily won in the public eye if Obama doesn’t open himself up in a setting in which McCain can deliver more credible attacks. And if the Democrats don’t open themselves up to more below-the-belt shots, it will seriously harm their credibility come January of ’09 with super majorities in both Houses of Congress.

    And that can only be good for the Republicans.

  8. 8
    4tehlulz says:

    Well, I guess McCain couldn’t lose the entire village in one week.

    Give it time though. At the rate this is headed, McCain will do something so horrendous that even David Broder will notice.

  9. 9
    nightjar says:

    From Broder’s article

    You see, the negative tone is Obama’s fault for not acquiescing to McCain’s demands. If only Obama had committed to the Town Hall meetings,

    In fact Obama did agree to two Town Halls instead of ten and Mccain’s 100 and Mccain nixed it. But, of course the tenor of Broder’s analysis only focus’s on the fact that Obama didn’t refused the ten, which would have left him with little time to campaign in Red states, hence the purpose of the offer.

    And a note on polls. We’ve been hearing how Obama’s lead can’t get over a few % points and he should be ahead by more. Well, buried in the recent NBC poll is the following little nugget.

    But Obama’s lead over McCain expands to 13 points when third-party candidates Ralph Nader and Bob Barr are added into the mix — with Obama at 48 percent, McCain at 35 percent, Nader at 5 percent and Barr at 2 percent.

    Funny how no one cites this number since I believe BArr and Nader will actually be on the ballot, and will likely siphon a significant number of Mccain votes.

  10. 10
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    Give it time though. At the rate this is headed, McCain will do something so horrendous that even David Broder will notice.

    That will only be good news for the McCain campaign if it happens, though.

  11. 11
    nightjar says:

    100 Must have had brain fart.

  12. 12
    The Moar You Know says:

    “John’s eaten up with envy,” said one [McCain pal]. “His image of himself was always the handsome, celebrity flyboy.

    “Now somebody else is the celebrity,” the colleague continued, while John looks in the mirror and sees his face marred by skin cancer and looks at the TV and sees his dashing self-image replaced by visions of William Frawley, with Letterman jokes about his membership in the ham radio club and adventures with wagon trains.

    I’m not a big Dowd fan but she hit it out of the park with her column today. The insanity we’ve been seeing since Obama started winning primaries really does all boil down to one thing – jealousy over the new, better looking, smarter kid in town.

  13. 13
    jcricket says:

    It’s funny. I bristle at all the negative campaigning too. But I know it works, and usually to the detriment of the Democrats – who listen to concern trolls like Broder and are weak in their responses.

    In all countries, in all political systems, attacking the opponent in some form is standard political theater. Sure, it may be “perfected” to a high (low?) art form by modern day Republican surrogates, but the idea that we should just “rise above it all” is something that ain’t never gonna happen. Democrats can either harness the power of negativity to their advantage, or fail and keep losing.

    Reminds me of when I read the letters to the editor and there’s always someone saying, “I’m tallying up the negativity, and whoever is worse isn’t getting my vote.” Well you know what? People who are turned away by the presence of negativity in campaigning are massively outnumbered by the people that believe the negative/attack ads.

    I’m not saying Obama or Obama-aligned 527s should immediately start funding “McCain had a interracial affair and has a black baby” whisper campaigns. First, we don’t have the stomach for sticking to it when called on the obvious BS. And second, there’s more than one kind of negative/attack campaigning. I like the line Obama’s been using – calling Republicans “liars” (about his energy plan) and “proud to be ignorant”.

  14. 14
    Dreggas says:

    Oh and did anyone notice a while back McCain saying how we should help solve our energy issues by turning off the lights a few minutes earlier, or not driving that extra block? Yet tire pressure is a joke…

  15. 15

    Negative campaigning is fully acceptable when the information presented is true. The crimes of the Bush cartel should be hung around McSame’s neck like an albatross.

    Turn the other cheek only after you’ve stomped them into the dirt.

  16. 16
    DrDave says:

    Joe Klein had a better handle on it:

    A few months ago, I wrote that John McCain was an honorable man and he would run an honorable campaign. I was wrong.

    It is not surprising that some of the media Old Guard are making excuses for McCain or fabricating moral equivalence where none exists. But I supported McCain in 2000 and I find the tone of his present campaign disappointing.

  17. 17
    jcricket says:

    Oh and did anyone notice a while back McCain saying how we should help solve our energy issues by turning off the lights a few minutes earlier, or not driving that extra block?

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. The great and all powerful Rove has spoken!

