Sunday, June 15, 2008

Simple minds

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Speaking at a fundraiser in Philadelphia Friday night, and referring to his campaign against McCain, Obama said this:

If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. We don't have a choice but to win.

No big deal, right? Well, not to the simple minds of the McCain campaign. Over at McCain's website, Michael Goldfarb, formerly of The Weekly Standard and now McCain's deputy communications director notes Obama's "long track record as a proponent of stringent gun-control regulations," and wonders about a possible flip-flop.

Is Goldfarb being facetious? Maybe. (But maybe not.)

But the even simpler minds elsewhere on the right are making much ado about Obama's comment. For example:

-- AJStrata suggests that Obama is "acting more like a young teenage boy on hormones than a statesman."

-- Tammy Bruce maintains that Obama was "threatening the other presidential candidate with gun violence."

-- At Gina Cobb's place, someone called "DemocracyRules" (an ironic pseudonym for such a right-wing hack) claims that Obama was declaring "jihad." (I'm not making this up. Seriously.)

-- At Michelle Malkin's place, someone called "see-dubya" proposes "it was just meaningless rhetoric" -- although liberal democrats must be "squeal[ing] in fright that Obama was advocating violence against his political opponents and ushering in a police state" -- yet also brings up Obama's opposition to "concealed carry laws." (Right, because clearly we liberal democrats now think he's a fascist.)

(For more crazy reaction, see Memeorandum.)

Even Ed Morrissey, one of the few genuinely bright lights in the conservative blogosphere (and who has anything but a simple mind), thinks that Obama was trying "to macho up" (by channelling Sean Connery from The Untouchables).

Joe Gandelman finds such responses to Obama's comment, including one from the RNC that was similar to what Goldfarb wrote, "predictable." And, like liberals like Steve Benen and Jeff Fecke, Joe understands the difference between the literal and the figurative -- as well as what Obama was getting at:

He's indicating that unlike past Democratic nominees — with the exception of Bill Clinton — he's not going to wait to respond to attacks nor is he going to not counter an aggressive campaign with a campaign calibrated to be tough enough or tougher to counter any Republican attack.

*****

So Obama's channeling Connery is by no means a rejection of a campaign of hope and change. It's embracing a campaign that is planning to stay on equal footing with the Republicans, rather than allowing itself to become a doormat.

The RNC, the McCain campaign, and these various right-wing nuts (Ed excepted; he's not a nut) would have us believe that Obama has effectively abandoned his promise of a "new politics" for America.

Uh, no. Wrong.

As Joe argues, Obama was just promising to fight a tough campaign. (And you need to be tough if you're going to beat the ratfuckers who run the Republican smear machine.)

Not that we should be surprised by these abysmally clueless responses from the RNC, the McCain campaign, and the right-wing nuthouse. They can't distinguish the literal from the figurative, after all, and they certainly don't seem to grasp the whole metaphor thing.

Not even when an obvious one beats them over their partisan little heads.

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