What will they think of next, again?

By Steven Dell

The poll numbers are slipping and what can he do about it. While you may think I am talking about John McCain I am actually referring to the public approval rating of George W. Bush. Recent opinion polls have him clocking in at a whopping 24% approval. To give you a feeling as to how low that is Nixon’s approval was at 23% when he was FORCED to resign.

So what does this have to do with the campaign? Well the obvious answer is that the “R” after Bush’s name is drastically different then the “D” after Obama’s name. For that fact alone Obama should be able to win the election without even campaigning, but then why is his lead in national polls not more of a blowout? Are there some people still not ready to let an African American in the Whitehouse, or are there still different issues that Americans are wrestling with?

It seems to be in the last few days the McCain camp has decided to take a turn south. The talking points and the stump speeches seem to go towards a negative light. This kind of campaigning is usually reserved for the last couple weeks of the race but we are seeing it a bit more now. Does this type of mud slinging work? The simple answer would be yes because if it didn’t they wouldn’t do it. And the fact that the polls are showing Obama up by a slight margin anywhere from 5 to 8 points and the lead is seeming to grow. So what is an unpopular party to do with their candidate? (this is a long clip start at 1:25 to get the idea)

If you listen to these guys Obama must be a terrorist. But has Obama ever been a part of an organization that has terrorist roots? The evidence doesn’t seem to support that and yet the campaign message still makes it to the American public. Yes Obama has worked with Bill Ayers and even lives in the same neighborhood as the man, who by the way was awarded a citizen of the year award in Chicago in 1997 for an education project, but does that mean that he is a terrorist? Guilt by association I guess, but that seems to be where the reasoning seems to end.

Who exactly is Bill Ayers? He did belong to a radical group in the 60’s and 70’s known as the weather underground. This group was considered a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI. There was some illegally obtained evidence that linked Ayers to bombings where no people were hurt. All charges were dropped though. He is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois Chicago, and is active in education projects throughout Chicago. Mayor Daly has said

There are a lot of reasons that Americans are angry about Washington politics. And one more example is the way Senator Obama’s opponents are playing guilt-by-association, tarring him because he happens to know Bill Ayers.

I also know Bill Ayers. He worked with me in shaping our now nationally-renowned school reform program. He is a nationally-recognized distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois/Chicago and a valued member of the Chicago community.

I don’t condone what he did 40 years ago but I remember that period well. It was a difficult time, but those days are long over. I believe we have too many challenges in Chicago and our country to keep re-fighting 40 year old battles.

So the point is that the McCain campaign is doing what they feel is in their best interest to win this race. The numbers aren’t that going that well for them, and if they stick with the issues they seem to lose almost every time.  The result is swift boat politics to use the vernacular. You and I may feel it is wrong but the point is to get the undecided over to their side.  It really is too bad when the defamation has long since been disproved and yet it is still used.

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2 Comments

Filed under Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Republican

2 responses to “What will they think of next, again?

  1. Tony Robinson

    Interesting post, Steve. I remember seeing that Fox News interview with the Aurora father and son who were involved in wearing the Obama = terrorist tee-shirt to the kid’s school. What kind of parent actually paints that kind of shirt for their kid and sends him to school in it? Anyway…

    You are right that the McCain team is using distracting allegations of ties to a terrorist as a desperate to undermine Obama’s momentum. But you do seem to go back and forth a bit in terms of whether such a tactic can work this time around. You say at one point that the tactic is used because it works–but your own evidence shows that Obama is actually pulling further away with every poll, and you also note that American’s are angry with this kind of gutter politics. So I’m not quite sure what your final analysis of the likely result of the Ayers-attack will be… It looks to me like Obama’s lead is approaching blowout proportions and that McCain is in a dead end with no way out–certainly Ayers won’t save him.

    Finally, towards the end of the post there is a quote that doesn’t appear in any kind of quote marks and without attribution. The way its written, its as if the words are your own, but since the words are about you personally knew and worked with Ayers over the years, I don’t think that’s correct… 🙂

  2. Stephen Noriega

    Steve,

    Usually, the negative stuff works. When people are generally content with their American Idol and Starbucks or their Budweiser, the attacks on the character of the other candidate works. However, with the economy in disrepair, the public is seeking answers more than cartoons. I think with every attack on Obama, people wonder why McCain must challenge his honor instead of his issues. Is Obama actually right on the issues? Should he be running things if all the other people can say is, “Well, he pals around with terrorists!” I don’t know if this will last, but it gives me some hope that perhaps the voter in general is thirsty for actual debate and not political cockfighting.

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