Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't let them pull a Putin here!

After yesterday's onslaught by the McCain campaign, which featured accusations that Obama called Sarah Palin a "pig," an ad portraying alleged Democratic oppo researchers as wolves hunting down Palin to destroy her, and another ad purporting to show that Obama wants sex education taught to pre-kindergarteners, I concluded that McCain's people must be receiving secret tutorials from political operatives working for Vladimir Putin.

As most people who follow Russia know, Vladimir Putin and his party have a stranglehold on Russian politics. Their people dominate the Russian legislature, they personally have the executive branch, and the courts are as supine as they ever were under the Soviets. Russians themselves have mostly resigned from politics...they show up to cast ballots for the one party allowed to advertise and promote its program, but they don't care for the rest of it.. And why should they? One of the tactics the Putin people have employed is to make paying attention to politics an unpalatable, nasty, vicious and occasionally fatal pursuit. Journalists pointing out inconsistencies or hypocrisy in Putin's pols disappear or get a bullet in the head. Demonstrators are beaten. Businesspeople who dare to criticize the regime have their companies raided and evidence of tax fraud planted, so that major-league convictions, followed by industrial-strength sentences, are inevitable. The result is that people are appalled and repulsed by politics--it reminds them of watching two ugly, scaly, reptilian creatures try to tear each other apart in a small space. And they withdraw, content never even to think about politics, which suits the Putin people just fine. No citizen interest means an entirely free hand for them.

I think this is what the McCain campaign is doing with the blizzard of ads and accusations. Part of it is trying to make something stick to Obama, of course, because they have no issues to run on. But I also think they are trying to kill the enthusiasm people feel over his candidacy, make them turn away from volunteering, withdraw from politics altogether because watching it makes them feel like they need a shower. They withdraw, they don't show up to vote, and the Christian right zealot Palin fans carry the day. I am quite sure that this is an important consideration in their tactics, because I'm so sick of it all I've stopped watching and reading about it temporarily.

Don't be repulsed...keep your eye on the prize and redouble your efforts on behalf of this ticket, whether it be blogging, talking with neighbors, registering voters, whatever you can do. As Popessa says, annoy a Republican--help Obama prevail.


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