Monday, October 6, 2008

Careful with that Box, Pandora...

So America's favorite lipsticked pit bull (or is that pig?) has now decided to "take off the gloves" and start mud-slinging in earnest in her party's failing bid for the White House: Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is questioning Barack Obama's judgment and playing the fear card by accusing Democratic candidate Obama of past associations--"palling around with," to use the Governor's folksy vernacular--with 1960s radical William Ayers.

This is clearly a desperate bid by the Republicans to divert attention from the massive economic problems the United States currently faces, which between the traditional "hands-off" regulatory stance of the Republican party--a contributory factor to the crisis--and the immense unpopularity of the administration whose actions (and inactions) also directly led to the economic meltdown, is a must for the party's presidential hopes.  It's a bid to cast the Senator from Illinois as lacking judgment.  And it's a bit of fearmongering, bringing up "terrorism" in a disingenuous fashion which tries to capitalize upon Senator Obama's middle name (Hussein) and persistent but factually-challenged rumors that the candidate is a Muslim; in other words, Sarah Palin wants you the voter to believe Barack Obama is in fact an Islamic terrorist in disguise.

Here's the problem, though: Obama's association with Ayers had already come up and faced scrutiny during the primaries with little effect; Ayers is certainly not a terrorist today, and due in part to the COINTELPRO scandal--where the FBI illegally spied on US citizens--he was never convicted of any terrorist activities, either.  Nor is his relationship with Senator Obama particularly close.  Apparently Governor Palin slept through her history classes, or at least the Democratic primary.

And the real kicker: should the Obama campaign want to sling some mud of their own and call up skeletons of questionable associations from Senator McCain's political closet, there's one Charles Keating, McCain's political mentor from his early days in the House and Senate.  Yes, the same Charles Keating whose criminal actions in the Savings & Loan collapse of the late 1980s and early 1990s led to a Congressional inquiry--an inquiry John McCain found himself smack in the middle of.  Though McCain escaped with only the official criticism of his judgement, his role in the Keating Five still stands as a blemism on his political record.

Even worse, the Keating Five scandal involved an economic crisis with eerily-similar parallels to the current subprime mortgage meltdown and subsequent fallout.  A crisis which found John McCain right at ground zero.

Should the Obama campaign wish to respond to Governor Palin and the McCain camp's criticism of his past associations (ironic, given Palin's own remonstrations to Senator Joe Biden during their Vice Presidential debate not to "look backwards") by brining up the Keating Five, John McCain will have not only whiffed on changing the subject away from the economy, but he will have brought the spotlight keenly into focus on his own role in a very similar economic collapse.  Not to mention things like former McCain chief economic advisor Phil Gramm, who called Americans "whiners" in a "mental recession," and whose deregulation--championed by McCain, no less--directly contributed to our present global economic mess.  (And need we be reminded of McCain's repeated "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" or his primary claim that he didn't know much about the economy?)

Yep, that's great judgment there, Senator McCain and Governor Palin.  My, what a Pandora's box Palin is opening in what may go down as one of the worst blunders in election history!

Change is coming.  It's just not the "change" McCain and Palin have strangely adopted as their own campaign slogan of late.

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