Time for the Republicans to roll out their proven political strategy – attempt to distort everything the Democrats say into its worst possible interpretation. Expect to see a lot of more of it, but there are already two instances today.
Exhibit A – Joe Biden asks why the Republicans are opposed to stem cell research if they say they want to help parents of special needs children:
“Barack Obama’s running mate sunk to a new low today launching an offensive debate over who cares more about special needs children,” McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt said. “Playing politics with this issue is disturbing and indicative of a desperate campaign.”
Exhibit B – Barack Obama uses a well-worn saying to highlight that John McCain is just more of the same:
“It’s disgraceful. Sen. Obama owes Gov. Palin an apology,” Swift said.
“This is just the latest in a series of comments that females like me will find offensive . . . There’s only one woman in the race. It’s hard to think this was directed at anybody other than Gov. Palin.”
Setting aside the rank hypocrisy of it all, what the Republicans are going to try to do is minimise the extent to which this campaign is about issues. After creating distance from President Bush and getting through a party convention without needing to address the major policy concerns such as the economy and foreign policy, they will attempt to make this about which people the voters should choose. The questions that should be coming out of these two examples are:
- Why are the Republicans opposed to science? (not only stem cell research, but pushing intelligent design as an alternative to legitimate scientific theory of evolution, etc.)
- McCain and Palin talk about change – what do they claim they will actually do differently, and what evidence in their background suggests they would do so?
- Why are the Republicans so defensive about attempting to muffle criticism from the Democrats and the media?
By the way, there has been a very interesting line of discussion running through several US blogs today about the media’s role in political “narrative” – Glenn Greenwald’s piece is a good place to pick it up.