Conventional wisdom says that George W. Bush won in 2000 because he was easier to relate to than Al Gore. Better to have a President you can have a beer with than some politician who wants to talk about complicated facts. Sarah Palin is playing the same card: she may not know one Supreme Court decision from another (once she gets past Roe v Wade) but she tells the crowds who come to hear her that she sure knows what hockey-moms and Joe-Six-Pack want because she's one of them.
During the Bush Administration the forces of re-definition had the upper hand. Fox News is "Fair and Balanced" as long as both of those words are redefined with an Orwellian dictionary. Sarah Palin's recent campaign speeches are perfect examples of up-is-down and I-don't-need-facts-to-back-me-up. In her speeches she says whatever she thinks will advance her candidacy, regardless of the facts. As Larry Rohter reports, she describes Barack Obama with unsubstantiated, hot-button expressions, like "reckless" and "dangerous."
According to the Bush Doctrine of "truthiness" (with thanks to Stephen Colbert for such an apt phrase) as fashioned by Karl Rove and pursued with vigor by Governor Palin, making accusations is enough. Backing up your statements with facts is what the East Coast media and pointy-headed liberals waste their time doing.
Julie Bosman in today's Times talks about Jeffrey M. Frederick, the chairman of the Republican Party in Virgina, throwing a chunk of red meat to a group of campaign volunteers by linking Barack Obama with Osama bin Laden. Frederick is quoted as saying, "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon." Frederick's spokesman Gerry Scimeca, said in his defense, "He saw a guy with a Rush Limbaugh shirt on, and he was trying to fire up the troops." So, innuendo in the pursuit of winning is no crime.
I heard one friend say soon after the 2000 election that even if Bush and Cheney were in power they couldn't do much damage; America's institutions have a built-in fail-safe mechanism. Given the current crises we're facing, my friend was obviously very wrong.
Individuals make a difference and facts do matter. Personally I believe the country needs a President who is thoughtful, intuitive, calm, and smart. And that's Barack Obama.
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