Monday, April 21, 2008

Obama is no Kerry; or, how to respond to being swift-boated

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I liked Kerry a great deal, and supported him enthusiastically in '04, but Obama, in preparing for the fight ahead, is going to be a whole lot tougher in response to the Republican Smear Machine (RSM):

The Obama campaign is planning to expand its research and rapid-response team in order to repel attacks it anticipates over his ties to 1960s radical Bill Ayers, indicted developer Antoin Rezko and other figures from his past. David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, tells NEWSWEEK that the Illinois senator won't let himself be "Swift Boated" like John Kerry in 2004. "He's not going to sit there and sing 'Kumbaya' as the missiles are raining in," Axelrod said. "I don't think people should mistake civility for a willingness to deal with the challenges to come." The move appears to be an acknowledgment that the Obama campaign may not have moved aggressively enough when questions about Ayers and Rezko first arose, and it comes amid fresh indications that conservative groups are preparing a wave of attack ads over the links.

I hope Axelrod is right. Maybe it helps that Obama has had to contend with the Clinton Smear Machine these past few months: anticipation of, and preparation for, what is to come to a far worse degree.

Of course, if last Wednesday's debate was any indication -- and it was -- Obama will also have to contend with major media outlets, and not just Fox News, that give McCain a free pass while gleefully acting as scandal-mongers and sensationalizers, as assassins of Democratic character, and as willful or ignorant mouthpieces for the RSM.

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