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Let the gutter politics begin





handfleisch
Now that McCain is ten points down in some polls, Republican desperation is allowing Sarah Palin to lead in their new gutter-politics strategy. The first charge, familiar to listeners of rightwing radio talk shows and readers of wingnut websites, is that Obama is buddies with terrorists. It's ugly, divisive and dragging the country down.

Palin says Obama pals with 'terrorists'
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/04/palin.obama/index.html

Oh and do I need to mention it's a lie?

Quote:
Palin cited an article in Saturday's New York Times about Obama's relationship with Ayers, now 63. But that article concluded that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.'
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:
Now that McCain is ten points down in some polls, Republican desperation is allowing Sarah Palin to lead in their new gutter-politics strategy. The first charge, familiar to listeners of rightwing radio talk shows and readers of wingnut websites, is that Obama is buddies with terrorists. It's ugly, divisive and dragging the country down.

Palin says Obama pals with 'terrorists'
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/04/palin.obama/index.html

Oh and do I need to mention it's a lie?

Quote:
Palin cited an article in Saturday's New York Times about Obama's relationship with Ayers, now 63. But that article concluded that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.'

Really, if anybody else had posted this, I might actually take it seriously, but you're no stranger to gutter politics yourself.
handfleisch
Quote:
Really, if anybody else had posted this, I might actually take it seriously, but you're no stranger to gutter politics yourself.


Would you mind explaining yourself and show us what you mean, or withdraw this statement? You seem to want to hijack my posts and any argument that goes beyond the urbane and ineffectual.

I might have used harsh and unequivocal words in my posts, but the assertions are matters of fact and public knowledge, well sourced and valid. It's not gutter politics to point out that, for example, Palin is a darling of the religious right, and as part of that has participated in a religious ritual with and praised a very dubious witchhunting preacher, has a record of poor character issues and abusing power for personal reasons (Troopergate) and has stood in the pulpit as an elected official talking about Iraq and "God's Plan".

I believe these need to be pointed out to people who might not have heard about them, and if these are the points you are referring to, I think you are wrong to accuse me of gutter politics, and ask that you refrain from detracting from political discussion this way.
thejam
To me (as a not American) the elections in your country are unbelievable.
It's all about dirt politics. Sometimes i even wonder if (both parties) politicians focus on throwing accusations and verbal dirt to each other, instead of talking/debating about...politics..
The few debates that are being held, are a joke too. Cheesy pre-made easy to digest one liners.
even if you are a qualified politician, you still have to play this game, cause otherwise it will cost you votes!!! Good luck to ya'll!!
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:


It's not gutter politics to point out that, for example, Palin is a darling of the religious right, and as part of that has participated in a religious ritual with and praised a very dubious witchhunting preacher, has a record of poor character issues and abusing power for personal reasons (Troopergate) and has stood in the pulpit as an elected official talking about Iraq and "God's Plan".

Yes, that is gutter politics.
Any time you are focusing mainly on the negative aspects of the opposing candidates rather than the positive aspects of your own is gutter politics, no matter how much it is "public knowledge" or how much "they need to be pointed out to people who might not have heard".
handfleisch
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:


It's not gutter politics to point out that, for example, Palin is a darling of the religious right, and as part of that has participated in a religious ritual with and praised a very dubious witchhunting preacher, has a record of poor character issues and abusing power for personal reasons (Troopergate) and has stood in the pulpit as an elected official talking about Iraq and "God's Plan".

Yes, that is gutter politics.
Any time you are focusing mainly on the negative aspects of the opposing candidates rather than the positive aspects of your own is gutter politics, no matter how much it is "public knowledge" or how much "they need to be pointed out to people who might not have heard".


I believe you are wrong about your definition of gutter politics, and defining it your way dilutes any real meaning and creates confusion.

Any focusing on a negative aspect of an opponent is not necessarily gutter politics. If the opponent has serious problems in some area, mentioning them might be unavoidable. For example in last night's debate, Obama mentioning McCain's record on deregulation or the invasion of Iraq, and McCain mentioning Obama's lack of direct experience in foreign policy, were not "gutter politics" by any reasonable definition. Don't you agree?