    No, seriously, this is how Republicans work. Republican candidate says X. Democratic candidate says X. Republican surrogates ridicule X. Democratic candidate meekly responds (if at all). Media picks up as “he said she said” narrative, or “some people say”, etc. Republican candidate doesn’t get called on it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  18. 18
    Dreggas says:

    You might want to include what Obama had to say about this in the same article John:

    “I think the notion that somehow as a consequence of not having joint appearances, Senator McCain felt obliged to suggest that I’d rather lose a war to win a campaign doesn’t automatically follow.”

  19. 19
    GSD says:

    Border must have been out to Rove’s house for more quail wings and strategy sessions.

    Broder should ask Rove why “Obama should be far ahead of McCain” when Bush’s Brain was predicting for years that the GOP would maintain a “permanant Republican majority” under Rove’s stewardship.

    -GSD

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    Oh and did anyone notice a while back McCain saying how we should help solve our energy issues by turning off the lights a few minutes earlier, or not driving that extra block? Yet tire pressure is a joke…

    But there’s a difference between McCain’s push and Obama’s. Legislation in the last energy bill that Obama supported included mandates for cars to include internal tire-pressure gauges that would inform you of low tire pressure on your dashboard. He also pressed for a car tax credit for tune-ups that would, hopefully, encourage people to go in more than once every five years for an oil change or new break pads.

    McCain’s “turn off the lights” strategy has precisely zero legislation behind it, as its a matter of “personal responsibility” for people to solve their own dag-gum energy crisis.

    The difference is clear. Barack Obama wants to Nazi you with tire gauges, while McCain has embraced the liberty and prosperity inherent in people-powered light conservation. Advantage McCain on this one. I know where my vote is going.

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    jcricket Says:

    It’s funny. I bristle at all the negative campaigning too. But I know it works, and usually to the detriment of the Democrats – who listen to concern trolls like Broder and are weak in their responses.

    Negative campaigning does not necessarily work. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

    Attacks ads backfire miserably when the targeted candidate is protected by a deep reservoir of goodwill on the part of voters, and also perhaps when the media strongly supports the targeted candidate.

    Also, attack ads are risky when they keep false negative issues in front of the voters. People may not hear the “it’s not true…” and just focus on the attack.

    Previously, McCain has shown a degree of strong voter appeal as a Maverick, straight shooter, and long-suffering vet who deserves sympathy. And some reporters and pundits have fallen all over themselves to present McCain favorably and to defend him against even reasonable criticism.

    However, McCain is showing signs that he is his own worst enemy, and is becoming an object of ridicule even to some who are neutral or favorably disposed towards him.

    This does not mean that Obama should just sit back and let McCain attack him relentlessly. But fortunately, he is finding a way to counter McCain and — more important — get his message across to voters.

  22. 22
    ThymeZone says:

    Jesus Christ in a pickle jar.

    Nobody pays any attention to fucking David Broder except maybe a few self-referential media jerkoffs.

    This is like walking into a clown convention and saying, wow, did you see the big funny nose on that one guy?

    Dog bites man.

    Next topic please.

  23. 23
    Martin says:

    Personal responsibility, bitches!

    So, has anyone seen the national media add the caveat to the offshore drilling stories that offshore drilling can’t be measured as a % increase in national oil consumption because it’s a global market. It’s impact on oil prices will be measured as a % of global oil consumption. That drilling in ANWR won’t even go to the US – instead it’ll head to Japan.

    The tire gauge remedies are actually the best ones, because while it will have an impact on national consumption and have some small, meaningless impact on prices nationally, the fact that they are YOUR tires and YOUR mileage going up means that you reap ALL of the reward immediately.

    This is why conservation is always the best place to start. Supply-side solutions are generally crap, and drilling is a supply side solution. If you reduce your consumption, you WILL pay less. Your neighbor might also pay less due to your consumption, but there is no question that you will.

    Of course, the media would need to *think* before shooting their mouth off, so I doubt anyone has called the GOP on their shit.

  24. 24
    CT says:

    You want to see some negative ads, go check out this site to see some real doozys. I’d forgotten how nasty Dole’s ads were in ’96, and its also interesting to see how Carter subtly played the “old dumb guy” card on Reagan in 1980.

    Nixon’s ads in 1968, however-unbelievable. About as subtle as a jack boot on the back of your neck, but after watching a few of them, you’ll find yourself with a visceral revulsion, Clockwork Orange-style, to Hubert Humphrey.

  25. 25

    Negative campaigning does not necessarily work. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

    Word. Obama’s one of the best politically effective counter punchers I’ve ever seen. This entire energy debate is quickly turning into McCain looking like a doddering, Depends wearing fool.

    I like to call McCain the NBC candidate. “The More You Know“, as it were. (He’s just not quite as cheerful as the TMYK ads on NBC. But he is a celebrity, and gosh, all those appearances have to count for something my friends.)

    BTW: Are you doing site maintenance today? Word Press is acting stranger than usual.

