The new lines have been drawn in this race for the White House, and they are no longer about the concepts of experience and change. They are about the words.
Not terribly long ago, regardless of your party affiliation, the decisions were fairly clear-cut. The Republican and Democratic candidates were in line with their parties’ platforms. Sure, people could argue about a maverick reputation or a liberal bias and that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing for the last few months but in essence, each candidates represented his party’s platform.
But not everyone votes on party, so focusing on the two candidates themselves, you could decide which was more important to bring to the White House in 2009 experience or change. Again, people could argue about the details of these concepts and they did but the essence of the argument remained the same: Is it more important that our next president have lots of political/governmental experience or that our next president bring change to our current policies?
That’s a real choice. Certainly I’m simplifying, but that’s what it boiled down to for this election. Experience or Change.
So, now McCain/Palin have decided that they want change as their agenda. Not actual change, mind you, but the word. Because apparently, repeating the word is enough. People now believe that the Republican party is going to bring change to the office held by the Republican party and it’s all because the McCain/Palin ticket is running on “change.” Again, the word, not the actual concept.
And this scares me. Because the words that candidates use have to matter. They have to be true, and they have to mean something. If candidates can just make stuff up, then hell, I could have run for president. (Perhaps I can also be thin if I just say it enough. Thin... thin... thin... Poof! Size 6!)
On that topic comes this article from The Washington Post today: “As Campaign Heats Up, Untruths Can Become Facts Before They’re Undone.”
John Feehery, a Republican strategist, said the campaign is entering a stage in which skirmishes over the facts are less important than the dominant themes that are forming voters’ opinions of the candidates. “The more the New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there’s a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she’s new, she’s popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent,” Feehery said. “As long as those are out there, these little facts don’t really matter.”Somewhat related (but mostly included because of its great headline) is this article from The Wall Street Journal, not known for its liberal bent: “The GOP Loves the Heartland To Death.”
[McCain] seems to think that small-town people can be easily played. Just choose a running mate who knows how to skin a moose and all will be forgiven. Drive them off the land, shutter their towns, toss their life chances into the grinders of big agriculture... and praise their values. The TV eminences will coo in appreciation of your in-touch authenticity, and the carnival will move on.Then there is this article from The Guardian, which offers a frightening global view alongside its acknowledgment of the facts about Palin: “The world’s verdict will be harsh if the US rejects the man it yearns for.”
We know one of Palin’s first acts as mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska was to ask the librarian the procedure for banning books. Oh, but that was a “rhetorical” question, says the McCain-Palin campaign. We know Palin is not telling the truth when she says she was against the notorious $400m “Bridge to Nowhere” project in Alaska in fact, she campaigned for it but she keeps repeating the claim anyway. She denounces the dipping of snouts in the Washington trough but hired costly lobbyists to make sure Alaska got a bigger helping of federal dollars than any other state.And just to remind us that words can also bring us hope, and yes, make us laugh, from The Onion we get: “Obama Modifies ‘Yes We Can’ Message To Exclude Area Loser: ‘Yes We Can, Except Nate Walsh,’ Obama Says.”
“I have always said that the change we seek will not come easy, that it will not come without its share of sacrifice and struggle,” Obama continued. “And the last thing we need is dead weight like Nate Walsh adding another 20 or 30 years to the process.” The speech, entitled “A More Perfect Union Minus Nate Walsh,” was 26 minutes long and contained the words “change” 12 times, “hope” 16 times, and “Nate,” in conjunction with the phrase “with the exception of,” 34 times.I’ll try to get back on the books, and writing, and libraries. Really, I will. But I had to get this out of my system. I hope you understand.