FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Code Words: John McCain Is Doubleplus Unyoung
What Passes For Original Thought Among The Netroots
If ever you wanted a perfect illustration of the difference between the coordinated, top-down nature of the activism of the online Left and the way normal people think and write, check out Jim Geraghty’s review of how they refer to John McCain:
The liberal blog The Carpetbagger Report uses the word “confused” in almost every post about McCain; same deal at ThinkProgress. At AmericaBlog, the words “McCain” and “confused” have appeared together 108 times. DailyKos.com, hundreds.
As Geraghty notes, this is an unsubtle effort to suggest by sheer repetition that the 71-year-old McCain is doddering and senile (based on little more than his age and the fact that, like most politicians, he is subject to occasional verbal stumbles while talking, and talking, and talking, and talking for hours on end every day), and it has also been repeatedly deployed by the Obama campaign itself, including both the nominee (the guy who thinks we have 57 states, thinks Afghans speak Arabic and once told a crowd that 10,000 people had died in a tornado in Kansas) and his surrogates (Joe Biden and John Kerry, neither of whom is exactly a stranger to confusion). There is not even the remotest chance that this is all a coincidence, coming from the sorts of folks who routinely practice Googlebombing and coordinate their message – or silence – with email groups covering multiple blogs; rather, it appears that the likes of ThinkProgress (two lies for the price of one!) and the Carpetbagger Report have put their very vocabularies in hock to the Obama campaign’s ‘message’ operation.
It matters not whether those bloggers actually believe that McCain is perenially “confused,” just as it matters not whether they believe what they are saying when they apply the term “McSame” to a man so well-known for butting heads with President Bush and the GOP base that Jonathan Chait once called him “the most effective advocate of the Democratic agenda in Washington”. What matters is the mere repetition of the campaign’s talking points, whatever they happen to be at a particular time, in the hopes that by doing so they can turn these shiny objects into conventional wisdom – today it’s “McSame” or “confused,” tomorrow it’s whatever other message Obama’s marketing department desires them to sell.
We on the Right occasionally aspire to hammer a consistent theme against an opponent. But these sorts of efforts never achieve the levels of disingenuous groupthink found on the Left – we don’t have the coordination, and more importantly we have more people interested in using their own independent critical faculties and their own words than in repeating whatever precise verbal formulations are focus-grouped by the leadership.