The Power of Fighting Back

Kristin Teigen

Perhaps I should be used to it by now. Campaign after campaign, the Republicans stoop the lowest levels possible – rape victims in commercials, outright lies, accusing a father of two of pushing “comprehensive sex education” on kindergarteners, and so on. Just when I think we’re moving, as a society, past Willie Horton-style ads and Swiftboat tactics, they once again rear their vicious and ugly heads.

This past week, Barack Obama has promised that he is going to start fighting back, and fight back hard. This is exactly what he should do. Now. Right now.

I’ve read some articles and have talked to some people who are surprised that Obama would do this – somehow, they think that fighting back is not Obama-style politics, and that it’s somehow unseemly.

They are dead wrong.

Fighting back against filthy attacks is ultimately, the most presidential of acts. It’s what true leaders do. If Obama fights back now against smears, dishonesty and gutter tactics, he will be showing us exactly what kind of president he will be.

He will be a leader who goes after the real terrorists, instead of chasing false demons around Iraq. He will be the type of leader who stands up for human rights, from Guantanamo Bay to Darfur. He will be the type of leader who refuses to tire in the fight for health care and jobs. He will be the type of leader who will not back down in the fight for our dying planet.

By fighting against McCain/Palin, Obama will prove to us that he will be a president who fights for what is right, who shows us his righteous indignation in the face of what is fully and entirely immoral.

We know he can do it. He doesn’t have a Rove or Cheney type character standing behind him with puppet strings – he has a backbone all his own. According to whispered rumors of August’s fundraising take, he now has an unprecedented bank account. (UPDATE: Obama just announced that he brought in a whooping $66 million in August and gained 500,000 new donors. This tops his best month ever -- February -- by $11 million. The rumors were true.)

He also has perhaps the most outstanding ground campaign in history. On this beautiful day, I went to the Alberta Street Fair with my son -- I must have seen over a dozen Obama volunteers registering people to vote. I've never seen anything like it.

Most importantly, as Obama steps up to the plate, he knows, and we know, he is right. He's not joining McCain in the gutter -- he's pulling the country out of it.

It’s time to start swinging. It’s time for a home run.

Comments

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    I would say the ladies of The View took a good first swing on his behalf.

  • RebeccaWhetstine (unverified)
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    Kristin! "Viscous"? I like it! I like it!

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    Oh, funny! What a typo -- I corrected it --

    Yeah, it's a thick campaign!

    Thanks!!!

  • RebeccaWhetstine (unverified)
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    No! No! I liiiiiiiike it. A sprize meaning: slimey!

    Heh.

    Bex

  • Jim H (unverified)
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    According to whispered rumors of August’s fundraising take, he now has an unprecedented bank account.

    What are the rumors? Do you have numbers?

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    "Americans are starting to wonder, is there anything the McCain campaign isn't lying about?" said Tommy Vietor, an Obama aide in an e-mail to reporters.

    The McCain-Palin ticket is self-destructing in front of our eyes. All Obama and Biden have to do is point out these lies and then keep talking about the issues, pointing out that McCain's proposals are nothing more than warmed over Bush.

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    Oh, sorry, Rebecca! I'll work "viscous" into my next description of creepy Republicans...promise!

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    Jim H.,

    From PoliticalWire...

    "Obama May Set Another Fundraising Record"

    "Barack Obama may be playing possum," Bloomberg observes.

    He "hasn't done much to refute the notion" his financial edge over Sen. John McCain "may be shrinking. So far, though, Obama's aides privately say they're keeping a low profile so donors don't get complacent, suggesting that August contributions -- to be disclosed next week -- will top February's one-month record of $55 million. And Palin, while energizing Republicans, has also motivated Democratic donors."

    Also from PoliticalWire, (http://politicalwire.com/archives/2008/08/16/obama_crushes_mccain_in_july_fundraising.html)

    In July, Obama raised $51 million, had $65.8 million in the bank and had 2 million donors while McCain raised $27 million, had $21 million and had 600,000 donors.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Am I the only one who goes to a work place with (gasp!) Republicans in offices down the hall? I kind of think they view McCrazy's tactics through the "everyone does it" lens. They're not outraged. Wait until Obama goes on the offensive (if he does--oh please, please, please) and then they'll get outraged.

    Meanwhile, scan the National Enquirer when you're in the supermarket checkout line. [This of course requires that you join me to shop with the Great Unwashed at, say, Fred Meyer or Safeway, not at New Seasons or Whole Foods :-) ] The Enquirer is, shall we say, not going easy on Sarah Palin (extamarital affairs, son's a junkie, yadda yadda yadda). No, of course I don't recommend the Enquirer on journalistic grounds, but it's morbidly fascinating anyway, and IMHO no more disreputable than the I-love-Hillary-but-hate-Obama websites.

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    Yeah, I've seen the National Enquirer (shopped at Fred Meyer today...actually) but I'm not sure if they help or hurt...

