By rights I should be torn about who to support in today’s election. I’m a Jesse Ventura politically; socially liberal, fiscally conservative, uncomfortable-looking in a suit. I should want the Democrats to win to help people who need it and to stop laws trying to govern my morality. I should want the Republicans to win to keep budgets in check and, ironically, to stop laws trying to govern my morality. And yet I can’t conceive of supporting the Republicans, because they’ve demonstrated over many years far more interest in managing my bedroom than managing the government checkbook. I now know that both parties would take my money, but at least the Democrats will claim to try to help people with it; the Republicans will just give it to their friends.
So to win people like me over the Republicans needed to do two things. First, they had to show that they are what they’ve traditionally claimed to be. Second, they had to show that Democrats are what they’ve traditionally been stereotyped to be. I’m not sure how they could achieve the former – fool me once shame on you, fool me a couple of trillion times and I won’t be fooled again – but it’s what I want to see. I want to know what YOU are going to do, how YOU will fix problems (even if that’s by getting out of the way), how YOU will make me safer/richer/happier (again, even if that’s just the two words ‘limited government’). And then you can spend a little time attacking Obama as a Democrat, without being particularly negative, on issues like balanced budgets, abortion (yes, even for a liberal like me), experience (overrated, but still an issue), and standing up to the power structures in the country (what used to be a strength for McCain, and seems a weakness for Obama).
Instead what I’ve seen from the Republican side is:
Obama thinks he’s Jesus
Obama is a socialist (seriously, get a dictionary)
Obama is a terrorist
Obama knows scary people
Obama is a political climber (imagine that from a politician)
Obama lacks experience (I know I mentioned that above, but then you nominated Palin and killed the argument)
Obama hates America
Obama’s wife hates America
Obama isn’t an American (seriously?)
Obama hates plumbers
Obama is a Muslim
Obama is elitist (I love this coming from the political elites)
Look at this Soviet/Maoist-style poster with Obama in it
And the list goes on. I understand the desire to belittle your opponent – the left certainly likes to make cheap and sometimes cruel jokes about Republicans – but I want more. If the media doesn’t want to play (I think most of the apparent bias of US media is because they’re useless, not because they’re partisan, but there’s certainly something there) then go to the people direct, or repeat yourself until they have to report on it, or shout louder, or tweak your message. Don’t lower yourself or demean yourself or stand around whining. Do better, because democracy deserves better.