As the McCain campaign staggers toward its conclusion, with electoral columns and pediments standing since 1966 buckling under their weight, the party seems to be cycling back through its history of character assassination, McCarthyism and wedge politics flimflam, only now with an desperate and parodic impotence taking the place of punishing rhetorical violence.
Southern strategy race-baiting, check! Hyper 9/11ist 'the Dems are terrorists' character assassination, check! Rep. Michelle Bachmann's neo-McCarthyite manifesto and call for a new HUAC, check! 'The Democrats want to bring socialism to America', check! Who lost Georgia? Aspirational neo-Cold Warism, check! Mix these in with a general stew of 70s-90s soft-on-crime, Dems are pedophile weirdo-freak-loser wedge politics and we've basically got the full ground covered.
It's true. It seems like, every day, the McCain camp has some new and ridiculous thing with which to smear Obama: elitist, inexperienced, celebrity, Bill Ayers, socialism... we've seen a whole litany of crap during this campaign.But I think Marshall is right in the sense that it does feel like we've seen it all before - only, this time, the shit ain't working. McCain keeps screaming "TERRORIST!" and "SOCIALIST!" and "ELITIST!" at the top of his lungs - but all to no avail (at least thus far). There is no evidence that it is working - in fact, even more incredibly, it seems like it's hurting McCain!
If Obama wins, it will be a total repudiation of these terrible Rovian/Nixonian politics. We may soon have a Democrat in the White House, an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress and a Republican Party, beaten at their own game, out of touch and out of power. In more ways that one, this would be a wonderful thing for our country in this time of crisis.