Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain's Two Americas

John McCain isn't a movement conservative, so these things don't come naturally to him. But let me offer him some advice, based on my long-time watching of movement conservatives (by way of this piece):

Saying that certain parts of America are "real" is okay in certain circumstances. If you want to go to Indiana and say, "This is real America," the statement is not objectionable because Indiana really is America. So is New York City, for that matter. The subtext of such a statement is that New York City isn't really America, and there is some pretty subtle but palpable division going on there. Ultimately, though, such sentiments are so banal that they don't even really count as offensive anymore.

Things get trickier, though, when you actually go out and say that certain parts of states are the "real" area of that state, or that New York City (and Washington DC!) are not really parts of America. These things are supposed to remain an implicit part of your pitch. They're supposed to pass the ego and hit the id. When you state them explicitly, it just makes you sound like a divider, and even a lot of people who might agree are going to be taken aback to hear their prejudices rendered in such relief.

Plus, John McCain just shouldn't be doing these things. They're not his forte. It's a different generation, a different mindset. He's not a divider at heart, and that's why these attacks are so clunky. And that's not necessarily a compliment--one could easily say that he's too much of a coward to say this stuff to other people and stand by it, at least until now, when all decency has been varnished from John McCain.

Oh, and by the way, my McCain apologizing ended when I read the text of that Giuliani robocall. Before that, I was willing to argue that, for all of John McCain's sins, overt race-baiting is not one of them. And then I read that. McCain is trying to make crime an issue? Cause it isn't. But saying that Obama wants to let "murderers and rapists" walk free, and that he doesn't care about protecting families, is about as blatant a use of the race card imaginable in this day and age. The other robocalls were pretty minor--the Obama and Ayers stuff is tiresome and misleading, but oh well. The Giuliani one was wretched. This man has gone from one of our most respected politicians to a hateful laughingstock after running a vicious, divisive campaign.

You know something? That last sentence was about Giuliani, but doesn't it apply to Mac as well?

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.