As I keyboard the NYSE hasn’t opened yet this morning, but word is that stocks are dropping hard in Europe and Asia. Little Lulu is whining — Wasn’t the bailout supposed to calm the financial markets? The magnitude of what’s happening in Economyland hasn’t sunk into her overheated little head.
The wingnuts are pushing the usual nonsense and trivia they use to derail elections. Little Green Footballs (to which I would rather not link) displays a photo of Bill Ayers standing on a flag that was taken in 2001, at a time that Barack Obama and Ayers were both serving on the board of the Woods Fund, a philanthropic organization in Chicago. This is the Right’s idea of a Serious Issue. (BTW, the photo, which was used with a feature on Ayers in the August 2001 issue of Chicago magazine, no doubt was a pose the magazine requested. That’s how these things usually work.)
For the remaining month of the campaign the names Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko and Rev. Wright will be chanted fervently on television and radio. They will slide into our email boxes and consume vast amounts of ink on newspaper op ed pages.
Oh, and taxes! liberal! boogaboogaboogabooga!!!!!
Even now top-level Republican strategists are meeting to discuss why Sarah Palin’s winks and “you betchas” are not moving the polls for McCain. It’ll be fun to see what they try next. Will they tone Palin down or ramp her up into an even more garish cartoon than she already is? Will Joe Lieberman be videoed crying real tears?
Michael Tomasky writes at The Guardian,
Pssst. Don’t spread it around too much, because there’s still a month to go and I don’t want to jinx things – but substance is in this year. …
… We are a country in decline. The decline is the result of the policies of the last eight years. Everyone outside of hardcore conservatives knows this. No candidate for president can utter the sentence “we are a country in decline”. America’s central myth about itself is that, unlike Rome or Austria-Hungary or (sorry) an earlier Britain, we are impervious to time’s vicissitudes and will always be numero uno. People now are worried that underneath that bravado, maybe we won’t be.
And so, substance matters. The public responses to the financial meltdown and the first two debates make this evident.
Why won’t the swiftboat tactics work this year?
Its easy to lose sight of it in the day to day coverage, but the collapse of Wall Street in the last weeks was a seminal event in the history of our nation and our politics. To put the crisis in perspective, Americans have lost a combined 1 trillion dollars in net worth in just the last four weeks alone. Just as President Bush’s failures in Iraq undermined his party’s historic advantage on national security issues, the financial calamity has shown the ruinous implications of the Republican mania for deregulation and slavish devotion to totally unfettered markets.
Republicans and Democrats have been arguing over the proper role of government for a century. In 1980 voters sided with Ronald Reagan and Republicans that government had become too big and intrusive. Then the economy worked in the Republicans’ favor. Today the pendulum has swung in our direction. Republican philosophies have been discredited by events. Voters understand this. This is a big election about big issues. McCain’s smallball will not work. This race will not be decided by lipsticked pigs. And John McCain can not escape that reality. The only unknowns are the size of the margin and the breadth of the Democratic advantage in the next Congress.
A lot can happen in a month, so it’s no time to get complacent. The election still will be closer than it ought to be because of racism. But over the next four weeks expect the Right to spin faster and further into utter irrelevance. They are starting to sound like a steward on the Titanic, shouting that if people don’t stop this nonsense about rowing out to sea in lifeboats they’ll miss out on dinner with the Captain.
See also — Roger Cohen has a genuinely awesome column today.