Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Desperate Right's Five Biggest Flops of the 2008 Election

By Brad Reed, AlterNet
Posted on November 8, 2008, Printed on November 8, 2008

After every election cycle, our national press corps likes to point out the so-called game-changing moments during the campaign that supposedly shifted momentum decisively toward one candidate. Classic examples include Gerald Ford freeing Poland, Ronald Reagan telling Jimmy Carter that he went again, Michael Dukakis appearing in a tank, Bush I looking at his watch, Al Gore sighing and John Kerry windsurfing. At their heart, these moments are superficial explanations for very complex processes and phenomena, which is the biggest reason why the media love to discuss them. After all, it beats talking about policy.

Over the past two decades, the Right has excelled at manipulating the media's love of shallow, scripted storylines to transform our national discourse into one long psychodrama in which Democratic candidates inevitably make some tragic gaffe that shows voters how truly out of touch they are with the Real Americans living in the heartland. These moments are usually dramatized by illustrations of blaring sirens on the Drudge Report accompanied by bold, red-lettered headlines that say things like, "SHOCK VIDEO: Kerry orders Swiss cheese on his cheesesteak." Our press corps then dutifully reports on how Kerry's disdain for traditional Cheez Wiz shows why Democrats are having trouble connecting with blue-collar voters who suspect that Democrats are all secretly Jesus-hating communists.

This election, however, none of the GOP's scripted game-changing moments were able to derail the Obama campaign. Indeed, it could be argued that many of the non-game-changers (See: Palin, Sarah) actually worked in Obama's favor. Here, then, are the five most uneventful events that did not decisively help McCain win the election:

Non-Game Changer #5: A crazed Obama supporter did not carve a backward "B" into a McCain staffer's face.

At first, the Ashley Todd saga seemed like the perfect way to shift the election momentum back to McCain. Here, after all, was a young white woman who had been robbed and assaulted by a crazed black Obama supporter who went so far as to mutilate her face when he learned she was working for McCain. Matt Drudge blared Todd's "shock" story at the top of his home page and showed a picture of the poor young conservative with a black eye and a backward "B" carved into her face. Some of the dimmer right-wing bloggers such as Red State's Erick Erickson jumped all over the story and proclaimed that the media were to blame for Todd's alleged assault because they had "cooked up tales about Republican verbal violence" at McCain rallies. Obama also took his share of the blame because he had urged his supporters to get in opponents' faces and aggressively defend their positions and beliefs.

Todd's story, of course, was such obvious bullshit that even Michelle Malkin expressed skepticism about it. While this didn't stop the McCain campaign from actively pushing it to the media, it did ensure that the non-story had a nonexistent shelf life... /


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