Should grass roots cut the green?

I expected the McCain campaign to lie and distort as a matter of course, but (call me naive) I was hoping for better from the Obama campaign — not only because Obama started and stayed on the high road for the most part, but because so much of his support comes from grass roots supporters who have been energized by the prospects of positive change he has been promising from the beginning. No presidential campaign in history has done a better job of engaging voters as participants — especially as sources of funding — than Obama’s.

But now we’re in politics’ Mud Season, and Obama’s road is as low as McCain’s — or maybe even lower. When I look at FactCheck.org and PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter, I see Obama shifting strategies. Even if he’s still uttering the uplifting aspirational rhetoric that first nourished his grass roots, it now looks like he and Biden now hope to win by out-fibbing their opponents. For examples look here, here, here and here. If I were a source of Obama funding, I’d be pissed at how my money is being spent.

So I have an idea for a new campaign by the grass roots of the Obama campaign: cut him off until he stops treating the grass roots as a gas well.

Whaddaya think?

Bonus link.

14 comments

  1. Jeff’s avatar

    Yes, we could do that.

    And run the risk that McCain wins and then within six months we will not only be completely broke, but also in another war.

    McCain is a war time president — can you actually imagine him serving as a peace time leader?

    There is no time for playing around. We need to dispatch this silly McCain/Palin ticket into political obscurity where it belongs.

  2. rjh’s avatar

    It’s too late. The “professionals” are running the races for both of them. Both have morphed into “candidates”. McCain’s morphing was just earlier. Only a few people recall the bile and venom that the religious right aimed at him, and that he returned, just a few years ago. Now it is all professional electioneering.

    In Massachusetts you have some real freedom. The electoral college outcome is a given. You are free to vote your conscience. There are enough minor party candidates that you can find one suitable for your “none of the above” vote. You don’t have to worry about their actual ability to govern because the Massachusetts electoral votes will be going to Obama regardless of what you do.

    At dinner last week 5 out of 7 of us had reached the conclusion that it was time for a none of the above vote. The other two will vote Obama. But the state is still a sure thing for Obama.

  3. Tom’s avatar

    Smacks of a Ralph Nader protest vote! And we got George W Bush! It’s a trifle late to reform anyone, the adage of switching horses in midstream and the economic crisis notwithstanding.

  4. Tan (makes indie clothing)’s avatar

    I agree that he should be cut off, but is that realistic? If he’s acting like this in the Mud Season (thanks for that) how do we think he’ll act when he’s in a more powerful position. Say, oh I don’t know, the President of the United States?

  5. docduke’s avatar

    A pox on both their houses! “None of the Above” is already out in book form: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1935071017 but the fundamental problem is that the method we use for choosing leaders has been fatally corrupted.

    It’s time for a second American Revolution, and if the present financial manipulations lead to the hyperinflation that many predict, the mood of the country will support it. The challenge then will be to avoid more corruption than we already have!

  6. Paul’s avatar

    Obama has been trying to keep this campaign on a higher level. The McCain camp has been consistently lying without even a hint of embarrassment. Based on the lack of any ability of a large chunk of the American people who vote to differentiate truth from fiction, they are buying McCain lies to a remarkable extent. Look at the polls. Is there any way that this election should be so close given what we have been through? We have seen what the Republican team can do with swiftboating, etc. Should Obama take the high road to defeat?

    We are talking supreme court justices. We are talking radical christianist agendas. We are talking about Palin for pity sakes. At some point Obama has to ask the question: do the ends justify the means? And so do I. Can this country – or the world for that matter – take another Bush – only probably worse? I think not.

    If you see the election as simply an election and want to apply standards of purity to the process to raise the bar, that is fine. I see the election as the entry point to our future. This future is much more important than the purity of the process. There is a major difference between the ability of the 4 candidates to govern! We have to keep our eyes on the prize and not sit back self-righteously evaluating each tactic.

  7. Doc Searls’s avatar

    So Paul, do you think Obama should lie to get elected? Do you think he has to, because that’s how it’s done?

    I have my eyes on the prize. And I don’t think I’m being self-righteous here. Instead I am looking at the whole campaign, in which millions of individuals are highly involved.

    Is this campaign as bottom-up as we like to think it is? Or is it as top-down as every other one? And even if it’s the latter, should the bottom be silent when the top stoops to conquer?

    I’m not sure. Just asking.

  8. Paul’s avatar

    I wish I knew if he has to lie. In the best of all worlds, he would not have to. Even the steadiest hand in Obama’s campaign could easily get rattled with the incredible onslaught of lies from McCain. I listen to common people interviewed on TV and radio repeating the ‘Obama is a Muslim’ and ‘Obama hates America’ crap and I am in awe of their ability to disregard the facts. I get the same stuff from my brother – who should know better. Let’s put it this way, I am willing to overlook certain behavior at this stage of the game in the hopes that the ends are good.

    I do believe that the bottom needs to remind the campaign that we expect more from them. I get concerned when people take it to the next level and say that because the ‘bottom-up’ campaign is not looking as idealistic as it used to, let’s go vote Libertarian or not vote.

  9. bartb’s avatar

    In this matter, you are VERY naive.
    But, I am still your big fan!

    Sincerley,
    bb

  10. Gregory Y’s avatar

    The ultimate waste of our votes is to give them to people who don’t deserve it. If we don’t understand it, we deserve what we get. That includes George W. and Jimmy Carter. Neither I would consider a lesser evil.

  11. rjh’s avatar

    Paul, my dinner party included a town party committee member and a state convention delegate. They were part of the none of the above group. They have complained about the changes in the campaign and the response is clear. The professionals are in charge and will stay in charge.

    So the grass roots are now of the opinion that it is time to use a two by four to get the mules attention. It is the less involved core Democrats that were still going to vote Obama.

  12. jeff’s avatar

    as a obama contributor – I expect the campaign to win.

    I was more pissed when obama greeted every mccain distortion with displays of incredulity.

    the high road doesn’t win presidential elections. playing to the largely distracted mass market with 6 o’clock news sound bite wars do.

    mccain has been kicking obama’s ass in the 6 o’clock news sound bite war for WEEKS.

    jeeze.

  13. zaine_ridling’s avatar

    To the Obama supporters, it was evil when Hillary did it, but now that Obama is doing it, it’s suddenly okay?

    There’s a reason the man has spent $400mn and is either behind or within the margin of error on every poll. Position statements on the website do not equal policy direction, and what scares me is that he has no legislative accomplishments he can point to.

    FYI: I ain’t voting McCain either, so I’m irrelevant!

  14. Mark D’s avatar

    Doc, you’re comparing apples and oranges.

    Many of McCain’s ads have contained outright lies (e.g. Obama sex ed for kindergardners, Obama will raise taxes on the middle class). Obama’s recent negative ads take complex issues and simplify them by stretching the truth (e.g., All of everybody’s social security will be in the stock market, rather than some of some people’s social security will be in the stock market). Unfortunately, such simplification is the ONLY way to reach the remaining “undecided” voters, whose mental challenges prevent them from apprehending any but the simplest arguments.

    It would be foolish and counterproductive to attempt to chastise the Obama campagn for attempting to reach the remaining undecided voters using the only tools with any hope of reaching them.

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