By: ANTHONY M. BROWN
Oh no he di-ent… Oh yes he did.
This past Monday, Barack Obama's 47th birthday, his campaign finally got wise – attack ads work! No matter how much we Democrats don't want to admit it, the Rasmussen daily tracking poll that day, for the first time in the presidential contest, showed McCain in front of Obama, even if only by a point. If you believe in polls, then the only reason why this happened now is John McCain's recent spate of attack ads that ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime.
In the face of poll numbers that had been lagging all year and an increasingly angry tone, McCain thrilled political watchdogs last week with a never-ending cavalcade of flip-flops and, oh yes, those fabulous attack ads, while continuing to maintain that he is the “straight talk” candidate and that Obama doesn't know the first thing about being a leader.
Last week, McCain stood by his “Barack = Britney,” “Obama = Moses,” and “Obama caused high gas prices” TV spots, which were decried even by some on the Republican side as either irrelevant and silly or inaccurate. But isn't the real story that McCain is so scared and desperate that he is falling back on the good-ole-boy Republican campaign tactics that he swore he would never use?
Maybe his panic has something to do with the fact that a Washington Post/ Harvard/ Kaiser Family Foundation poll released this week showed Obama with a ten-point lead over McCain with white, working class voters. Yes, those same voters that have often, in recent elections, voted Republican and have always been thought of as a fallback constituency for Mr. Straight Talk.
Panic could indeed explain the increasing intensity of McCain's issue inconsistency. And the flip-flops keep on coming. Take a deep breath – here's a recap:
Torture, special interest political influence, campaign finance reform, Jerry Falwell, Iraq, abortion, Ethanol, Bush tax cuts, marriage equality, gun control, the Confederate flag, Moqtada al-Sadr, housing relief, his relations with the press, estate taxes, wiretaps, immigration reform, social security, Hurricane Katrina investigations, and, of course, offshore drilling.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was recently asked to join the Obama Campaign's National LGBT Steering and Policy Committee, and I am a married gay man. My position is clear. That said, McCain's inconsistencies are apparent to anyone who pays attention.
Message to the press: that means you!
And does anyone really think that the press is favoring Barack Obama when there are so few news organizations talking about how fact-challenged John McCain really is? If you want it, you have to search for the truth on your own. I mean seriously, when Katie Couric, on the July 22 edition of “The CBS Evening News,” recently asked McCain to comment on Obama's statements that the impact of the Sunni Awakening made it difficult to assess the specific success of the troop surge, fact-challenged McCain got the time-line wrong on air. CBS edited the interview, covering his blunder. They edited the interview! You can only see the real response on YouTube: search on “McCain Couric interview.”
Not only did CBS edit out his incorrect response, its producers interspliced his statement calling Obama's patriotism into his response .
And McCain still complains that the press favors his opponent.
And if you ever thought that McCain wasn't towing, perhaps even helping to craft the Bush PR rationale for going to war with Iraq, do a search on YouTube using the words: “McCain Letterman anthrax.”
That's right folks. Barely a month after 9/11, McCain was asserting the anthrax sent to several news sources, which we now know was most likely the idiot workings of a government scientist who just committed suicide, might have come from Iraq. Should that prove to be the case, McCain told a credulous Letterman, “That's when some tough decisions are gong to have to be made.”
You'll never see that on the network news. So if you are really looking for the truth, dig deep. It's out there and you can be sure that you won't get it from the major sources. Because they are all repeating the mantra that Obama may be inexperienced, which is just what the Republicans want. As long as this election is a referendum about Barack Obama, Democrats will lose.
So when your right-leaning friend or family member starts talking about how Obama has too little in his résumé, is not ready to lead, or has an inflated ego, turn the conversation around to McCain's inability to have a consistent opinion on anything, or his 95 percent Republican party-line voting record, or his lack of basic knowledge about foreign affairs – especially Iraq! – or his distract and divide ad strategy which his own campaign disavows…
Those are the points Democrats have to make by November if we're going to win.
Anthony M. Brown worked for Nan Hunter, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, and helped prepare the brief for Lawrence v. Texas in the summer of 2002. He heads the Nontraditional Family and Estates Law division at McKenna, Siracusano & Chianese and is the executive director of The Wedding Party. He can be reached at Brown@msclaw.net.