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    Zifnab Says:

    The difference is clear. Barack Obama wants to Nazi you with tire gauges, while McCain has embraced the liberty and prosperity inherent in people-powered light conservation. Advantage McCain on this one. I know where my vote is going.

    You’re joking, right?

    It’s easy to find products like this on the Web:

    Car Tire Pressure Monitoring System With Adjustable Background Color Display

    Similar to units found in luxury cars,… monitors individual tire pressure and temperature

    Just as little things like seat belts, airbags, anti-lock braking systems, etc., were adapted from luxury cars and mandated for almost all passenger vehicles, tire pressure monitoring systems ain’t necessarily an imposition on “personal liberty,” but is just common sense.

    And of course, in the “good old days,” almost every gas station had a guy who not only would pump your gas, but would also offer to check your tires.

  27. 27
    Jake says:

    “I think the notion that somehow as a consequence of not having joint appearances, Senator McCain felt obliged to suggest that I’d rather lose a war to win a campaign doesn’t automatically follow.”

    I love the way Obama tells McCain he’s full of shit. Awesome.

  28. 28

    […] John Cole: “You can believe that if you want, just like you can believe the blame for the negative tone of the campaign is shared equally by Obama and McCain, as Broder certainly does. But then, of course, you would probably have to be as foolish as Broder.” […]

  29. 29

    […] John Cole: “You can believe that if you want, just like you can believe the blame for the negative tone of the campaign is shared equally by Obama and McCain, as Broder certainly does. But then, of course, you would probably have to be as foolish as Broder.” […]

  30. 30
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    So, has anyone seen the national media add the caveat to the offshore drilling stories that offshore drilling can’t be measured as a % increase in national oil consumption because it’s a global market. It’s impact on oil prices will be measured as a % of global oil consumption. That drilling in ANWR won’t even go to the US – instead it’ll head to Japan.

    The media will report on an actual issue at this level of detail and intelligence when polar bears are colonizing Panama.

    Which is not to say that the word isn’t getting out. Sometimes the water cooler is more powerful than the boob tube. Use it. Use it wisely. The morons on the TV are shedding their credibility and it is our job to help them. Destroy the MSM – they have it coming.

  31. 31
    Martin says:

    Actually, tire pressure monitors were originally adapted from auto racing. Luxury cars usually pick them up first and get the economies of scale going. In auto racing they were adopted for both performance and safety reasons.

    But they’re pretty cheap to add on to the construction of a vehicle now that you already have enough electronics going in. Adding one more wire to the harness is no big deal when you are designing the vehicle and the sensor itself is dirt cheap. I generally don’t like all the add-on junk to cars, but safety is an exception. And vehicles are being designed around longer service cycles so that motorists aren’t going in every 3K miles any more. I only need to bring my Honda in every 6K miles (which is like 9 months for me) so relying on the service to cover air pressure doesn’t cut it.

    Another plug for Costco tire center – they’ll check and fill your tires for free. You don’t even need to get out of the car. Nice little service when I stop there for gas.

  32. 32
    Jim says:

    “I think the notion that somehow as a consequence of not having joint appearances, Senator McCain felt obliged to suggest that I’d rather lose a war to win a campaign doesn’t automatically follow.”

    In one telling sentence, Obama effectively demonstrates his wit, his intelligence, and the bullshit that is Broder and McCain.

    I also note that David Gergen is getting a bit bent out of shape with the McCain campaign, finding himself stunned that the Republicans are trying to paint a guy who worked his way up from a one parent family without much in the way of materials goods into the elitist in a race against the son of a 4 Star Admiral and a husband of a wealthy heiress. Republicans are shameless, absolutely shamesless.

  33. 33
    grandpajohn says:

    I’d forgotten how nasty Dole’s ads were in ‘96, and its also interesting to see how Carter subtly played the “old dumb guy” card on Reagan in 1980.

    Nixon’s ads in 1968, however-unbelievable. About as subtle as a jack boot on the back of your neck,

    Exactly, high road indeed,somebody should ask this senile pathetic old fool who has seen god knows how many presidential elections, to identify the last one he can remember that took the high road.
    We can be sure that if it was Obama with the negative ads, there would be no he said she said from Methuselah Broder. I noted that the comments was really giving him hell, not that he will bother to read them

  34. 34
    DannyNoonan says:

    At best Broder’s column gives the impression there’s equal blame – and also that McCain is deeply saddened at being forced by Obama to smear Obama. Unreal. This kind of reporting is indicative of the larger problem with press coverage, which typically means shrugging off perspective and instead treating both arguments with equal validity. That breaks down rather quickly when one side is full of shit.

  35. 35
    chopper says:

    speaking of mccain, they found his first car!

