Here they come, all right — and ‘they’ includes YOU

A fragment from the latest of the DCCC releases that come to me several times a day, which was headlined, “here they come…“:

Since Rick Santorum dropped out yesterday, the Obama-Romney general election has fully engaged.

Just hours after Santorum’s announcement, Karl Rove teamed up with the Koch Brothers to launch a $1.7 million SuperPAC ad buy attacking President Obama in key battleground states.

There’s too much at stake to fall behind Romney, Rove, and the Koch Brothers.

Since the general election kicked off yesterday, we’re only 951 donors away from our goal of 10,000 supporters standing strong for President Obama and a Democratic Majority.

Contribute $3 or more right now to fight back against the Republicans’ swift-boat attacks >>

My favorite part, I think, is that excellent example of the way parties use completely nonsensical terminology that they know has a proven track record of stirring the emotions of their base — in this case, “swift-boating.” (A term that hasn’t had any sort of relevance for eight years, and never had the meaning that Democrats ascribe to it — but it stirs the indignation of the faithful, and that’s the point.)

This release can be understood on several levels. One is face value: Now that his chief rival has dropped out, Mitt Romney will turn his full evil machine on our beloved President Obama, so you must give us money so we can fight him! Which is problematic in that the situation is not new. Romney has been trying to ignore his rivals and focus on the general election since before the Iowa caucuses; he just kept getting distracted. Now, you’ll see more of the same, with fewer distractions.

Then there’s another, ironic level. This is but one of a very long series of missives over the past few months going after Mitt Romney (remember how bemused I was that the Dems were totally focused on Romney, even as Gingrich was winning the SC primary?), and also trying to scare you into giving money so the party could keep doing so. No Rubicon is being crossed here, folks. Just another step on a long, boring road.

But there is one sense in which we are seeing a qualitative change at this moment. We are, with the departure of Santorum (although not of Gingrich or Paul), entering waters that partisans on both sides have longed to enter. We are entering the area where, according to the self-justifying propaganda of both sides, they believe they have the excuse to throw off any constraints that might in the past have pulled them somewhat in the direction of truth and proportion.

In other words, here they come — the Dems and Repubs both — and their coming at us with stuff likely to be even more outrageous than what we’ve seen.

For months, the two sides have been preparing their followers for this moment. During the SC primary campaign, I repeatedly heard and saw Republicans excusing the attacks they were hurling at each other by saying, “You’d better toughen up and learn to take it now, because if you’re the nominee, this is nothing compared to the horrible stuff that Obama will throw at you in the fall.” And I would turn and look at Obama, and I would wonder whom they were talking about. We’ve all seen the kinds of campaigns Obama runs. The fact that he was NOT like that was a prime reason why we endorsed him in the 2008 SC primary.

Meanwhile, the Dems have been working as hard as ever to demonize the opposition, building to this moment when they could say, “Now these monsters will stop chewing on each other and come after US!” At which point we’re all supposed to run for the hills or something. No, excuse me — we’re supposed to throw all our money at the Democratic Party (which will FIGHT for us!) and then run for the hills.

Well, thanks for the warning. You’ve  reminded me that it’s time to batten down the hatches. A squall of foolishness is headed our way. Here they come

25 thoughts on “Here they come, all right — and ‘they’ includes YOU

  1. Brad

    It must be something to live in the constant state of apparent panic that these party functionaries insist that they dwell in.

    The world is ALWAYS about to end, and there is ALWAYS a horde of mad, bloodthirsty, baby-stealing, mother-stabbing, father-raping barbarians just coming over the hill, and about to DESCEND upon all right-thinking people…

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  2. Karen McLeod

    I have no use for the lies or exaggerations on either side (an occasional hyperbole–well we’re all guilty of that from time to time, but let’s try to quell it, please). You do realize, of course, that a dem. superpac can demonize Mr. Romney (that “666” on his head is clearer every day) even if Pres. Obama’s personal campaign does not. It can be hand-in-glove, or that superpac might not listen to Mr. Obama’s preferences. The republican (read “satanic”) superpac on Mr. Romney’s side may do the same. I’m ready to charge ’em all with high treason (I NEVER engage in hyperbole) for attempting to subvert our free (money is speech) elections.

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  3. Brad

    But before you do, don’t forget to send them money, else All That You Hold Dear will come to an excruciatingly painful end…

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  4. Brad

    Something that astounds me is that this stuff still works. I mean, if I’m getting these monotonous missives several times a day, surely their target audience is, too. (And they must have evidence that it works for them; else why would they keep doing it?)

    At some point, you’d think the recipients would start to notice that we are ALWAYS in the final, breathless hours ticking down to some bogus, hyperhyped, arbitrary fund-raising goal or deadline, and we are SO CLOSE that you and ONLY YOU can make all the difference by giving RIGHT NOW…

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  5. Brad

    Oh, you know what? When I copied that excerpt, I left off the line before, which was the salutation:

    “Brad,

    “Since Rick Santorum dropped out yesterday…” etc.

