Thursday, March 13, 2008

Whistling past the graveyard

Oliver Willis argues that the attempt to make Obama look like a militant black by playing up the words of his pastor will fail because people just don't see Obama that way.

Well, a lot of people don't, but some do and stories like this could increase the margins of those who do. Not a lot, but certainly enough to make a difference in the Fall.

Lincoln was wrong when he said, "You can't fool all of the people all of the time". Not wrong on the logic. He was correct on that point. But wrong on the emotion. For, you see, the GOP understands that you don't have to fool all the people all the time. You just have to fool enough of the people enough of the time.

All it will take is for them to hear "Barack Obama's pastor says 'God Damn America'" and enough of the people could be fooled to make all the difference in the world.

Just remember John Kerry circa 2004: "No one will pay attention to the Swift Boat ads because its obvious that I'm a war hero so they don't need a response."

That strategy worked really well.


Blogger oliverwill said...

My issue is that the people who are going to believe it, in large part, are not people who would be Obama voters anyway. People who recoil at the idea of a secret Muslim aren't exactly the type of folks who would ever vote for a non-white non-Republican in the first place. Is it something that needs to be refuted, does it hurt a little, sure. But its not at Swift Boat level and Obama hasn't ignored it like Kerry did at the time (And you should remember I was one of the people urging a response).

5:51 PM  
Blogger Chris Andersen said...

I think it is a misconception to think that only the lame brains or people who wouldn't vote for Obama anyway (nominally the same :-) would be influenced by this story. This misses the point of my post: everyone has emotional reactions to political stories that don't always follow logical thought processes.

Most Dems, on hearing this story, will find it easy to "logically" dismiss this story as meaningless. Most Republicans, on hearing this story, will find it easy to "logically" accept this story as saying something important about what Obama believes. But a lot of independents, on hearing this story, won't have the "benefit" of a "logical" partisan foundation to fall back on. All they will hear is "Barack Obama's pastor of 20 years, his spiritual mentor, said 'God Damn America'" and they will react accordingly.

That is why I say it is stupid to dismiss this story and, thankfully, Obama is confronting it head on. I'm just grateful he isn't as blind on this point as are some of his supporters.

Thanks for responding. Love your stuff btw, even when I disagree.

6:36 PM  

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