I think he’s going to smash right through that pathetic barricade, but perhaps there’s room for debate.
Smearing is an art form. There are guidelines to constructing a good smear. Simplicity is crucial. These people cast doubt on Kerry’s war record. The question handed to the voters by Bush’s campaign and the 527s was how can this windsurfing, liberal fairy be a war hero?
It’s stupid, but it worked because it was simple. At the Republican National Convention people put little purple heart band-aides on their faces and laughed it up.
Let’s look at another swiftboating. Bill Clinton faced a sustained nine years straight of swiftboating back when it was called smearing. The entire right wing threw several kitchen sinks and porch awnings at him. At different points he was a murderer and a “pussy” or a “fag”. He was a pacifist who wouldn’t stand up for America and then later he was a butcher of women and children all over Bosnia and the Sudan. There were too many strands and many of them contradicted each other leaving nothing but a lump of politically motivated hatred and the voters, more or less, saw it for what it was.
Andrew Sullivan shows how complicated and contradictory the various smears of Obama have become:
Is Obama a Muslim? Does it matter any more? We are in world of McTruthyism. In that world, Obama is an atheist, a Muslim, a black liberation theologian and a Marxist. Since the truth is irrelevant, they can all be true!
How deep we are into the realm of McTruthysim is a variable that I can not discern. I think we’re on the way out of the desert of the un-freaking-real, but cultural vertigo is difficult to shake and that desert is vast.
Still, I remain pretty well convinced that the Obama smears have already crossed what I call the Bubba Threshold of cognitive dissonance. The tipping point may have been the ABC debate. We’ll see.