Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Smearing the Smearable

Well it looks like the honeymoon is over for Obama.  The media thought he was the second coming of Jesus Christ just a few weeks ago, but as Carpetbagger shows us, things have changed.  And all the nitpicking on Obama’s “problems” really leads to one big fact: The media has once again fallen for the idea that there is some perfect unsmearable candidate without any flaws, and that it’s their job to smear all the smearable candidates as much as possible.

Because it’s the same thing again and again.  The media likes somebody and gives them special attention.  The GOP cranks up their smear machine against the guy.  And before you know it, the media has adopted a few of these smears as holy gospel.  And they’ll even admit that it’s not the individual smears that sink the guy.  It’s the fact that they’re smearable that does it.  People are saying negative things about them, and some of them stick.  It doesn’t even matter if the smears are irrelevant, untrue, or absurd.  All that matters is that they stick.

And now the conventional wisdom is hardening against Obama as they’re sinking their teeth into the new gospel.  He turned out to have some extremely insignificant flaws, and to the media, those are the worst kind.  Egregious and important lies are understandable.  But he wrote something in a book that seems to be mistaken.  So that’s the end, at least as far as the media is concerned.

And again, none of this would be important if the media acknowledged that nobody’s perfect and that anyone can be smeared.  All a smear takes is repetition.  Say something enough times, and it’ll stick.  Every fifth grader knows that.  On the playground, something as simple as repeating somebody’s name in a weird voice is enough to make a kid run away crying.  And the Republicans take full advantage of that.  

And there won’t be any candidate who is smearproof.  There’s always something bad to say about everybody, even if it’s just their name.  Even Jesus Christ would get dragged through the mud, were he to run as a Democrat.  Were he to perform miracles to prove his identity, they’d accuse him of staging cheap tricks; and if he refused to perform miracles, they’d insist he was a fraud.  Hell, they’d even nail him for being a Christian running in a pro-abortion party and perhaps even try to get his church to deny him communion (He couldn’t eat himself).  

Overall, there’s nothing a Democrat can do to avoid the smear machine, because the primary smear is that they’re Democrats.  And to the self-loathing former Democrats in the media, that’s one of the worst.  Because they still want to consider themselves to be Dems, but don’t like the company they keep.  So they have to find silly flaws in the people they’re supposed to vote for and marginalize the Democrats who they don’t agree with.  That’s how they rationalize their conversion to the right.

And needless to say, Republicans are already inoculated against all this.  Because they don’t run as perfect candidates.  They run as greedy and powerful con-artists who are only pretending to be perfect.  And so pointing out that they’re greedy and powerful con-artists would be pointless.  Because everyone already knows it.  Hell, I think they print it on their business cards.  

And so for them, it’s much better to go along with the story that they’re perfect, because that’s news.  “Greedy Guy Acts Greedy” is a lousy headline.  “Perfect Candidate Not Perfect” is a good headline.  And so that’s what the media goes with.  When Obama was a new face, that was the story.  Now they’ve got a new story.  They’re keeping it fresh.  And perhaps if they can somehow find that a Republican candidate isn’t a dishonest hack, maybe they’ll print that story.  But until then, we’ll just keep getting stories about how Democrats aren’t perfect and sometimes do things that the dishonest Republicans do all the time.  Because that’s news.

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