Friday Night at 8: Ambiguity

Obama speaks of getting past the divisive partisan politics that has sickened this country for so many years.  And he doesn’t only talk the talk, he embodies in his own behavior this philosophy.

Over at Daily Kos, Markos speaks of leaving everything on the road and of crushing the Republican machine.  He also defends being a surrogate in attacking Sarah Palin when both Obama and Biden could not:

I know I harp on this a lot, but it’s an important teaching moment — when Palin was picked, she debuted to sterling approval numbers. Her speech at the RNC was a big hit. She was beloved, and McCain’s numbers skyrocketed as a result. This site and others went on the attack. Republicans were busy trying to build a great story about Palin — hockey mom, “real”, ate mooseburgers, reformer, blah blah blah. We fought back discussing her record, her corruption, her lack of experience, and the results of her brand of “family values”.

Too many counseled that we should lay off her. It’s the curse of the Democrats — instead of trying to move public opinion, we’re constantly trying to “shift the debate to more favorable terrain”. That’s what happened when Democrats sold out our troops and voted for Bush’s war in Iraq. Supposedly, that would shift the terms of the debate from Iraq and terrorism, to more favorable domestic issues. Of course, that didn’t happen. We lost big in November 2002.

Then in 2004, we once again tried to move the debate from national security (Bush is too popular there!), which would be accomplished by nominating a war hero, taking that issue “off the table”. Well, Republicans, masters at this business, went straight after Kerry’s strongest attribute — his military service — and destroyed it via the Swiftboat stuff.

They even tried it this year, going after Obama’s strength — the passion of his supporters — by trying to brand him a “celebrity” on par with Paris Hilton. It wasn’t a bad line of attack until they undermined it with the selection of Palin, their very own “celebrity”.

This is all stuff out of Crashing the Gate and Taking on the System — our fear of targeting our opponents’ strongest points. Yet that’s how you win elections. So excuse me if I belabor the point, because it’s an important one.

People criticized us for taking on Palin, saying that we were ignoring McCain. But she was his biggest strength, and as such, it would be tough to knock McCain down if she wasn’t knocked down first.

Ultimately, we were successful beyond our wildest dreams — the McCain campaign has been forced to stash away Palin in Cheney’s undisclosed location, and even needs McCain to chaperone her during media interviews.

I remember when I, along with many other bloggers, were bitching about the endless stream of Palin diaries … yet many of those diaries, even the badly written ones, accomplished real citizen journalism in showing Palin’s weaknesses, most especially the corruption of her Governorship in Alaska.

We have a lot of good advantages we didn’t have 4 years ago.  The blogosphere and technological advances (i.e., YouTube, instapolls, etc.) have not allowed the media and the pundits to control the dialogue in this election year, be it national or downticket races.

There have been mocking, hard hitting rebuttals, sarcasm, you name it, from the left blogosphere, and it has been relentless.

So Obama is able to be his real self, I don’t think it’s an act, I really think he is of a new generation, someone who isn’t particularly partisan in the way so many of us have been for eight years, and even longer.

But I don’t think Obama could be his real self if his surrogates weren’t doing the very kind of partisan fighting he deplores.

Thus, the ambiguity.

I agree with Markos that we need to crush this destructive and divisive Republican machine.  Through the exposure of the kinds of tactics both McCain and so many downticket Republicans are using, it is clear we cannot afford to take it easy on them, there is no compromise with this kind of corruption, racism, hatred, fear mongering and outright incompetence.

I also agree with Obama that we need to find a new way to be citizens and work together to solve the huge problems we are confronted with.  I particularly find it interesting to ponder how we will oppose him when we disagree — so many of us are used to fighting Republicans, knowing they will never come around, to even meet us a quarter of the way, much less half-way.  That kind of tactic will not work with Obama.  So it’s a big challenge.

There are many roles to play in politics and in being a citizen.  As a citizen journalist, I reserve my right to embrace that ambiguity, come out with guns blazing when necessary and reach out even more than halfway when another situation presents itself.  I think citizen journalism will become even more important after this election.

Happy Halloween and Happy Friday to all.  BOO! (a little goblin talk there).


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  1. … ate this comment.

    • RUKind on November 1, 2008 at 01:16

    When Don Young and then Ted Stevens popped up on the radar, Josh and crew picked up on Wooten’s story. They were months ahead of the media blitz.

    McClatchy, via the Anchorage Daily News being part of their chain, also had lots of coverage back when this all started.

    I do agree with Kos, though. Go for the jugular and the carotid, 24/7. You have to define them before they can define themselves or their opponents. SBVT was a wake-up call. The Big Lie works every time if you let it get a foothold. No Big Lie foothold, no Iraq War. When the corporate journalists fail to perform their function it’s up to the people to do the job.


  2. BooMan gave his take on Markos’ “leave everything on the road” strategy in an essay titled The Denial of Justice.

    It also ties in with the discussion we were having in buhdy’s essay yesterday. I don’t know that I agree with him, but I found it interesting.

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