A Short History of Recent U.S. Presidential Politics - Part 6: Barack Obama Mimics the Media's Fraudulent Campaign against Al Gore
In previous posts [see Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5] I discussed historical analogies comparing the 2000 and 2008 Presidential campaigns. In Part 4, I outlined Sen. Obama's "textbook campaign" against Hillary Clinton - a textbook that was most recently written by Bill Bradley in his campaign against Al Gore in 1999/2000. What is rather amazing is that Sen. Obama's textbook campaign is also using the same phraseology that the traditional media used against Vice President Al Gore in Campaign 2000! Not only did the media paint Gore falsely as a liar over their own fabrications and over Bradley's false attacks on Gore's character (see Part 2 and Part 3 to see how Sen. Obama has copied this tactic against Sen. Clinton), the media also painted Gore even more negatively as an "attacker" when he tried to rebut the false claims against him by Bill Bradley (and subsequently by George Bush). In this post, I will focus on how Sen. Obama is also copying this strategy in textbook fashion.
In response to Sen. Clinton's justifiable charge this weekend against Sen. Obama that he has not been truthful about his own positions (my post below from this morning), Sen. Obama's campaign published the following on their new website unveiled this morning (h/t B Merry; emphasis mine, please go to the website for the URLs embedded in the post):
THE HILLARY ATTACKS TIMELINE
December 03, 2007
Clinton Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle Attacked Obama TV Ad Discussing Health Struggle of Obama's Mother. "I am writing concerning a false advertisement you are currently airing..." [Letter from Patti Solis Doyle, 11/30/07]
New York Times: "Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, which is now attacking Senator Barack Obama on a daily basis." [New York Times, 11/30/07]
Boston Globe: "Clinton yesterday launched one of her most pointed attacks yet against chief rival Barack Obama" [Boston Globe, 11/29/07]
[...followed by 18 more mentions of the word "ATTACK" and corresponding links/comments!]
Well, well, well. Let's just say a few of us do remember history, thanks to Bob Somerby (post from 2004, emphasis in original):
All the stoolpigeons knew what to say when Bush announced his vague, pleasing principles. Bush was showing bold leadership, they said, and Gore was being disturbingly negative. How goon-like was the corps script-reading? Here are excerpts from three cable discussions. The script about Gore? He was being too negative. It was all just attack, attack, attack:Hardball, MSNBC, May 5, 2000:Almost knee-jerk, Russert said, describing his own reaction.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Norah, lets start in talking about this amazing campaign. Who would have believed that George W. Bush would have looked so clean and so good right now after that bruising fight with John McCain? Hes up five points in a number of polls this week, and yet you see Al Gore picking away at him with these left jabs of his Its the same thing he did to Bill Bradleyattack, attack, attack.
Russert, CNBC, May 6, 2000:
JOE KLEIN: The concern I have about the Gore campaign is that he has learned one lesson and hes kind of becoming a one-trick pony.
TIM RUSSERT: Attack. Attack. Attack.
KLEIN: Attack. Attack.
RUSSERT: Governor Bush put forward a Social Security plan calling for a partial privatizing, and he attacks, saying that is risky Whywhywhy does Gore just, almost knee-jerk, attack, attack, attack?
Inside Politics, CNN, May 17, 2000:
CHARLES COOK: For Governor Bush, its a chance to show sort of bold leadership But at the same time, getting into that area is certainly a risky thing and its going to test all of George Bushs abilities of persuasion to sell this, because Al Gore is very good at the attack, just look at what he did to Bill Bradley on health care
BERNARD SHAW: What comes to mind, Stu?
STUART ROTHENBERG: Well, in general, he has been attacking for months now and theres been a lot of criticism that hes been overly negative. Once again, here, attack, attack.
More from Somerby, below the fold.
Rothenberg was right about one thing, of course; there had been a lot of criticism of Gores disturbing behavior. Indeed, The Storeboughts all knew they should criticize Gore for his troubling criticism of Bush. For a four-part critique of the clownish way your press corps covered Soc Sec during Campaign 2000, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/15/02, along with the three HOWLERS which follow it.
LOOK WHOS ATTACK-ATTACK-ATTACKING: Mort and Fred were pimping the script even before Bush announced his high principles. Here they are on The Beltway Boys on April 30, 2000:KONDRACKE (4/30/00): Look, the dynamic here is perfectly obvious. Gore is behind in all the polls, so he's doing what worked with Bill Bradley, attack attack attack, and, you know, and he's hoping that it'll work on George W. Bush. The difference is that George W. Bush is not going to take it forever. I mean, George W. knows how to counterpunch, and I predict soon that he'll start doing it.Amazing, isnt it, to see the way these goons all agree to recite the same points? As Mort said, the dynamic was perfectly obvious all through the spring of this year.
BARNES: Yes, he's not going to be the guy on the ropes just getting punched. No rope-a-dope for him. But look, Gore was attack attack attacking, and he's—in the beginning, and now he's been going down as a result of that attack attack attacking. He doesn't—I don't think he knows how to deal with Bush, who doesn't want to really get—engage him in a back-and-forth, wisely.
On this program, the boys were disturbed because Gore had attacked Bushs tax cut proposal. So they attack-attack-attacked him, and, within a matter of weeks, do did the stooges excerpted above. With the exception of two brief periods, this is the way your press corps behaved from March 1999 through November 2000. After that, they began to ponder: How had Gore lost the election?
More at the bottom of this post by Somerby. I find it disappointing and disturbing that Sen. Obama, who seems to have a penchant to please the Tim Russerts of the world by endorsing their fake crises, finds it acceptable to also copy the traditional media's attacks on Al Gore in his campaign against Hillary Clinton. I would much rather see a response to Sen. Clinton's criticisms on the merits (which is obviously hard for them just as it was hard for Bill Bradley) than this transparently cheap shot copied from Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, Joe Klein, More Kondracke and Fred Barnes - and George Bush's - campaign against Al Gore.