    That little personal touch is supposed to make all the difference: They KNOW me! They know I’m one of the GOOD people! And they NEED me!

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  6. Doug Ross

    And yet you brag about being on Pub Politics seven times. What exactly have those guys done to improve the discourse ? What WOULDN’T they say or do to get their candidates elected?

    If you don’t like the game, why are you always out there in the batter’s box?

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  7. bud

    Here they come indeed. Just remember where this hyperpartisan attack politics really took root. It was back in the days of Lee Atwater. And let’s be clear about that whole “Swiftboating” thing, that was extreme, disgusting and in every respect a demonstrable indictment of the conservative movement. So it is only fitting that the Democrats remind their supporters of the extreme measures they will employ to try and win (or steal) the election.

    Do Democrats get hyperbolic? At times they can but it is extremely tame compared to the Willy Horton ads and the Swiftboating. If I were to criticize the Democrats it would be for not fighting back stridently enough. Heck much of what the Democrats do doesn’t even go far enough to describe just how vile and dangerous the Republican party has become in the 21st century. Did the Dems call George W. Bush the liar that he was? Maybe on some of the extreme websites but as a general rule the mainstream Democrats refrains for that refreshing level of calling him out. Let’s just see who gets really outrageous in their ads. 10-1 odds the GOP will hands down be the nastier.

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  8. bud

    Here is a short list of the outrageous attacks by the GOP attack machine:

    The Birther Movement
    Barak Obama pals around with terrorists
    Obama’s preacher is anti-American
    Obama is nothing but a community organizer
    Obama is a Muslim
    Al Gore Invented the Internet
    Al Gore Discovered Love Canal
    Al Gore wears earth tones
    Al Gore was the inspiration for the male character in Love Story
    Al Gore never worked his family farm
    The phantom Whitewater scandal
    The Clintons assassinated Vince Foster
    Willy Horton smear
    Swiftboating of John Kerry
    Claiming that a Democrat first introduced the Willy Horton smear

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  9. Brad

    Actually, if I remember correctly, there was a period there when Al started wearing Earth tones. I can’t remember who first pointed that out. Could have been Maureen Dowd. She rode Al pretty hard in his Veep days.

    I found it jarring. Back when I had known him personally in Tennessee in the early ’80s, he always dressed like Clark Kent: blue suit, red tie and white shirt. Everything but the glasses.

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  10. Rick

    I am afraid Bud will not be able to contribute to his favorite party.
    He must be spending all his money on their Kool-Ade.He is an amazingly
    prolific poster and always right down the party line. A Caricature really.

    Reply
  11. Bart

    Well damn. I always admired Al for his “earth tone” wardrobe. I thought he actually lived his character to the fullest extent possible even down to his soft, tan shoes.

    His wardrobe went so well with the moving character in Love Story that was based on good Ol’ Al.

    And to think politics can’t be fashionable and entertaining at the same time.

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  12. Herb Brasher

    I just wish I could get rid of my land line like Brad has. I can’t. That’s what happens when you mix business with pleasure.

    I’m trying to figure out how I can leave the country for the next eight months, but no good options.

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  13. bud

    Rick, someone needs to take up for the Dems. They are really a sad lot with oodles of ammunition that for some strange reason they’re afraid to use. Obama is fighting back a little but he’s an amateur compared to the likes of Karl Rove and the late Lee Atwater. I just wish the Republican Party would return to the days when it was conservative but sensible in it’s policies. Now whenever any issue comes up the two options are (1) reactionary crazy, or (2) conservative. The liberal option is long gone.

    Let’s take one issue in particular, taxes. George W. Bush and his supporting cast in congress passed a series of huge tax cuts in the 2000s that benefited the wealthy disproportionately. The inheritance tax was even abolished for a time. The result was to accelerate the trend toward wealth accumulation at the very top of the income scale. Ever since Republicans have been fighting tooth and nail to retain these tax cuts. But that’s not good enough. With the Ryan budget we see even greater tax cuts for the wealthy. When the president proposes that the extremely wealthy pay at least 30% of their income in taxes above about a million/year, he’s branded as the most socialist president in history. Seriously, that rather modest proposal is vilified to the nth degree. No one, and I mean no one is proposing anything like the tax rates that existed in the 60s or in some European countries today. So a genuine liberal proposal on taxes is not even suggested by anyone in government. And if they did they would be branded a socialist, born in Kenya and wearing earth tones while paling around with terrorists. Oh wait, that line of attack has already been used.

    Bottom line. Brad suggests the Democrats will come out swinging in equal tone to the GOP. To that I say nonsense! The GOP always has been much more nasty and ruthless. All I’m saying is that it is just a sensible defensive posture to remind Democratic supporters of past smear-mongering by the GOP. It is a proven fact the GOP will flail away with any and all dirty tactics. And the Democrats need to be ready.

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  14. Rick

    Bud… Somebody somewhere needs to start working on a complete rework of our tax system. Might as well be the President. Seems to me he has no plan or any rhyme or reason for raising taxes other than to punish success.

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  15. Brad

    Now see, Rick, that’s just silly — as silly as the Dems always trying to stir class resentment by talking about “tax cuts for the rich.”

