Desperate times, apparently, call for a frivolous campaign

Barack Obama has just released a stinging new campaign ad calling a spade a spade (or is that an asshole an asshole) when it comes to the shameful campaign being run by John McCain: it uses strong language — and appropriately so — words like disgraceful, dishonorable, vile and dishonest.

But, to tell you the truth, while all of this is true, I actually think a different word better describes McCain’s campaign — frivolous.

Anyone with the intelligence of a pitted prune (and, no, that’s not a reference to McCain’s age, although if the wrinkle fits . . .) understands that these are desperate times: the economy’s crumbling; our military is disastrously overextended, even as the Taliban and al-Qaeda grow stronger in Afghanistan and Pakistan; economic inequality, already at record levels, is still growing; the world is faced with a potential environmental apocalypse in global warming; and on and on.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, or so the saying goes. But, hell, when it comes to the McCain campaign, I’d settle for just a modicum of seriousness: you know, something along the lines of a reasonably specific description of how he proposes to put this nation back on track.

Instead, of course, all we get are lies, lies and still more lies. Silly lies that insult our intelligence. Yet, not only do McCain and Palin speak them once: they repeat them, again and again, even after they’ve been thoroughly debunked, as with Sarah Palin’s repeated claim that she personally killed the Bridge to Nowhere. 

It’s almost as though John McCain has decided to base his entire campaign on the “deny, deny, deny” strategy suggested by the Robert Morse character in the movie A Guide for the Married Man, where he recommends to his friend, played by Walter Matthau, that he deny having an affair no matter how damning the evidence and even if his wife catches him in bed with another woman (video clip).

So it is with the McCain/Palin campaign: no matter how clear the evidence is that they’re lying, they just deny, deny and deny, and then go right on lying.

It’s sad, really. A presidential campaign that started out with the promise of The Audacity of Hope, ends up being defined, instead, by the mendacity of deceit.

But the frivolousness of the McCain campaign isn’t limited to its deceitfulness. There’s also the refusal to offer any real solutions to America’s problems. Whether it’s about “drill baby, drill” or more tax cuts for the wealthy, every word that comes out of McCain’s mouth is a pander.

And then, of course, there’s Palin herself: I mean, why bother with actual qualifications when you can offer up a gun toting mama with star power?!

Will it work? Will a campaign based on frivolous diversions sell even in these desperate times?

We won’t know the answer for certain, of course, until Election Day. But for anyone who loves the democratic process, the fact that it seems to stand as good a chance as it does of working should be profoundly troubling.

2 Responses to “Desperate times, apparently, call for a frivolous campaign”

  1. MikeH Says:

    “Deny, deny, deny!” That is the strategy for those who are abusive.

    I remember watching the movie with my family when I was a young man. My dad thought “deny, deny, deny” was very funny, as he felt certain that he himself would never do that.

    Certainly I can’t imagine my dad ever having cheated on my mother, nor my mother ever cheating on my dad. To the best of my knowledge both were always faithful to each other; I cannot imagine otherwise.

    However my dad sometimes bordered on being abusive to his children, especially emotionally and psychologically. He felt that it was his privilege to yell at his children or treat us like we had committed a crime if we made an honest mistake, honestly forgot something, or something was not quite according to his standards. And he would always say that it was “for our own good”. And he was often very poor at understanding a sensitive issue from our point of view.

    I myself particularly had problems with my dad, and was often very frustrated at not being able to stand up to him or to effectively confront him the way I wish I had been able to. I never dared to think that my dad was a liar while he was alive. However he would always completely deny that anything that he ever said or did might have really hurt me, or that he himself might have been in any way responsible for doing me any harm, or that my relationship with him might be any problem with me.

    According to him, if I were angry or upset with something he said or did, it was always my problem, never his. He might say that I had misunderstood or misinterpreted what he said or did, or that I was overly sensitive and thought about things too much.

    It was a little over a year after my dad died that I came to realize how angry I still was at him, and that he really was abusive at times. I.e. it was not just something wrong with me that I had problems with him. It helped a lot in my coming to that realization that my dad was not around any more to talk me out of my feelings (and to “deny, deny, deny” as far as he himself doing anything wrong), which was something he was very good at doing.

  2. Larkrise Says:

    We have had 8 long years of constant lies, lies, lies. Only the Progressive Media will come out and call it that. It is obvious that McCain and Palin are carrying on the tradition. Even KKKarl Rove says that their ads havent passed the truth test.(Though I wonder how KKKarl would know,being so addicted to lying.) In the end, this election will be about the character of the American people, more than it is about Obama or McCain. If the majority of citizens vote for blatant liars, failed Bush policies, and an inexperienced, superficial, poorly informed, bitchy pinhead for V.P., then McPain and Paleface with forked tongue simply mirror the majority of the American public. This is the public that values being entertained over being objectively informed. This is the public that values keeping up with the Joneses and “appearances” of wealth and trendiness, rather than saving the planet. This is the public that mistakes religious extremism, brandishing hatred rather than love, for true spirituality and inner peace. This is the public that would rather work for war than world peace. It is the Me, Myself and I Bunch. In the end, of course, those are some of the symptoms of a decandent and self-destructive civilization. Such self-indulgence leads to decay. The signs of decay are everywhere; but the sheeple hide their heads in their latest fad. We are billions of dollars in debt. We are fighting two wars. We have millions without healthcare, while the fat-cats get fatter. We have financial instiutuions collapsing all around us. We have millions unemployed. How can anyone, ANYONE even think of voting for the party that put us in this mess?!!!! Yet, Obama and McCain are in a statistical dead heat! McCain offers rehashed Bushit and calls it his plan to save America. Drinking snake oil has evidently become a national pastime.
    I listened to Paul Krugman tonight on Keith Olbermann’s show. Dr. Krugman is a distinguished Professor of Economics at Princeton, writes for the New York Times and has been right on the money about the economy for the last 8 years. He says it is well known that McCain is still listening to Phil Gramm, and intends to make the old fool Secretary of the Treasury. I am sure that is true. Dr. Krugman says that Gramm will definitely lead us into another Depression. I am sure THAT is true, too. It no longer is :”What on earth are people thinking?” but, that millions lack the ability to think at all.

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