Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Character assassination, GOP style

The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg takes a quick look at the McCain campaign's sustained efforts to brand Barack Obama as a Muslim sympathizer, a terrorist sympathizer, a community organizer (which he actually was) and most recently . . . a socialist.

This is such a ridiculous charge to make that it is clear most of the conservatives that are jumping in on the bandwagon must realize the intellectual bankruptcy of their collective rhetoric. At least McCain acknowledges the fact that all this loose talk has no basis in reality.

After all, one of the biggest industries contributing to Obama's campaign has been the large investment banks, along with their high-flying brethren in the world of hedge funds.

Alternatively, one could look at economic platform he has been campaigning on for the past 18 months, or his legislative record as a State Senator and Senator. And perhaps the most delicious irony is the fact that at this very moment that the Treasury is implementing a bipartisan “rescue package” aimed at redistributing taxpayer wealth . . . to prop up the securities industry. A plan supported by Candidate McCain as well as Candidate Obama.

And as Hertzberg points out:
For her part, Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama "Barack the Wealth Spreader," seems to be something of a suspect character herself. She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveller of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face. The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government's activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year's check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269.

A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that "we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs." Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it ("collectively," no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.

Hypocrisy, thy name is McCain-Palin.

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