So, have you all by now seen the tape of the crazy congresswoman from Minneapolis? She went on Hardball last Friday and told Chris Matthews that the media ought to do a serious “probing” investigation of every member of Congress to see who was “pro-America” and who was “anti-America.” The rant went on for 7-1/2 minutes; this clip condenses it to 4:
Over the weekend, her Democratic opponent, who had been written off in every poll, raised $800,000 dollars. In ONE WEEKEND.
Then, yesterday, her Republican primary opponent, who had garnered only 14% of the vote, declared he was going to reenter the race as a write-in candidate, with the sole purpose of–wait for it–taking just enough votes away from her to ensure that she would lose. This guy, a South African immigrant, teaches psychology at St. John’s University in Minneapolis and, I have to say, sounds smart enough and reasonable enough that I’d be tempted to vote for him.
I think it’s fair to say that the red-baiting strategy is not working for McCain this year. In fact, it’s hard to perceive any real strategy on that side of the campaign, other than “get nasty and stay nasty.” The latest attacks call Obama a socialist (with which the real Soclalists and Communists begged to differ) (our friend and colleague Bruce Carruthers is quoted in that story!); call him a flip flopper for praising both World Series teams (quel sin); and, of course, the robocalls, about which Sarah Palin went off-message in an interview on Sunday (oops). There’s also a 527 group that’s swiftboating on the issue of babies born alive after botched abortions. In view of what E.J. Dionne wrote the other day about how even the Catholic hierarchy is no longer insisting that abortion is the only issue for Catholics to consider in casting ballots, I don’t think that attack will gain much traction, either. (Based on the number of Obama buttons I am seeing at Mass on Sundays, I’d have to say there’s a lot less discomfort among Catholics with voting Democratic this year than in 2004. Maybe it’s because Barack isn’t Catholic.)
What all of these have in common–including the pick of Palin itself–is that they reach the base–but only the base. McCain has written off everyone else–Independents, women, people of color, moderate Republicans, in short, everyone whose first reaction is NOT to whoop and holler and scream “terrorist” and “off with his head” when Obama’s name is mentioned at McCain’s rallies.
So you can imagine my giddiness when MSNBC colored Indiana pale blue–leaning Obama–yesterday for the first time. We probably won’t stay there, but still, a nice moment.