Tuesday, October 07, 2008

McCain's latest race card

The Republican line of yesterday seems to be have been that Senator Obama "hangs around with terrorists." That piece of nonsense is for surrogates and the pathetic Palin to mouth. From the candidate himself, the line was slightly more subtle.

McCain, under the guise of asking legit questions about Obama's record, slips in charged language designed to paint him as a scary unknown. "He's not exactly an open book." "There's always a back-story." "Who is the real Barack Obama?"

Oddly, when McCain delivered that last line there was a visceral roar from the crowd of McCain supporters, as if this attack -- there's an alien in our midst! -- has been the one they'd been waiting for.

I think we have a case here of trying to lead low-information voters from their slightly confused and curious response to the novel Democratic candidate right on over to their distrust of a foreign-sounding, perhaps alien, indubitably BLACK, candidate.

From my experience canvassing for Obama ten days ago, this may work with some. The feeling among those few voters who were still just tuning in was that Obama is too unknown. Those who said this weren't necessarily expressing racism -- they really just didn't know what to make a candidate who wasn't an old white guy who'd been in the news for years. Maybe some of that was a cover for racism, but some was just astonishment at novelty.

I imagine the McCain sleaze attacks go over quite well in focus groups with this dwindling group. He is supplying an ugly content to an unformed feeling.

On the other hand, there are not nearly so many undecided potential voters as there were ten days ago, so there are less for McCain to influence.

Onward to the next debate...

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