In May 2005, Vanity Fair published a brilliant article about the ’04 election and the Republican Noise Machine, by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — The Disinformation Society.
I was thinking about what Obama said on Face The Nation today that “he didn’t expect immunity from Republican attacks, but could diffuse them with his message of unity and capacity to surmount party divides,” and wondering if he is really that clueless about how the Republican Noise Machine really works?
“I think that creates a different climate,” Obama said, like warm and sunny optimism will diffuse the onslaught. I just got to say though, does he actually think that they will care about his “message of unity”? Good gracious. Someone needs to throw this man a lifeline before he sinks us all.
Obama’s bright and woefully misplaced optimism came coupled with his usual doublespeak about how “Republicans consider her [Clinton] a polarizing figure.” And I am just curious why no one ever says: you know Mr. Obama, when you say that you are creating polar-ism within your own party.
Obama’s statements on Face The Nation were in response to comments Hillary Clinton made on This Week, where she “questioned Obama’s capacity to weather Republican attacks in November’s general election.”
“Frankly, you know, in his prior election in Illinois, Senator Obama didn’t face anyone who ran attack ads against him. He ran against a very weak opponent, without resources or credibility,” she told ABC’s “This Week” show.
“I’ve been taking the incoming fire from Republicans for about 16 years now, and I’m still here, because I have been vetted, I have been tested,” she said.
Maybe I am just too cynical to “join” the happy “hope” and “unity” club that is the Obama movement and I feel more comfortable grounded in the reality that Hillary Clinton has been tested, she has been vetted and she has stood her ground with the Noise Machine for 16 years. “Join” they say — but some of us want a leader, not a club.
John Kerry didn’t see the Swift Boaters coming. He thought, like Obama does now that positive message about hope would get us through the ’04 election. It didn’t quite work that way. They will come for Barack Obama if he is the nominee with both barrels of the Noise Machine blaring.
And the truth is even if Republican’s do find Obama appealing now, they are in fact harboring the hope that “he can reach beyond his ideology,” and “demonstrate his independence from liberal orthodoxy.” In other words, the pressure will be on Obama, if he manages to become our next president, to give up his progressive, liberal ways (which already aren’t all that progressive anyway). As it is, Obama has already set himself up for a war the Republicans on health care because of his stubborn thinking on mandates:
If Mr. Obama gets to the White House and tries to achieve universal coverage, he’ll find that it can’t be done without mandates — but if he tries to institute mandates, the enemies of reform will use his own words against him.
And that’s just one issue that Obama’s stance doesn’t quite add up, but it’s one we’ve been fighting for, for far too long. So, if you want universal health-care to become a reality, think about this from Paul Krugman:
If you combine the economic analysis with these political realities, here’s what I think it says: If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance — nobody knows how big — that we’ll get universal health care in the next administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won’t happen.
The bottom line… the kumbaya’s and “yes we can‘s” won’t keep the Noise Machine at bay and neither will they ensure that we’ll have a happy bi-partisan Congress making all our dreams come true. It just won’t happen.
There will be no “Getting Past the ’60s” regardless of what Obama says now to the throngs that turn out to be part of the movement. The divisions will remain and in reality we will find that, “a President Obama could no more magically transcend America’s ’60s-born divisions than McCarthy, Kennedy, Nixon or McGovern could, for the simple reason that our society is defined as much by its arguments as by its agreements.”
There is no escaping the ’60’s it appears, even for Barack Obama.
And going full circle back to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., one simply needs to read his article linked above to understand why he chose to follow a different path from the one other Kennedy’s have followed in supporting Barack Obama (now including Maria Shriver). Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., understands full well the power of the Republican Noise Machine and he clearly gets that Hillary Clinton is the one to beat them at their own game.
Obama’s defense against the Noise Machine doesn’t wash and there’s too damn much that doesn’t add up.
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* Cross posted at The Huffington Post.