"I was a Man of Peace," Barack Obama said today. "But this time, they pushed me too far. I came into this election to talk about substance, and they got nothin'. So they started lying. Last time I checked, we've just suffered through 8 years of liars. Lies have consequences. More than 4,000 servicemen and women have died as a result of Republican lies. Thousands more maimed, wounded, and dumped in sub-standard VA facilities that have been left underfunded by my opponent the veteran. Iraq was behind 9/11? A lie. Trumped-up phony evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction? A lie. Mission Accomplished, Osama on the run? We'll wrap this up, greeted as liberators in Baghdad? Lies, all lies. George W. Bush is a liar. Dick Cheney is a liar. John McCain is a liar. Sarah Palin is a liar. It never ends with these people. Apparently, it's in their blood -- runs in the Party's bloodlines like a bad gene, like a disease. Enough. It's time for new blood."
Sound good? Well I'm sorry to report that nobody affiliated with the Democratic Party said anything like that today.
We've been hearing all week how the Obama campaign was gonna come out with six guns blazing after September 11. Well, it's September 12, and what do we have? High Noon? More like Blazing Saddles.
C'mon, Plouffe, a 2,500-word memo to the media? And an ad calling McCain old? Wow, now they're running scared.
Note to the Democrats: the general election is a movie, not a seminar. People watch it like a movie, look for plot points and strong characters. They want good casting too. They want a blockbuster in broad strokes, not a lengthy discussion of policy or a footnoted freakin' laundry list of the other side's missteps.
It's your job as campaign managers and media gurus to write the script and cast the roles. Type casting in this phase of the election for Dems is "The 98-pound Weakling." The Wuss. The Loser. It doesn't matter that John Kerry went to war and George W. Bush didn't, or that Dukakis was from working class stock and "good ol' boy" George H. W. Bush was a blueblood patrician from Kennebunkport by way of the Mayflower -- this isn't about facts, it's a story. And frankly, if you're not willing to be a storyteller, WHY ARE YOU IN THIS BUSINESS?
Listen, Plouffe, Axelrod, the sorry lot of you. No one wants to vote for a wimp, and frankly, can you blame them? So don't cast your candidate as one. You're missing a golden opportunity to write Act 3 of this tawdry popcorner. Because, though the wimp be the lowest sack of crap on the electoral totem pole, the bully is only one rung up. No one relishes voting for a bully -- hence the low turnout the Republicans thrive on, and all that "lesser of two evils" talk among moderates and independents.
The Repugnicans have cast themselves as the Bully -- again! Since Joe McCarthy, at least, this movie keeps getting remade -- Nixon, Lee Atwater, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove -- it's nothing new, WHY DIDN'T YOU PREPARE FOR IT?!?
Excuse me, I digress. My point is that this movie keeps getting green-lighted, every four years we get a sequel, yet no one really enjoys it that much. There's no real good guy, just mean-but-strong vs. smart-but-weak.
The mean-but-strong Bully can go from being the anti-hero of this movie to the straight-up villain in a heartbeat. It's screenwriting 101, the plot point that spins the story into a new direction for Act 3 and the final showdown, the gunfight, the car chase, the whole satisfying enchilada. Your candidate needs to be the hero. And no role is more archetypal in this country than the Man of Peace Pushed Too Far.
Now excuse me while I get back to my movie trailer:
In response to a question, Senator Obama said, "There are no 'half-truths.' There are no 'distortions.' There's the truth, and then there are LIES. And the lying liars who tell them. Bush-McCain Republicans. And judging by what it's cost us these past eight years, we can't afford another LIAR in the White House. Say it with me, America: LIARS! LIARS!! LIARS!!!" With that the crowd took up pitchforks and torches and headed out to call the bad guys into the streets, where they would be met with the fury of the righteous mob.
Voiceover: Barack Obama is the archetypal American hero in his greatest role yet: The Man of Peace Pushed Too Far. Coming soon to a theater near you.
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