Thursday, May 17, 2012

Republicans plan all-out smear campaign tying Obama to Jeremiah Wright (updated)

By Michael J.W. Stickings 


The Times is reporting that "[a] group of high-profile Republican strategists" is planning a vicious assault on President Obama that would involve "running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign." The campaign would be financed by right-wing billionaire (and Cubs owner) Joe Ricketts.

In a copy of the plan -- called "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good” -- obtained by the Times, the strategists write that the campaign would "do exactly what John McCain would not let us do."

Which is to say, go brutally nasty in their efforts to destroy Obama, in this case with a not-so-subtly racist effort to link the president to Wright, and selectively to every questionable thing he has ever said, reinforcing the right-wing narrative that Obama, the black Obama, is a dangerous anti-American leftist.

You know what? It's not going to work. We've been here before, in 2008. Back then, Candidate Obama distanced himself from Wright, as he was right to do, and outside of right-wing circles there's no interest in rehashing any of this, particularly given how blatantly racist it is (so much so that the plan includes a a blatantly racist proposal to hire, as cover, an "extremely literate conservative African-American” for some black-on-black attacks). Anyone who would be impressed with such a campaign is already going to vote Republican, and there's no way it would attract much-needed support from independents. 

BREAKING: Ricketts has reportedly rejected the plan. This follows the Romney campaign's repudiation of it earlier today (though there may have been support for it privately; once it went public, Romney pretty much had to come out quickly and object to it, though he himself brought up Wright earlier this year).

So that's it, right? Of course not. This particular plan may be dead, but you can be sure Republicans will go nasty even as Romney himself tries to stay somewhat above the fray, preferring to lie about the president and his policies instead of engaging in broad character assassination. They just can't help themselves. It's who they are, and it's all the worse now given how vindictively they hate Obama, a president who throughout his first ten has advanced a moderate, often Republican-leaning agenda but who is nonetheless viewed on the right as the second coming of Che Guevara.

What's more, the point is that some leading Republican strategists, with loads of money at their disposal, actually wanted to do this, actually wanted to take their assault on the president even deeper into the gutter.

As Steve Benen writes, this is "a reminder that many Republicans have never heard the adage about the futility of fighting the last war." And it shows that Republicans don't think they can win on the issues. "[A] project like the Ricketts Plan would likely represent the most shameless effort to play the race card this year. If the right were confident about defeating the president on the issues, it wouldn't feel the need to exploit racial animus. This plan, in other words, comes across as rather desperate."

To me, it's also yet another reminder that in politics the right is populated by abhorrent people who do and say abhorrent things.

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  • If the birthers proved Obama was not a native born American what would happen?

    If he followed the Clinton precedent he would refuse to leave office, force the GOP to impeach, rip the country apart and squander years of Democratic control of the White House.

    But what he ought to do is just resign.

    Joe Biden, I hear, was born in the USA and is a much better liberal, really, than Obama ever was.

    Per the constitution he would step into the job as president.

    And that would work out pretty well.

    Anyway, better than the alternative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:43 PM  

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