  36. 36
    Gregory says:

    At best Broder’s column gives the impression there’s equal blame

    Of course — giving the impression there’s equal blame is Broder’s job.

  37. 37
    Derek says:

    Dropped the tire pressure meme? I guess the Hannity listeners didn’t get the memo.

    As I was coming home from work today, I caught the last two mintues of the show, and it was a guy bragging about how he’d done all this work to an old Toyota. He’d gotten new tires, good air pressure, new plugs, tune-up, air filter, all the routine maintenence that helps, and after a $650 price tag “it still gets the same 15 miles per gallon it got before.” Hannity: “I tell you, my friend, Obama owes you that money.”

    I’m sorry, but Obama was right when he said that these people take delight in being ignorant.

  38. 38
    oh really says:

    I think all the negativity could have been avoided if only Obama had joined McCain at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and encouraged Michelle to enter the beauty contest with Cindy.
    Then, in the spirit of democracy and bipartisanship the candidates could have agreed that whichever wife came out ahead would determine the next president. Fast, simple, cheap. Way better than spending all this time and money on campaigning.

    And who can deny that the best people to decide who our next president will be are a bunch of guys on Harleys who think revving your motorcycle and wasting gas is “the sound of freedom.”

    I’m pretty sure Broder would get behind this idea.

  39. 39
    Delia says:

    I think all the negativity could have been avoided if only Obama had joined McCain at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and encouraged Michelle to enter the beauty contest with Cindy.

    Except all we know of Michelle indicates that she would have knocked Barack upside the head if he’d tried that, and she probably would have included McMaverick as well. Not that John would have noticed. His brain seems to have atrophied.

  40. 40
    Lynn Lightfoot says:

    I just had a thought that gave me some hope. All these campaign managers, movers and shakers, minions, etc., for McCain are Republicans, right? Now we know there are some diabolical rat-f**king types (Beelzebubba and the like) among them but they can’t all be clever. In fact we know that most Republicans are, to be kind, not clear thinkers. That is also true of many voters (somewhere around 25-30%), but there are 70% or so who can think and are not easily fooled. Surely McCain cannot win–he’s a joke!

  41. 41
    oh really says:

    Except all we know of Michelle indicates that she would have knocked Barack upside the head if he’d tried that…

    If all she did was knock him upside the head, he could consider himself the luckiest man on Earth. One of things that I’ve always found strange is the Clinton supporters’ claims that Obama was running a sexist campaign*. I don’t care how much she wants to be First Lady (my guess is not much, but she realizes it is part of the deal), I just don’t see Michelle Obama tolerating sexism from her husband or his campaign. And she doesn’t strike me as someone who would keep her opinions to herself.

    *I think the best (and only) example anyone ever gave me of Obama’s sexism was his “you’re likable enough” comment, which I didn’t interpret as being especially objectionable at all. It seemed and still seems to me like a harmless quip. What was he supposed to say “Hillary you’re twice as likable as Paris and Britney combined?” I suppose not saying anything might have worked best in a world where the media spend all of their time making mountains out of mole hills, while ignoring the Himalayas and Andes.

  42. 42
    chopper says:

    “it still gets the same 15 miles per gallon it got before.”

    of course, raising your mileage even 10 percent is not going to be easily noticable when it starts out that low in the first place.

    then again, this man is a buffoon, and should be roundly mocked for being of low mind.

  43. 43
    Delia says:

    “it still gets the same 15 miles per gallon it got before.”

    He’s lying, of course. What Toyota gets only 15 miles to the gallon?

  44. 44
    littlebird says:

    Fucker’s probably driving a Tundra.

  45. 45
    yet another jeff says:

    Every time I hear this sort of thing, “I hate that I’m forced to be like this” it reminds of of that Kids in the Hall sketch:

    Skoora, the gentle shark.
    Skoora, Skoora. He’s a killer with a broken heart.
    Don’t blame him! He blames himself.
    Don’t hate him! He hates himself.
    Skoora, Skoora. Skoora the gentle shark.

  46. 46
    yet another jeff says:

    “it still gets the same 15 miles per gallon it got before.”

    What he didn’t mention was that it was like the 77 Datsun pickup a friend of mine had in high school, somehow they managed to shoehorn a chrysler 340 4bbl into it…although I think it still got 18 on the highway. Is that guy forgetting to shift out of 2nd?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] John Cole: “You can believe that if you want, just like you can believe the blame for the negative tone of the campaign is shared equally by Obama and McCain, as Broder certainly does. But then, of course, you would probably have to be as foolish as Broder.” […]

  2. […] John Cole: “You can believe that if you want, just like you can believe the blame for the negative tone of the campaign is shared equally by Obama and McCain, as Broder certainly does. But then, of course, you would probably have to be as foolish as Broder.” […]

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