Examples of real gutter politics, under a reasonable definition, was McCain's Sex Ed for Kindergartners ad, or Palin's "Palling around with terrorists" accusation. Both involved using wildly false representation of the facts to connect the opponent with the vilest of qualities (terrorism in the latter, and quasi-pedophilia in the former).

So to repeat, any mention of a candidate's negative actions or history is not "gutter politics", but these examples above of guilt by association, smearing and mudslinging are indeed gutter politics. Surely you agree? And therefore see how your characterization my posts was unfair?
mejo1900
Personally, I see gutter policits as any negative thing that really is not important to the election or is a twisitng of facts. The obama thing is a twisitng of facts. Pointing out negative things a politician has done in there life may be necessary, but I don't think the example presented was "necissary" to the election. That beinf said each American chooses his vote for his own reasons and pointing out qualitieds of your opponenet that the average suporter does not like is necessary to win, even if the issue is not important to the actual persons qualities to run for ofice.
handfleisch
Not sure about OCalhoun since s/he never mustered a response but I would agree with your definition generally.

Since my initial post, the gutter politics by McCain hasn't let up. The tone and tactics of his campaign is alone enough reason to vote against him and Palin, IMO.
gandalfthegrey
When you go negative, you usually go down to defeat.

The only time negative works in politics is when it is targeted on beliefs and policy, and not wide sweeping and obviously false allegations.
OpposableThumbs
gandalfthegrey wrote:
When you go negative, you usually go down to defeat.

The only time negative works in politics is when it is targeted on beliefs and policy, and not wide sweeping and obviously false allegations.


With all due respect, I disagree. Here is Joseph Goebbels, a fairly successful propagandist, on lying:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." But you don't have to go to Nazi Germany to prove that the United States is good at the big lie. Look at the way the word -- and the idea of -- liberalism got demonized from the 1980s to today.
jwellsy
A trillion dollars from undisclosed sources for advertising all the lies you want and the presidency can be bought.
handfleisch
Looks like Jwellsy is attempting humor again.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:
Looks like Jwellsy is attempting humor again.

How so?
handfleisch
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
Looks like Jwellsy is attempting humor again.

How so?


Whoa. He's back.

Okay, I'll bite. Please tell us about "A trillion dollars from undisclosed sources for advertising all the lies you want and the presidency can be bought." Please tell us how the presidency was bought, not fought for in a good campaign. Please tell us about the trillion dollars. The lies. The undisclosed sources. The secret chambers.

Do you really believe this stuff?
liljp617
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
Looks like Jwellsy is attempting humor again.

How so?


Because his past posts destroy any credibility he might have.
jmi256
I can't speak for anyone else, but I think Jwellsy just got his numbers and issues a bit mixed up.

handfleisch wrote:
Please tell us about "A trillion dollars from undisclosed sources for advertising all the lies you want and the presidency can be bought."

Obama's campaign wielded a $650 million war chest (a record), not a trillion. I think the issue of the undisclosed donors has to do with Obama's flip-flop on transparency in his campaign. While he initially promised openness and transparency into who was contributing to his campaign, he then broke that promise by refusing to provide the information even though the Republicans did. Here's an item from ABC News about the issue:

Quote:

Those Undisclosed Obama Donors
October 21, 2008 8:30 AM
In an attempt at political jujitsu (soon to enter the Hall of Verboten Clichés -- but not yet), the McCain campaign and the RNC have been attempting to put Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on the defensive about his record-shattering fundraising, which includes an unprecedented $150 million September.
Obama, of course, opted out of public financing, despite an earlier pledge to do so, an issue of real contention for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who (rightly) feels it’s a broken promise Obama hasn’t gotten much heat for from either the media or government reform proponents.
More recently, Republicans have been pointing out that Obama does not disclose the names of donors who contribute less than $200 to his campaign. He is under no legal obligation to do so, but his failure to provide those names, it can certainly be argued, doesn’t live up to his pledges of transparency and openness.
Ergo, the Republican National Committee today introduced a searchable public database of un-itemized RNC donors -– those who contributed less than $200 to the RNC from the time McCain became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
You can access it HERE.
“Sen. Obama talks a lot about openness and transparency, but Republicans walk the walk. Here we have another example of Obama’s rhetoric in no way matching his record,” RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement. “When will Barack Obama stand up and follow through on his rhetoric? When will he stop talking about leadership and exhibit it?”
And yesterday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis held a conference call on the subject.
Davis called Obama’s $150 million September “an extraordinary amount of money, and an unbelievable track record for somebody who, no question, will go down in political history, regardless of the outcome of this election, as the greatest fundraiser in presidential political history.”
That said, Davis went on –- per ABC News’ Arnab Datta -– "it brings up, though, an important, an important question for this campaign. From Day One, Barack Obama said he was going to bring in a new style of politics, he talked about being the most transparent campaign seen today, in fact, has challenged other people on their transparency throughout the course of the election, whether it was his primary opponents or others, and what is most amazing is that, regardless of repeated calls and questions in the media about his contributions and what he's done, he has refused to -- to this point, release any of his donors under $200 a person.
“Obviously, in order to raise $150 million, he has had to include, again, hundreds of thousands, if not close to a million, new donors into his campaign,” Davis said. “And what is also something that I think is important to note, is that it is the first campaign since the Watergate era that has taken primary fundraising efforts and driven it all the way through and into the general election.
"So, not only are the donors that he has received in September an important question mark as to why these aren't being disclosed, but all the donations that he got during the primary are useable in the general election. It's the first time that's ever happened, and it raises questions about, you know, what of these donors, too, were qualified, and why isn't the Obama campaign reporting them? Clearly, they have a significant Internet capacity, there's no question that technology allows this to happen.”
Davis said that he has “no doubt that, you know, the vast majority of those are probably legitimate. But they're being kept secret by the Obama campaign, for no good reason.”
I myself haven't heard a good reason as to why Obama is refusing to disclose the names of these donors, unlike the McCain campaign.
Have you heard one? Do you care?

Source = http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/10/those-undisclos.html



Obama then turned around and used that money to buy advertising from the very networks whose "journalists" were supposed to be critically examining the candidates. After handing over millions to these networks to buy ad space, such as the Obama infomercial, it's not surprising that the Obama campaign enjoyed lopsided coverage from networks that have been hard pressed financially in the last couple of years due to the rise of new media. They basically didn't bite the hand that feed them.
There have been articles written about the lopsided treatment by the press, so I don't think you'll need a full citation for that, but here's a link to the Washington Post's post-election mea culpa:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/11/09/ST2008110901017.html

handfleisch wrote:
Please tell us how the presidency was bought, not fought for in a good campaign. Please tell us about the trillion dollars.

It only cost $650 million to buy Obama and his campaign. Now that the campaign is over his largest donors are now coming to call in their investments. After running on a platform that supposedly included barring "special interests" from his team, Obama has flip-flopped and is now rewarding his largest contributors and fundraisers. Here's an article about this point:

Quote:

Obama's Ethics Rules Won't Ban Big Fundraisers From Transition
Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama is barring lobbyists from participating in the transition that will help install his administration. He will still leave room on his team for the rich and powerful.
Top fundraisers and other well-connected supporters will serve in an advisory capacity before the Democrat takes office on Jan. 20.
Five of the 12 members of Obama's transition advisory board raised at least $50,000 for his presidential campaign, and eight contributed the maximum individual donation of $4,600. Other transition team members include a partner in a lobbying firm and two executives of financial companies whose employees were among his biggest donors.
``If an Obama administration is going to sell influence, these are the ones who have bought it,'' said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a Washington-based advocacy group that favors stronger campaign-finance and lobbying laws.
Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter defended the advisory board, saying it ``was selected based on the skill and experience of each member, and they are providing critical advice to ensure a smooth transition process.''
Transition co-Chairman John Podesta yesterday released rules banning registered lobbyists from raising money for the transition or working for the new administration in areas on which they represented clients.
The new rules also prohibit members of the transition team who become lobbyists from trying to influence the administration on any issues that they worked on. Podesta called them ``the strictest, the most far-reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history.''