    The reason for allowing temporary (at least, they were supposed to be temporary) tax cuts to expire (assuming that’s what you mean by “raising taxes”) would be to reduce the deficit. The rationale is exactly the same as for spending cuts. You would do either for the same reason, and either is just as good, or as bad, an idea.

    Of course, you could argue that eliminating tax cuts could have a chilling effect on the economy, just as you can say the same about reducing government spending. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t.

    But it’s fairly obvious that the simple, straightforward reason to raise (or rather, restore) a rate is to bring in more revenue. If we don’t cut enough to bring the deficit down, then we need to raise the revenue.

    Whether, in this situation, its better to do that through higher rates or by keeping rates low in the hope of raising more revenue through economic growth, I don’t know. But we’ve been trying the latter for several years without entirely satisfactory results.

    In any case, the rhetoric of right and left are unhelpful. Ranting about “tax cuts for the rich” or “punishing success” gets us absolutely nowhere, and brings us no closer to a solution.

    Higher taxes are not a moral good or a moral evil. They are ethically neutral. Whatever is the wisest thing to do in a given situation to grow the economy and keep debt from dragging us down is what we should do, without all the attempts to stir emotions by acting like one approach or the other is inherently good, and its opposite evil.

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  16. bud

    Rick, indeed we need a complete rework of the current tax system. And spending priorities also. I’d start with the many loopholes that exist. Let’s start with corporate jets, oil company subsidies and the ridiculous low rates for capital gains and dividend. Then let’s get rid of mortgage interest deductions. Next let’s go back to the 6.5% rate for the payroll tax and bump up the earnings limit, or better yet get rid of it alltogether. Of course we need to bring back the inheritance tax on everything above $1million dollars. If we do all that we probably wouldn’t need the Buffett rule. Of course all the subsidies for energy efficiency need to go.

    There, I’ve gored everyone’s ox. But if we’re really serious about deficit reduction tax changes must be considered. We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor alone. Some good sturdy millionare backs, and the middle class too, will be needed. All of this should wait until we get near full employment. Right now is not the time.

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  17. bud

    the rhetoric of right and left are unhelpful. Ranting about “tax cuts for the rich” or “punishing success” gets us absolutely nowhere, and brings us no closer to a solution.
    -Brad

    Brad is such a one trick pony. Always have to have balance. Let’s just disect this for a moment. It’s supposed to show how right and left alike use canards in equal measure. But this really isn’t that at all. “Tax cuts for the rich” is pretty much just a plain, bland statement of fact. The Bush tax cuts overwhelmingly benefited people with high incomes. The proposed Ryan tax cuts go even further. Argue that that is good policy but don’t suggest that is a leftist attempt to stir up class resentment.

    On the other hand, “punishing success” is nothing but a canard pure and simple. No one is “punishing” the rich. They’re rich for Pete’s sake and living very well. All the president is suggesting is that we require the wealthy among us, a group that benefits enormously from the government, is to pay taxes commensurate with what they can easily afford. That is a good thing for the country and ultimately for themselves as it helps give others a chance to enjoy the benefits of a free, healthy and prosperous society. I guess if you have to buy a smaller yacht that could be construed as punishment but really how much do the rich ever suffer from such a harsh punishment?

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  18. Silence

    No matter how high taxes go, there will never be enough money to support all of the desired programs. It’s really an issue of overspending.

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  19. bud

    Let’s talk about spending. I’d start by sharply cutting back on the Department of Offense. We don’t need all these bells and whistles weapons systems. Nor do we really need thousands of soldiers and sailors stationed in places like Germany, South Korea and Japan. Seriously folks those are weatlthy countries. The North Koreans can’t even launch a multistage missle. How hard can that be in the 21st century.

    Next, lets quit spending on foreign aid, especially to Isreal. No benefit there. As for non-offense, discretionary spending, there really isn’t much there to cut. Do we really need to spend LESS on roads and bridges? Perhaps we can cut the NASA budget and a few other smaller agencies.

    As the economy grows spending on programs to help granny and young children will likely decline on it’s own. As will the interest payments once we increase tax collection.

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  20. Silence

    @bud – So you would start by cutting what is arguably the most effective agency of our government, the DoD? You’d pull our troops back from two nations that we conquered after they nearly took over an entire hemisphere. They unconditionally surrendered. You’d probably give Gitmo back to Fidel too…

    Then, while you’re at it, you’d help along a second Holocaust.

    Then you’d cut the agency that explores new worlds, seeks out new civilizations and boldy goes where no man has gone before…

    Then you’ll increase taxes to pay for the service on the national debt and wait for the economy to grow and for social spending to decline? What’s it gonna grow by doing?

    There’s been a lot of talk this week on NPR about the failure of the War on Drugs. It’s been pretty unsuccessful I suppose, especially when you consider all of the resources thrown at it.

    Maybe we should talk about how terribly the War on Poverty has gone. It’s time to admit defeat, lay down our armaments and surrender a big chunk of our population to the famine and eventually death.

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