Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Political Tourette's Syndrome

First of all, I'm pretty shocked that the bailout bill failed to get approval in the House yesterday. When they announced on Sunday that a deal had been struck I just kind of assumed that, well, a deal had been struck. Usually that means that people agree. Apparently, this time it meant something else. So we'll stay tuned and see how things go today, but yesterday was not a glorious day in the history of U.S. finance or politics.

I wish I could say I was shocked (though I'm not) about the McCain campaign's immediate attacks against the Obama campaign. As a McCain advisor said, "This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country." Funny, I thought it was the huge number of Representatives voting against the bill that caused it to fail. But what do I know? Somehow McCain is trying to claim credit for the bulk of the substance of the bailout (despite not really being involved in the negotiations) and then blame Obama for it not passing. I'm not even sure what the supposed logic on this is. And the putting politics ahead of country line is just ridiculous.

It seems lately that the McCain campaign has been suffering from a form of political Tourette's Syndrome. At random times they just burst out with "Obama puts politics ahead of country!" or "All attacks on Palin are sexist!" It's like they can't help it. Facts and circumstances don't matter because "Obama is going to raise your taxes!"

My favorite example of political Tourette's from the McCain campaign is their labeling of the first Tina Fey as Sarah Palin sketch as sexist. As explained by a top McCain advisor, "The portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial. I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and yes, I would say, sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance."

To be clear, the argument goes that because Palin is being parodied as less substantive than Clinton, it is a sexist parody. Maybe someone missed the word that Clinton is also female. Saying one female is less qualified than another is not sexist. The argument doesn't even make sense on the face of it. Never mind that there's a pretty good case to be made that in fact Clinton actually is more qualified than Palin.

I write this, but I know that it doesn't really matter. Tourette's is not something that you can help. It just happens. Hopefully when this election is over the McCain campaign will have a nice, relaxing four years to sit back in Arizona and look for a cure.

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