In which I help the "guilt by association" smear-mongers

There’s a post over at my favorite conservative blog* calling on the McCain campaign to run “guilt by association” ads against Barack Obama in the swing states.  One at a time, 30 seconds each:  Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, etc.

Frankly, I believe the subtext of such ads is absurd: Obama knows people who are crazy!  Ergo, he would be a bad president. In my comment, I remarked that it’s a shame that this poster apparently doesn’t believe that John McCain can win simply on issues that are legitimate.

Nonetheless, I’m ashamed to admit that this idea did get my creative juices flowing.  Therefore, here’s my suggestion for the Barack Obama/Bill Ayers “guilt by association” ad.  It would be called “TERRORIST LOVER”:

(Ominous Music)

NARRATOR: Barack Hussein Obama knows a guy who is a real bastard.

ON SCREEN: Obama...a real bastard.

NARRATOR: Barack Hussein Obama and aging-hippie terrorist Bill Ayers once served on the board of a charity…AT THE SAME TIME.

ON SCREEN: HOLY F**KING SH*T

NARRATOR: Terrorist Ayers even donated $200 to one of Barack Hussein Obama’s political campaigns once.

ON SCREEN: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

NARRATOR: Barack Hussein Obama is a terrorist-lover.

ON SCREEN: Believe it, b*tches.

NARRATOR: It’s time to ask the question: who is the real Barack Hussein Obama?

ON SCREEN: ANSWER: somebody who wants to bomb your house.

* patterico.com really is my favorite conservative blog.  It’s the only one I ever read.  It takes a non-religious, reason-based, conservative approach to the issues.  Patterico and I disagree on basically everything (though he actually does support same-sex marriage, which is cool).  Nonetheless, as a rule, the front-page posters are reasonable, respectful, and (somewhat) post-partisan, which is commendable.  Also, they practice free speech over there, allowing and encouraging dissenting opinions to be expressed in good faith dialogue (though such will be roundly challenged by the regulars).  Suffice to say it’s a good site for another view.

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Since you brought it up, Governor…

Gov. Palin is throwing around the line that Sen. Obama has been “palling around with terrorists.”  This is in reference to two facts:  (1) Obama sat on the board of a charity with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers and (2) Ayers once donated $200 bucks to a former campaign of Obama’s.

“Palling around with terrorists” indeed.  That’s shameful.

Remember when we were being told that there was a “working relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda?  One that, well, never materialized?  Interesting how some of the same Bushies are now working for Palin.  Maybe tha’s where this is coming from.

Nonetheless, if guilt-by-association is the governor’s game, that’s fine by me:

So tell me why again does Palin think she has any moral ground to stand on?  This brings to my mind a certain Christian teaching (Mat 7:1-5):

[Jesus said,] “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

Seriously, what's going on here?

I noticed this last night, at several points during the debate.  I don’t know how to read this.  It seems a little…self-demeaning.  An attempt to substitute “feminine charm” for substance.  Perhaps a personal signal for God in which she acknowledges her false witness?

Could you imagine Hillary (or for that matter, Barack, John, or Joe) getting away with the same?  Yeah, me neither.

What McCain and Obama's tax plans reveal about their priorities

The Washington Post has an interesting graphic which gives a good visual for both McCain and Obama’s tax priorities.  It’s easy to see the difference between the two:  for McCain, the more money you already have, the more you’ll get back from the government.  The less you have, the less you’ll get.  For Obama, those who have the least receive the most tax support proportionally:

These figures are based on the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the candidate’s proposals.  (The full report is available on pdf here.)

What’s particularly striking to me is what this says about each candidate’s priorities.  John McCain evidently believes that those who have the most should be given the most back – both in terms of actual dollars and percentages of tax decreases.  Barack Obama has the exact opposite philosophy here:  those who have the least actually get the highest percentages back.

As a Christian first, but also as an American who believes in fairness and equal opportunity, I frankly can’t understand where John McCain is coming from.  The idea of giving the most to those who already have the most, and giving the least to those who have the least is completely backward. It belies the interests of economic greed to which McCain is beholden.  It is out of touch not only with the needs of real people, but with the biblical idea of whom in society should we really be helping.  If this is an example of how John McCain’s values translate to policy, he should be opposed not only on political but moral grounds.

UPDATE: Commenter cheyenne alerts us to another chart of the same data, created by chartjunk.  This one offers a visual that corresponds to the size of the U.S. population.

Asking the (W)right questions

My dad sent me a link to this film and asked me if think it’s valid. Take a look:

In a word, no, I don’t think this is valid. My issue is with the questions that are being raised. This approach attempts to make McCain account for these crazy views espoused by one of his supporters. Basically, it’s a move to try and get McCain to answer: “Do you agree with or repudiate these views?” Seems fair in light of what happened to Obama, Wright?

Problem is, it is not legitimate to try and make McCain, Obama, or anyone else account for the views or statements made by their supporters. Instead, we need to hold them accountable to their own beliefs and actions. In McCain’s case, the questions can and should be raised: what are your views on the practice of Islam in America and elsewhere? And why is your campaign seeking out endorsements from religiously-bigoted pastors? For Obama, he shouldn’t be asked to approve of or repudiate everything Rev. Wright ever said, but I think it’s fair to ask why, in light of Rev. Wright’s controversial views, did he attend Trinity UCC for so long?

Each of these approaches to McCain’s and Obama’s pastors provides room for the nuance that has gone missing on both sides of this issue. And that’s what is needed, not simply to do unto them what was done unto us.

Fear-mongering: bad for them, bad for us

Then:

[On September 19, 2004], GOP Senate candidate John Thune of South Dakota said of his opponent, Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle: “His words embolden the enemy.”

<– snip –>

[In late 2001], Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said tactics used by critics of the USA Patriot Act “only aid terrorists” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”

Now:

“ [Jeremiah Wright’s] comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate…” Mr. Obama said.

Sorry, but this rhetorical fallacy was wrong for Thune and Ashcroft then, and is wrong for Obama now. He can – and should – distance Rev. Wright as he sees fit, but to engage in this brand of fear-mongering goes against the hope and positive outlook for which Obama’s campaign has stood thus far.

Wise words from Barack Obama

I’ve been getting pretty irritated at Hillary Clinton lately, especially following the debate the other night, but this made me smile:

Just two more months…maybe sooner.  Cross your fingers.