Dirty tricks for a higher cause?

The Democratic national Committee is complaining that McCain is now resorting to the sort of "negative ads" he opposed eight years ago. Apparently the DNC has never heard of Magruder's law -- that combat tends to sink to the lowest common denominator of the combatants.

The Democrats, having in true Yahoo fashion thrown every manner of filth at McCain and Palin, are now shocked to see some mud coming in their direction. With the Huffington Post claiming that the Bush administration is in an advanced stage of fascism and MoveOn.org e-mailing repetitions of the rape-kit lie about Sarah Palin, they should rather marvel at the restraint the Republicans have managed to maintain.

Even more remarkably, the Republicans have abstained from the dirty tricks that Obama campaigners now use routinely -- such as flooding conservative radio stations with hostile phone calls, threatening McCain campaign donors, widespread voter registration fraud, and quasi-terrorist tactics at the Republican convention.

In recent weeks, Obama's "dogs of war" have sunk to common vandalism. Here in Washington, a Republican committeeman estimates that about half of the Republican signs in the Olympia area have been defaced or destroyed. A friend in Santa Rosa, California reports that their McCain yard signs have been mangled or stolen so often that they have been forced to resort to hand written ones like this:

hand made sign


Here's a close-up of the message to vandals:

message to vandals

Of course, Mr. Obama would probably deplore the excesses of his followers and claim that he cannot control their spontaneous enthusiasm. But since at least one lie about Palin has been directly traced to his headquarters, we are forced to view such hand-washing with skepticism. Obama keeps a notoriously tight leash on his satellite support groups and therefore cannot deny his right to wear the crown of the King of the Vandals

One wonders how Obama can reconcile such brazen dishonesty with the noble sentiments in his speeches. When I tried to catalog the gamut of metaphors for Obama, I missed the most obvious one-Moliere's Tartuffe, who, while trying to seduce the wife of his patron, explains:

"There is a science whereby we can stretch the boundaries of our conscience and rectify the evil of our deeds by the purity of our intentions"

I think Obama thinks this way. Since he is striving to give the American public the greatest gift he can possibly bestow upon them -- himself -- he is entitled to overstep a few conventional boundaries of decency to do so. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

But this is mere conjecture. Moliere never makes it clear whether Tartuffe is a brazen hypocrite, a self-deluded fanatic, or a bizarre mixture of the two. Obama's motives are similarly ambiguous; let them remain so. Our goal is not to define him but to defeat him, hopefully without having to stoop to his dirty tactics.

The Democratic national Committee is complaining that McCain is now resorting to the sort of "negative ads" he opposed eight years ago. Apparently the DNC has never heard of Magruder's law -- that combat tends to sink to the lowest common denominator of the combatants.

The Democrats, having in true Yahoo fashion thrown every manner of filth at McCain and Palin, are now shocked to see some mud coming in their direction. With the Huffington Post claiming that the Bush administration is in an advanced stage of fascism and MoveOn.org e-mailing repetitions of the rape-kit lie about Sarah Palin, they should rather marvel at the restraint the Republicans have managed to maintain.

Even more remarkably, the Republicans have abstained from the dirty tricks that Obama campaigners now use routinely -- such as flooding conservative radio stations with hostile phone calls, threatening McCain campaign donors, widespread voter registration fraud, and quasi-terrorist tactics at the Republican convention.

In recent weeks, Obama's "dogs of war" have sunk to common vandalism. Here in Washington, a Republican committeeman estimates that about half of the Republican signs in the Olympia area have been defaced or destroyed. A friend in Santa Rosa, California reports that their McCain yard signs have been mangled or stolen so often that they have been forced to resort to hand written ones like this:

hand made sign


Here's a close-up of the message to vandals:

message to vandals

Of course, Mr. Obama would probably deplore the excesses of his followers and claim that he cannot control their spontaneous enthusiasm. But since at least one lie about Palin has been directly traced to his headquarters, we are forced to view such hand-washing with skepticism. Obama keeps a notoriously tight leash on his satellite support groups and therefore cannot deny his right to wear the crown of the King of the Vandals

One wonders how Obama can reconcile such brazen dishonesty with the noble sentiments in his speeches. When I tried to catalog the gamut of metaphors for Obama, I missed the most obvious one-Moliere's Tartuffe, who, while trying to seduce the wife of his patron, explains:

"There is a science whereby we can stretch the boundaries of our conscience and rectify the evil of our deeds by the purity of our intentions"

I think Obama thinks this way. Since he is striving to give the American public the greatest gift he can possibly bestow upon them -- himself -- he is entitled to overstep a few conventional boundaries of decency to do so. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

But this is mere conjecture. Moliere never makes it clear whether Tartuffe is a brazen hypocrite, a self-deluded fanatic, or a bizarre mixture of the two. Obama's motives are similarly ambiguous; let them remain so. Our goal is not to define him but to defeat him, hopefully without having to stoop to his dirty tactics.