Bundlers Exempt
The rules, however, won't prevent campaign fundraisers known as bundlers from serving.
Valerie Jarrett, a transition co-chairwoman, raised between $100,000 and $200,000 for Obama, according to his campaign Web site. Two advisory board members, Julius Genachowski, managing director of Rock Creek Ventures, a Washington firm that invests in online companies, and Donald Gips, a vice president of Broomfield, Colorado-based Level 3 Communications Inc., each raised at least $500,000 for Obama.
A third, Michael Froman, brought in between $200,000 and $500,000 for the campaign. Froman is a managing director at New York-based Citigroup Inc. The financial institution's employees and their families contributed $581,216, Obama's seventh-biggest source of campaign cash, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.
Campaign co-chairman William Daley, a vice chairman at New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co., also sits on the advisory board. JPMorgan employees and their families were Obama's sixth-biggest source of donations, giving $581,460.

Registered to Lobby
Another board member, Mark Gitenstein, was registered to lobby through June, House records show. Gitenstein is a partner in the lawyer-lobbying firm of Mayer Brown LLP, whose clients include Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., which is pushing for government help, and New York-based Merrill Lynch & Co., which sold itself to Bank of America Corp. in September.
Obama may be learning quickly that what sounds good on the campaign trail may not always be best for governing, said Costas Panagopoulos, director of Fordham University's Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy in New York.
``They want to find the most qualified people; some will have been donors,'' Panagopoulos said. ``It was probably shortsighted to make promises that such individuals would not be included in his administration.''

Plenty of Jobs
The president-elect will have plenty of opportunities to fill jobs before he takes office. Podesta said he expects the transition to have a $12 million budget and employ about 450 people. With less than half that amount coming from federal appropriations, Obama's transition team will raise money privately, he said. As in the campaign, Obama won't accept money from registered lobbyists and political action committees, Podesta said.
Obama raised a record $650 million for his presidential campaign as he became the first major party nominee to shun federal funds for the general election.

Source = http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=a2w3IGUcTI5Q



handfleisch wrote:
The lies. The undisclosed sources. The secret chambers. Do you really believe this stuff?

I don't think there are any "secret chambers" or "undisclosed sources" involved as you can see from the quoted sources. Just good 'ol flip flopping, promise breaking and sleazy politics from a candidate who ran on a platform of "change."
handfleisch
Sorry, your argument doesn't wash.

First of all, the amount of money a candidate has to spend does not translate into instant success. Mitt Romney and Steve Forbes both had vast personal fortunes to spend on campaigns but were rejected early in the process. So just having that money doesn't mean Obama bought the presidency. I am surprised you would insult the American voter by saying such a thing.

Also, read up on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, under which Obama received his donations and all perfectly above-board. That's the reason the Republican Party is not officially charging Obama with doing anything wrong -- and only wingnuts are.

The WaPo's "mea culpa" is not very damning. There's good reason there were more negative articles about McCain after a while, since his campaign and Palin became something of a slow train wreck, and Obama ran a strong, consistent campaign, no matter what you think of his politics. Only in a Utopian fantasy could the positive and negative articles balance out to 50-50. When McCain suspends his campaign for no good reason and looks foolish doing so, and Palin bungles interviews and takes the sleaziest road in modern presidential campaign history, do you think the reporters should hold back in writing about it, or just write any negative article about Obama to create a false sense of balance?

Quote:
After handing over millions to these networks to buy ad space, such as the Obama infomercial, it's not surprising that the Obama campaign enjoyed lopsided coverage from networks that have been hard pressed financially in the last couple of years due to the rise of new media. They basically didn't bite the hand that feed them.

That's pure conjecture and pretty silly conjecture, too.

About Obama being less than a saint, that he has compromised on things and dealt with less savory elements of our society -- well are you surprised, and do you think any politician could significantly do otherwise? Politics is the art of the possible, and Obama has shown himself to be an adept artist indeed.
jmi256
handfleisch wrote:
Sorry, your argument doesn't wash.
First of all, the amount of money a candidate has to spend does not translate into instant success. Mitt Romney and Steve Forbes both had vast personal fortunes to spend on campaigns but were rejected early in the process.

