Stepping Back to Step Forward
Sunday, October 29, 2006 :::
In Saturday's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan had a perceptive column on the funk many conservatives find themselves in as the election nears. But in the midst of this piece was this bit about the American voter and modern politics:
Here's a thing about American politics. Nobody sees himself as the base. They see themselves as individuals. And they're not dumb. They get it all. They know when you're trying to manipulate. They'll even tell you, with a lovely detachment, if you're doing a good job. (An unreported story this year is the lack of imagination, seriousness and respect in the work of political consultants on both sides. They have got to catch up with American brightness.)
There are some very strong examples of this last notion in Virginia's current Senate race. Whether it's the WaPo's incessant "macaca" drumbeat, which was followed by the Jewish Question, the use of racial slurs, deer heads in the mailbox, turtle murder, arrest warrants, divorce files and God knows what other twaddle thrown against Allen. And let us not forget one of the most ridiculous bombs tossed so far, the Allen campaign's Church Lady-like outing of the naughty bits in Webb's books.
Is all of this manipulative? Of course. And we ought to have expected much more from both sides, given that both Allen and Webb are serious, accomplished men. While their consultants bear a large measure of blame for the dreck that's been splashed across the newspapers and airwaves, the ultimate responsibility for all of it lies in the candidates themselves. That neither man has demanded more than the standard pap from their consultants is disturbing because of what it says about the candidates.
Increasingly, "none of the above" is looking like the most palatable choice on election day.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 10/29/2006