The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I've been relieved to see that actual violence has been pretty limited. There was the usual example of a young true-believer ginning up a phony attack, a few assaults on yard signs, the white supemacist "plot" that was apparently closer to being thunk up by the Three SStooges. And plenty of bullying, of course. Hopefully that's all we'll see.

Of course, one GOP trick that's still working entirely too well is purging state voter rolls. Why the press still doesn't seem to get worked up about this is beyond me-- particularly with all the attention they gave to bogus accusations against ACORN.

But what I'd like to mention today is that I think Obama and Biden are doing exactly what they should be in the face of the increasingly surreal attacks coming from all quarters. And I'd like to mention it in no small part because it's something I've been promoting for years now: using their hysterics against them with a little verbal aikido.

I thought Biden's example on the Florida news channel was brilliant. A local anchor asks him-- with all the psuedo-gravitas she can muster-- if Obama isn't actually a closet Bolshevik who wants to turn the country into a communist state. This being one of the most retarded questions he's probably ever been asked, Biden simply laughed and asked if she was joking. Awesome.

Now Obama is joining in:

"[B]ecause he knows his economic theories don't work, he's been spending these last few days calling me every name in the book," Obama said. "Lately, he's called me a 'socialist' for wanting to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can finally give tax relief to the middle class. I don't know what's next. By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

Brilliant. There will always be a (disappointingly large) number of Americans who'll swallow whatever baloney the right-wing serves up. DLC types have-- by treating these ideologues and their puppet masters seriously-- played into their hands by legitimizing their nonsense at the expense of the nation's health and wealth. But beyond the hopelessly-blinkered, there are always people who will believe the hype. Especially when the fringe is legitimized by sane people. But if the fringe is rightly perceived by them as the fringe, they won't want anything to do with it.

That's why I love to see moments like this: people have come to see Obama and Biden as the serious, thoughtful people in this campaign, and when they (rightly) dismiss this "red scare" goofiness with malice-free humor, it serves to highlight the lack of seriousness and thoughtfulness on the part of the accusers. This will, in turn, encourage sensible people to cringe when they hear these things. I'm really pretty impressed with most people's willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I think this technique will help Democrats quite a bit in moving the country away from the disastrous economics of the post-Reagan GOP.