Strong opinions, weakly held

Saying what I’m thinking

John Scalzi posts eloquently on a topic that has been consuming my thoughts lately: what does it mean with the most effective tactic in a nation’s politics is to shamelessly lie, even after your lies have been exposed?

Definitely read the whole thing, but the part I wanted to quote is his explanation of why Obama should not adopt McCain’s tactics:

To go back to Obama and whether he should embrace the philosophy of flat-out lying, perhaps it makes sense for him to do so, but I certainly hope he doesn’t. Not because I think it’s better to have honor than power (although I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have honor rather than power) but because I believe that someone should be making the argument that one can win an election by something other than a willful determination to lie in people’s faces, and to encourage them to cheer those lies.

The fact of the matter is that at this point in the election, it’s not just about what positions the candidates hold on various political subjects. It’s also about how the candidates, and the parties behind, choose to see the people they intend to lead. The GOP and the McCain campaign, irrespective of its political positions, sees the American voter as deserving lies, lots of lies, repeated as often as necessary to win. And maybe they’re right about it. We’ll know soon enough.

Obama has famously said that the election is not about him, it’s about us. People accuse him of false modesty, but I think he nails it completely. This election presents us with two choices, and who the majority of Americans choose says a lot more about us than it does about the candidates.

Here’s Tom Toles on the same topic.


  1. I’m starting to wonder if this election is going to boil down to:

    1. the smart, educated, forward-thinking people voting for Obama
    2. and…

    3. people who vote based on emotions votng for McCain/Palin
    4. the people who vote based on personality vote for Palin
    5. the people who vote based on pro-life issues vote for Palin
    6. the racists (of which I think there are still too many) vote against Obama
    7. the Jesus-freaks vote for Palin

    With the winner being decided by whether or not types 2-5 outnumber type #1 above.

    Sadly, I think that may be the case.

  2. The thing I really don’t get is that I know a number of people who are usual Republican votes who are dead set against McCain. Where is his lead coming from?

  3. For moderates (of both parties) and independents, the attitude expressed by Cameron is a huge Obama turn off. While I too think McCain sucks (more than Obama), I feel that you can be smart, educated and forward thinking and support McCain.

    The Obama crowd has gotten a bit full of itself and it’s a huge turnoff to moderates and independents. How can Obama be expected to change Washington when his supporters go around calling anyone who doesn’t support Obama stupid, uneducated, regressive, emotional, racist, bible thumpers?

    I thought that attitude over the past 16 years was what Obama was running against?

  4. There are obviously a lot of intelligent, well informed Republicans. What frustrates me is that McCain has chosen to run a campaign that would not in any way appeal to those people.

  5. “I feel that you can be smart, educated and forward thinking and support McCain.”

    Seriously? I actually liked McCain back in 2000, but he has changed a lot. I really, really, really dislike the policies he is putting forth. His health plan will do absolutely nothing for my family and in fact endangers my life because it’s very plausible that I will be unable to afford health insurance for my family when his plan is put into place.

    Anyone who is “smart, educated and forward-thinking” should read between the lines and realize that McCain’s proposed policies do nothing for the average family and do everything for the corporate profit margin.

    Excuse me if my disgust with McCain/Palin shows through. Call me elitist or whatever you want, but the fact of the matter is McCain/Palin will be another 4 (or eight) years of policies no different than Bush’s and will continue to run this country into the ground, making it difficult for lower and middle class families to even survive.

    “How can Obama be expected to change Washington when his supporters go around calling anyone who doesn’t support Obama stupid, uneducated, regressive, emotional, racist, bible thumpers?”

    What’s wrong with calling a spade a spade? Sorry that I didn’t sugar-coat it for you (that is McCain/Palin’s job).

    Perhaps I should also point out the McCain supporters who are pulling all the strings: the rich, ultra-rich, greedy corporations and those indebted to Big Pharma, Big Oil and Wall Street.

    Thanks for ruining America, you greedy bastards.

  6. Rafe, I agree, but that didn’t seem to be Cameron’s point. The kindergarten sex ed ad is particularly repugnant. I’ve never felt that politicians talk enough about the real issues and pigs, lipstick and not being able to type aren’t going to help this country.

    Not that I think the Democrats are much better, but so far this campaign their negative ads have been less negative than the Republicans.

  7. I’m not against negative ads, per se. I was thinking about writing a blog post rewriting some McCain ads to be what I consider to be in bounds. That’s what I don’t get — there are plenty of things they could tell the truth about and still campaign effectively but they’ve opted not to.

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