I never said money meant instant success. The point I was making is that A) Obama has broken promises to run a transparent campaign and B) Obama has been repaying his biggest and richest special interest donors with appointments.


handfleisch wrote:
So just having that money doesn't mean Obama bought the presidency. I am surprised you would insult the American voter by saying such a thing.

I'm as surprised as you are since that's not what I said. I wasn't suggesting that Obama bought the presidency, but rather that while he ran on a platform of transparency and an end of special interest money in campaigns he has done the exact opposite. If anything, I’m suggesting he has offered seats at the table to the highest bidders.


handfleisch wrote:
Also, read up on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, under which Obama received his donations and all perfectly above-board. That's the reason the Republican Party is not officially charging Obama with doing anything wrong -- and only wingnuts are.

There is a difference between illegal and unethical. While there may not be anything technically illegal here, it is quite unethical. Also, I notice you like to throw around the term “wingnut” for anyone who doesn’t agree with you. Do you care to provide your definition of a “wingnut?”


handfleisch wrote:
The WaPo's "mea culpa" is not very damning. There's good reason …

I agree that Obama ran a good campaign. But even you have to be smart enough to realize that media drives perception. While I don’t like it, the tone and tenor of their coverage drives public perception and creates an identity. The media gave a pass to Obama from the get-go while seizing upon his rivals.
I wouldn’t expect to see 50-50 coverage, but the degree to which Obama basically received a free ride with no substantial scrutiny is shocking. For example you mention “bungles,” but Joe Biden made gaffs left and right that were dismissed. And when Obama avoided and then flip flopped on his definition of who would see taxes increases and who would get tax money, the media also gave him a pass. It was a constant theme throughout the campaign.
Now that the campaign is over the media is trying to make things right with mea culpas and admissions that some stories they failed to investigate, but reported on anyway, were indeed inacurrate or outright fabrications. The media ran with these negative stories to portray her in a negative light.


Quote:
That's pure conjecture and pretty silly conjecture, too.

It makes a lot of sense to me and many others. (I’m pretty sure you’ll decide to launch into a “wingnut” tirade here.) Do you have any substantial rebuttal other than your opinion that it’s “silly.”


handfleisch wrote:
About Obama being less than a saint, that he has compromised on things and dealt with less savory elements of our society -- well are you surprised, and do you think any politician could significantly do otherwise? Politics is the art of the possible, and Obama has shown himself to be an adept artist indeed.

Some of us just have higher standards I guess. That’s probably why you’re content following the party line like a sheep.
handfleisch
It's silly, hamfisted conjecture to say that because Obama bought ad time, that the reporters all got in line and obeyed some unspoken command to write positive articles. There is no proof of this and the logic is childish. Things aren't that simple in the real world, though they might be in yours.

About the supposed ethical high ground you are claiming, could you name a president in recent history who would meet for your standard? I assume you weren't a Bush supporter, as he was one of the most unethical presidents imaginable. I mean that would be really funny, a Bush supporter calling Obama unethical.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:
It's silly, hamfisted conjecture to say that because Obama bought ad time, that the reporters all got in line and obeyed some unspoken command to write positive articles. There is no proof of this and the logic is childish. Things aren't that simple in the real world, though they might be in yours.


Absolutely true! Because of their preexisting bias, they would have written positive articles with or without ad money.


It has been demonstrated nicely by the Nazis that if you tell the people something over and over again, they'll believe it. That is what Obama bought, which in turn gave him the presidency.

And saying that the presidency can't be bought by giving failed examples only proves that the presidency can't be bought by just anyone at just any time. I would still argue that it can be bought when you're already close to having it, though.
handfleisch
Wouldn't you admit that reporters and editors are more permanently influenced by who owns their companies? CBS is owned by Westinghouse, a huge defense contractor. NBC is owned by General Electric, a huge defense contractor. FOX is owned, along with most radio stations in the USA and several papers/mags as well, by Rupert Murdoch. ABC is owned by General Dynamics, a huge defense contractor. The Christian Right owns a massive number of stations throughout the USA.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:
Wouldn't you admit that reporters and editors are more permanently influenced by who owns their companies?

From what they broadcast, no.
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