John McCain is now in a very interesting position. Having lost the American people to an economic crisis and his foreign policy wheelhouse having been taken away from him by circumstance and blunder, McCain set off on a course that didn’t quite square with his deeply held personal beliefs of how to conduct oneself with honor and dignity. Indeed the firestorm of personal attacks against Barack Obama and the narrative that he is dangerous, pals with terrorists, and can’t be trusted was a hardball negative campaign tactic that surely must have been thrust upon John by the Steve Schmidt’s in his midst.
Well the proverbial chickens of hate and fear have come home to roost and John McCain yesterday tried to soften their landing. The video below shows John McCain countering his rally audience’s escalating hatred and vitriol. He gets booed for his trouble:
I wrote earlier that the soul of John McCain was dead. This is John asking for his soul back. This is vintage 2000 John McCain coming back and reclaiming his dignity and honor and hopelessly trying to renege on his deal with the Republican right wing devil. I’m not really sure where John McCain goes from here. There isn’t much that is more devastating than being roughly three weeks away from an election, down double digits in the polls, losing ground in battleground states, AND getting booed by your supporters at rallies. It’s just absolutely unprecedented.
John McCain’s initial reaction to a supporter shouting out TERRORIST was the right one. If he had answered the call from his gut level reaction and admonished the man loudly at the first sign of this lynch mob rally mentality, he could have likely escaped it and reshaped this race. As it stands, he has probably lost both independents and wingnuts alike. The independents will not be happy that he let this type of atmosphere foment in the first place. The wingnuts are going to be pissed that he won’t continue it.
John McCain is clearly between a political rock and a hard place. He’s completely painted himself into a corner here and there is absolutely not a good option for him to take to get out of it. After watching the last debate, I thought the race might be over. I’m convinced of it now. The soul of John McCain didn’t die in this election cycle. He sold it to the right wing faction of his party. It just rose up and bit him square in the ass.
It is interesting to note in all of this the narrative of the lynch mob crowds that was effectively created and leveraged online. This narrative was eventually picked up by the MSM and took off in hurricane-like manner, building steam in the press and online to the point where John McCain was forced to address it in his crowds. It built such a fever pitch that John McCain himself had to admonish it, effectively taking away the one strategy he had left – to paint Barack Obama as scary and risky, as un-American.
One of the ways this narrative was created was through a viral video that was shot by Tim Russo. Tim, along with some others in the Ohio leftysphere, can take direct credit for pushing this narrative and getting this story so much attention that it eventually had an impact on this race. It’s a case study, really, of what one blogger can do with one camera and some chutzpah. The video in question has now been seen nearly a million times. This is more than double the circulation of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and certainly dwarfs their reach as the video tops the most viewed lists in several countries.
Now talk to me about how nobody reads blogs or how little they matter in modern political discourse.
The work that Tim did, that I did with promoting it, that others did behind the scenes, all has had a profound impact on this race already. This election will be looked back on for many things – most of which will be historic. You won’t be able to look at it, though, without acknowledging the role of online activist media and the viral nature of social media.
Presidential elections are won on large themes. Barack Obama has had one since day one. Change. Hope. Progress. John McCain never had one other than winning. Winning an election is not a compelling theme. The reason we are seeing this race trend the way it has is because Obama has a larger message while McCain has struggled to find his – often even imitating that of Obama because it was working. Other times abandoning his own for it’s ineffectiveness. It’s almost funny because McCain, of all candidates, should know the difference between a strategy and a tactic. There is a reason the McCain campaign has been called erratic. Given the events of yesterday, I look for the erratic nature to morph into full on flailing about.
We could be headed for landslide territory here, folks.