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Friday, February 22, 2008

Narratives

The more this story about the lobbyist and McCain develops, the more it looks like it's directly impacting his narrative.

I had an exchange with the talented Four Legs Good on Eschaton yesterday, in which he implied that Obama's string of primary victories over Hillary had nothing to do with narrative. I respectfully disagreed, and said that in my opinion, every campaign is about narrative. Obama's fresh face, his charisma and his natural campaigning ability, along with his tongue-bathing by the national press and the public support of one of the most worshiped women in America, have allowed him to write his own narrative. He is the big change America needs right now, the great hope of American democracy. It's an extremely powerful narrative after the horrors we have endured under George W. Bush, and it has acquired a momentum that most likely will not be stopped in the primaries.

Hillary's narrative, on the other hand, has already been written by the press - she's a cold, manipulative, ambitious shrew who is only out for power - and she has had an uphill battle trying to overcome it. Her war vote has alienated many on the left, although they forgave John Kerry and John Edwards for theirs, and although Barack Obama himself has said that he doesn't know how he would have voted on the AUMF had he not been fortunate enough to be a Senate outsider at the time. Never mind, she's an evil warmongering bitch and Obama is a sainted hero with superior judgment. I suppose judgment and luck are synonymous to Obamans.

It hasn't helped that the press has cut Senator Clinton no slack whatsoever, painting her and Bill as racists (a charge contradicted by common sense - if they were racists, wouldn't we know after 16 years of intense scrutiny?) when they say anything negative about Obama, while allowing Obama to get away with nasty stunts like this and this, for example, with nary a ding to his halo.

It looks like with Hillary's recent loss in Wisconsin, she has one last stand in Ohio and Texas, and if she doesn't win there, her narrative will have been beaten by Obama's. Although the delegate count will remain close enough to go to the convention, she will be seen as a loser who cannot deliver in November. And so it goes.

As for McCaca's narrative, it has been written by the press too - and it's been overwhelmingly positive. Ignoring his flip-flopping on torture (he was against it, then he voted for it time and again) and public financing (for it, against it, for it, then hoping to be for and against it at the same time), the press routinely calls him a maverick and a straight talker with no evidence whatsoever. David Brock of Media Matters, with excellent timing, has just come out with a new book on the media's incredibly generous treatment of John McCain. I very much look forward to cracking that one open.

I don't think anyone cares too much about the personal angle of the McCain story (except possibly the fundies, who were not going to vote for him in large numbers anyway). No, what's suddenly coming to the fore are more stories about McCaca's loving relationships with lobbyists in general.

John McCain's narrative may be completely derailed by this scandal, and that can only mean good news for Democrats in November.

4 comments:

Flying Junior said...

Here's something from the oven for the senator from Arizona. From the cover of the latest TIME magazine. (Yes, the same rag that was so grateful that the reigning king of talk radio would deign to grant them a telephone interview.)

Why Liberals Love McCain

I certainly bear no ill will to old No-Pain. And I was among the first to take his campaign seriously. But I don't have an autographed picture of him hanging in my office.

Flying Junior said...

Tell me that's not designed to mold public opinion.

madamab said...

Why Liberals Love McCain

Jesus. H. Christmas.

Woody (Tokin' Lib'rul/Rogue Scholar & O'erall Helluvafella!) said...

Should have been titled "Why The Librul Media Loves McStain."

The reason is that most 'journalists' have priapic hard-ons for war. They love it. Great stories, and nobody hates a war-correspondent. They get all the great chicks and the good weed, and the expensive hooch...

The gutless couch-potatoes, like Russert, O'Reilly, Matthews, et al, all think they coulda been war-correspondents, the evidence of their soiled britches notwithstanding.

So the SCUM (both male and female are afflicted similarly) will enthusiastically repeat anything their "hero" utters as if it were holy writ.

and chuy, wtf is a 8-letter captcha?