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"Redistribution" is This Year's "I Voted For It Before I Voted Against It"...Almost

Posted by: David Kiley on October 28, 2008

The similarities are astonishing, like the melody of “He’s So Fine” and “My Sweet Lord.”

For more than a week, the McCain campaign has been trying to make hay of a comment Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama said on a ropeline at a rally to the now famous “Joe The Plumber.” It was an exchange that lasted 3:41 minutes as captured here on youtube.

Out of that entire exchange, McCain’s people snatched, “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Obama’s context was crystal clear; that he felt that by lowering the taxes of middle class people, and asking the top 5% of wage earners to pay a bit more—the same rate they paid under Clinton before the Bush tax cuts—the broader economy will benefit.

The campaign has been pounding this one sentence as a Marxist sampler of Obama’s “true agenda” in the hopes that it gets traction. Oy.

The common denominator between now and 2004 is McCain’s chief strategist Steve Schmidt, who successfully distorted John Kerry’s infamous line, “I voted for it before I voted against it,” for G.W. Bush to paint Kerry as a flip-flopper. It worked. The line resonated for the last two months of the election, and was repeated ad nauseum by the media…without context.

The charges of “socialism” and even “communism” leveled at Obama by McCain and his surrogates in recent days are so over-the-top that the legitimate news media is forced to cover them. On TV, that inevitably means that the snippet of video gets replayed over and over. No TV station has the patience or interest in running the whole 5:47 of course, just the one sentence that the McCain campaign is making noise about.

It’s debatable whether the socialism stuff is denting Obama’s lead in any polls at all. What is worth noting is that Steve Schmidt’s trade is in pure distortion. It’s a tawdry profession to be in. After all, Kerry’s line was simply an explanation to a rally that he had voted for an Iraq appropriations bill in committee, but voted against it later when it was larded down with features, such as no-bid contracts for Halliburton. Seems like a reasonable vote.

Using such terms as socialist and even communist after conflating a simple sentence to try and make it mean what Steve Schmidt would like it to mean????It’s desperate…and as I said…tawdry. It’s worse than his handy work in 2004. And I didn’t think that was possible for the Karl Rove protege (Schmidt supposedly hates that term despite the fact the he is Karl Rove’s protege).

Walter Mondale was advised in the last month of campaigning against Ronald Reagan in 1984, when he saw the writing on the wall, to campaign like you want your grandkids to remember you. It’s a pity that those same advisors can’t get John McCain’s ear.

Reader Comments


October 28, 2008 7:55 PM

Stick to branding, dude. You're missing the mark on this one and sounding more & more bitter.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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