Politics as usual?

Earlier today, I read this article by Bob Beckel making the strategic case for an Obama-Clinton ticket, and I found myself almost beginning to doubt the ferocity of my oft-stated belief that such a choice would be “wolf-face crazy.” Then I read the little biographical blurb at the bottom:

Bob Beckel managed Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign.

LOL! And Obama should take this guy’s advice on political strategy, why exactly? ;)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post‘s Dan Balz argues that, so far, McCain vs. Obama is politics as usual:

Whatever substance they may contain has been buried in negative counterattacks from the opposing camp, designed to turn ideas into stereotypes and candidates into caricatures. In the hands of Obama’s advisers, McCain is nothing more than the third coming of President Bush. To McCain’s staff, Obama is merely a liberal, naive, arrogant extension of what Democrats have been offering for years.

Gone in the early stages of this campaign is any sense of the uniqueness of the two nominees. McCain is certainly no garden-variety Republican and the historic possibilities of Obama’s candidacy cannot be overstated. But those realities have been submerged beneath a tactical shouting match that feeds the cable culture of contemporary politics.

Don’t blame the media for this. The campaigns have deliberately adopted postures of hyper-aggressiveness to set the early tone. The testosterone levels appear extremely high. No charge however small or incidental can go unanswered. No proposal, no matter how innocuous or provocative, can be discussed calmly or intelligently.

That led a McCain surrogate to respond to Obama’s comments on the rights of terrorist detainees, a topic on which reasonable people can differ, as “delusional.” It led to an Obama surrogate to describe as “stupid” the positions McCain has taken on the Iraq war, though it is clearly arguable that the surge strategy has helped to reduce violence and U.S. casualties. …

Of all the candidates who sought the presidency this year, McCain and Obama seemed the least likely to fall so quickly into old habits. The question is whether the opening weeks are a true reflection of their characters and the kind of campaigns they intended to run or a temporary departure.

(Hat tip: Halperin.)

6 Responses to “Politics as usual?”

  1. Jay Johnson says:

    To be fair to Beckel, I don’t know if anyone short of Jesus was going to have a chance to beat Reagan in 84.

  2. Joe Loy says:

    Yeah, Jay Johnson. / And Brendan, you gotta admit the Geraldine Ferraro thing was a pretty brilliant move :}.

    (But you are right, JJ. Against Reagan, Jesus would have pulled 400 electoral votes, Easy. :)

  3. Alasdair says:

    Elder Loy – just what was brilliant about “the Geraldine Ferraro thing “ ???

    Her presence on the tickets set respect for women back at least a couple of decades, in the political arena …

    Now, if it had been Bella Abzug, instead – *that* would have shown brilliance !

    Seriously, was Ferraro’s selection one of Karl Rove’s early ploys ?

  4. Angrier and Angrier says:

    “To be fair to Beckel, I don’t know if anyone short of Jesus was going to have a chance to beat Reagan in 84.”

    I think Jesus would have lost California.

  5. Jim says:

    I actually agree with this. I mean, I don’t think it’s illegitimate to occasionally point out the fact that mccain is just continuing bush policies, especially those which mccain used to oppose, but it’s been a little much.

  6. Andrew says:

    Obama is engaging in “politics as usual”? No kidding! First he race-baits and tells an audience at a fundraiser in Florida that GOP attacks on him for being inexperienced, liberal, and out of touch with average Americans are code for, “Shhh — Obama is black!” Then he flip-flops so many times in the last few weeks, he makes John Kerry look like he’s never seen an open-toed shoe before.