Not to step all over my esteemed cob logger here, but as he appears to have again lapsed into a poppy & banana peel tea-induced trance in front of the only working laptop here at PMI headquarters, it appears I have no choice. (Ah, Thursdays.) Now, my hatred for Thers and all his devilish works and pomps is both deep and abiding, but he comes perilously close to making a good point right here:
So what the Obama campaign did — essentially ruin a wingnut radio show intended to help launch a smear into legitimacy, by getting loads of people to call in and abuse [Wanker Stanley] Kurtz for being a creep — was brilliant hard-nosed politics, as it insures that the Obama “this Annenberg stuff is bullshit” message is always going to be locked in with the smear. This kind of mass-mobilization tactic is not something that Gore or Kerry had in their playbook, and Clinton would probably have been more than happy to have had it available to him at various moments in the 1990s. It’s using wingnut and Freeper weapons against them, and you know what? It’s about goddamn time. (I also like it that the Obama campaign is going after the absurd “501” group producing similar [SOHNEHO]-related smears.)
And it is nice that the Obama camp is going after Republican ratfuckers, because the alternative is that nobody goes after them, and that is worse. Only, they shouldn’t have to. The McCain camp is able to attack Obama through motivated, independently-operating (and, yes, in many cases well-compensated) surrogates, and yet the Obama campaign has to identify and coordinate the response internally, effectively engaging them on their own level. They must pursue Kurtz into wingnut talk radio – the savage Heart of Wankness – while McCain can lay around just getting his fugue on. That this is an improvement over the last eight years (at least) of Democratic campaigning goes a very long way towards explaining why this country is in the state it is in.
It is my experience that non-wingnut campaign commentary – by which I mean quality traditional media and nominally Democratic-partisan blogs and suchlike – comes in two flavors: What-I-Think-Obama-Should-Do, and The-Popular-Media-Isn’t-Doing-A-Very-Good-Job. These can be good points or bad points depending on the particulars involved, but the one thing they have in common is that they are ineffectual. They run headlong into two fairly immoveable counterpoints: You-Don’t-Run-The-Obama-Campaign and The-Popular-Media-Doesn’t-Care-What-You-Think, respectively. This isn’t to say they any less edifying as topics of conversation, or that people shouldn’t edify themselves as best they can, but it is to say that the World Is as it Is, and saying that it should be one way or another is unlikely to change it.
On the other hand, one thing that Republican-partisan media – from FOX News to National Review hacks down to the semi-acquaintance who won’t stop sending you mass emails about Barack Hussein Os/bama being an UnAmerican Moorish Musselman – is very good at is messaging, and messaging can create the environment for effective politics. It creates the subtext. Consider how little McCain has to actually say in order to – for example – question Obama’s patriotism (and notice how the forceful activist “netroots” response is to … offer unsolicited advice about what Obama should do about it.) McCain simply has to wave in the direction of these pre-established narratives, never has to do the hard, ugly, unpleasant work of putting them in place. That bit – the ratfucking – is done for him. To the extent that Obama and high-level surrogates do engage in a little tentative rat foreplay, the counterfucking – the “ratcockblocking”, if you will – is done by eager volunteers. Nobody waits around for the McCain campaign to tell them what to do, and nobody writes out terribly-well-thought-out lists of reasons why people shouldn’t believe the hype. They drown it out and get back on message. One side sits back, one side engages. One side wins, one side loses. This is not a coincidence.
It is unrealistic to expect anyone who has a real job, a family, etc. to waste as much time as Wankathlete Stanley Kurtz on this shit, because he gets paid to do it, and we do not. But we can probably waste some fraction of the time that freelance Republican mass-emailers do. Or we can not, and keep losing. This decision is not up to the Obama campaign or MSNBC – it is really entirely up to us. Start a Ratfucker’s Local Union Chapter. Get fucking.
… Adding: I’ve been drifting away from using the word ‘wanker’, as it is a bit of a relic from a bygone age, but it works really well as a sort of informal markup tag. If you are looking for dirt on any wingnut, Googling ‘”Wingnut’s Name” + wanker’ is a very effective filter. Especially when you’ve fucked your archives.