  • Jim H (unverified)
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    Thanks Kristin. I've been wondering why they haven't announced yet...

  • RebeccaWhetstine (unverified)
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    Actually, JDW, my life in cubicle land next to a nasty-tempered drama queen who was "into" Obama and raged intensely, with immediacy at the mere mention of Clinton... ummmm... that was a miserable, miserable chapter of my life. And across the filing cabinet was the much-more-classy health educator who also was "into" Obama, but her understanding of his rightness was based in bible prophecy! Equally miserable and difficult for me. These two were in constant contact, talking politics in the workplace, streaming political content, emailing it around, taking telephone calls all day discussing ad absurdium every titbit of the days "noose".

    That was a hard little rat warrent to work in. I dared not speak of Clinton even tho I was "for" Obama already, for it would affect how I was treated for the day, kid you not! Them Repubs and their shoulder-shrugging seem rather heavenly to me!

    I kinda eschew it all as equally dangerous, since it has more to do with psychodynamics than it has to do with real practice of citizenship and the life politic!

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    McCain got his biggest month when he flipped his position on offshore drilling. I think there is more oil money to be had and we have no idea how much will go to Swiftboaters. The only consolation is that T. Boone Pickens does not seem bent on destroying Obama's chances this time.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    One more thing I wanted to share though, because between brief moments of doubt, I do resume being optimistic.

    My girlfriend just shared a very interesting change of opinion regarding an elderly lady's vote. Her mother is 84 years old and lives in Kansas. Her husband had been an autoworker, who refused to go management and leave the union. Staunch democrat. She openly admitted to her duaghter that she would not vote for Obama because of his race. HOWEVER, once she heard Sarah Palin speak a time or two, she decided that she has to vote for Obama now.

    My girlfriend is a feminist, or rather, a strong woman, and her assessment of the present state of women breaking the last glass ceiling, which woud not actually mean game over, is this: If the first woman on the ticket makes a mess of things, it will be a very long time before women are given another chance.

    My girlfriend is non-partisan with the ability to see things from the outside, which I do not do as well when it comes to politics. She was not mesmerized by Obama and questioned whether he was ready. But she too is now enthusiastic for Obama. She never went McCain, but she's just a lot more motivated now against McCain because he chose Palin. She was frustrated at how Palin news dominated the conversation for so long when McCain is the candidate.

    Maybe now I can get her to help with Obama's campaign. I'll be there.

  • LT (unverified)
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    My best friend and I met on the Clinton campaign in 1992. She hadn't sounded as excited about this election as many of my other friends.

    But in response to a cartoon I sent (a pig being interviewed saying he was shocked to have become a metaphor in this campaign) she wrote this

    What a ridiculous waste of media time! With important issues to be discussed why are we even giving notice to this junk.

    D

    I'm guessing they thought they had a chance but instead gave up on Hillary supporters in order to "exite the base" and may not yet realize what they have done.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Re: "He will be a leader who goes after the real terrorists, instead of chasing false demons around Iraq."

    Apparently you share Obama's enthusiasm for slaughter and torture in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That you see this as "progressive" is bizarre and abysmal enough, but that you mislead about his clear policy proposal of troops, mercenaries and corporate personnel to be kept in Iraq for the indefinite future is unforgivable.

    Obama is just another militaristic corporate hack. He wants to increase our military spending from the present unconscionable levels. He wants to threaten the enemies of hegemonic resource control in order to destabilize and overthrow the governments of resource-rich countries. He wants to maintain the present imperial strategy for world domination.

    If he really wanted to win, Obama would move to the center from his present right-wing perch on NAFTA, FISA, impeachment, and Iraq.

    Furthermore, the "real terrorists" are the ones who are committing crimes against humanity and aggressive war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is he going to go after us?

  • genop (unverified)
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    Sorry Harry but Bush/Cheney are about to pre-empt further armed conflict a later administration might pursue, and foment their own war pre-election.

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    Obama is just another militaristic corporate hack. ... If he really wanted to win, Obama would move to the center from his present right-wing perch on NAFTA, FISA, impeachment, and Iraq.

    Nattering nabobs of Naderism.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    I see that Mr. Kershner is here again to make absurd comments about how we all share an "enthusiasm for slaughter and torture," and that our collective attitude is "unforgiveable." Occasionally he claims that he makes comments along these lines as part of his effort to sway people, but what he's actually doing is venting. I suppose there's a time for that, but I wonder if this is the place. I'd suggest Portland Indymedia instead of Blue Oregon.

  • MCT (unverified)
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    I want to see the pig interview cartoon that LT's talking about.

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    Nattering nabobs of Naderism.

    Arrogant Assholes of Agnewistic Alliteration. Couldn't you at least come up with something original? And not associated with Republican party hacks who had to resign from office? What a role model.

    Plus it's a pretty feeble comeback to the fact that we've been bombing villages full of women and children and wedding parties in Afghanistan for the past seven years, Kari. All without managing to create a stable environment for Hamid Karzai's government.

    If the US starts using the same kinds of tactics in Pakistan, with the same types of results that have Karzai on edge, it's going to be facing an entirely different type of threat, with a denial of overflight rights needed to get troops and supplies into and out of Afghanistan. Pakistan and Iran are the only southern air routes. The northern routes all go over Russia. To the east is the entire width of China. There's a long narrow corridor to the west, across Turkmenistan, the Caspian, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey, but Turkey might not be any more happy about opening airspace for that than they were about doing so for Iraq.

    Obama's rhetoric about needing to "finish the job" in Afghanistan isn't really much different than the McCain drivel about the "surge" on Iraq. Our military's been there for seven years. It can't make any significant raids across the border to Taliban camps without expanding the war to a country that has six times the population Afghanistan does, in addition to modern military equipment and nuclear bombs. If Obama has a "secret plan" to end the war in Afghanistan -- apart from simply sending more troops to hold the Taliban back -- then he ought to let people in on what it is. You can't outlast people with nowhere else to go. Just ask the Soviets.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Kari: "Nattering nabobs of Naderism" is funny, but I still prefer "Obama: Less Insane Than McCain".

    genop: I've heard "experts' claim that an attack on Iran is imminent for a few years now. I don't think Bush et al are that crazy, although we should impeach them to be sure (and the impeding Democrats along with them). I do think that Obama's rhetoric, including the outright falsehood that we were attacked by the Taliban on 9/11, suggests that he will continue to slaughter and torture the Afghanis as well as the Iraqis. (And who knows who else?)

    Mr. Walls: Your last few responses to my comments have been a bit over the top. I responded to the quotation which I cited, not to "we all" or to any collectivity. I assume and I hope that there are some BO readers who are not enthused about slaughter and torture. I've noted your preference that I post only to Indy Media more than once. Perhaps you should post to a blog that wouldn't have me. Some blog that is not "a place for progressive Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip." And Mr. Walls: one can vent and debate at the same time.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Mr. Kershner, my problem with what you've been writing is not the opinions particularly, but rather the smugness, the rhetorical tricks, the certainty that you are Morally Correct and those who disagree are Evil or Deluded. Those are distinguishing characteristics of writing on Portland Indymedia, but not of Blue Oregon. Nice example from your preceding comment: "I assume and I hope that there are some BO readers who are not enthused about slaughter and torture." Gee, let's have a poll so we can figure out exactly what percentage of Blue Oregon readers ARE enthused about slaughter and torture.

    Why don't you just start asking "Do you still beat you wife?"....

  • marv (unverified)
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    The exchanges between frequent visitors to this site are entertaining; moreso, perhaps, to themselves. Listening to the true believers, Christian fundamentalists or the purveyors of Zionism has left me incapable of being amused by casual treatment of the topic of an invasion of Iran. Bush and Cheney eagerly want to try out new weapons. The end time lunatics are salivating.

  • Avery (unverified)
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    We've been supersized, marginalized, contorted, and distorted. Facing our demons means admitting our mistakes and getting on with our lives. Now is the time for a call to action not only for Obama but for all Americans. Evil is actually weakness. "What doesn't kill us, will strengthen us." Folks need to show their muscle and integrity and get to the polls.

  • sikj (unverified)
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    Mr. Kershner, my problem with what you've been writing is not the opinions particularly, but rather the smugness, the rhetorical tricks, the certainty that you are Morally Correct and those who disagree are Evil or Deluded.

    Get over yourself joel dan walls, and you too Kari: It's obvious you two have issues, otherwise you'd have the brains and humility to recognize just how bad you sound, and what a disservice you do to all of us as Democrats, by doing anything but agreeing that Obama's lack of moral leadership on war and Afghanistan is indefensible. That has nothing to do with whether I or anybody I know, all of whom agree based on his record that Obama has been no paragon of principled leadership or genuine moral virtue in his political career, want him to win over McCain. It's the right and obligation of informed voters to remind him and you of that every single chance we get. Too bad if you don't agree or don't like it.

    Kristin, one can agree with you completely about how it is the essence of leadership to stand up and fight. The problem is that by throwing in overblown propagandistic sloganeering about how Obama will be a leader who goes after the real terrorists, instead of chasing false demons around Iraq, you diminish the moral substance of what it means for a principled leader to stand up and fight, as well as your very next claim that he will be the type of leader who stands up for human rights, from Guantanamo Bay to Darfur. Don't forget his FISA vote, as just one example you, joel dan wills, and Kari will not be allowed to forget here. Or how he did not lead a single filibuster to stop Republican attacks on our civil rights, as another.

    And by the way, based on my very informed reading of Obama's promises and discussions with his campaign (none of your business why) versus his actual commitments so far, it will be us, not him, who will need to refuse to tire in the fight for health care. And Howard Dean knows it too, his cheerleading to get Obama elected notwithstanding. Why don't you get an official statement, complete with "contact for more i nformation" from the Obama campaign of the role he currently plans to give insurance companies who support him and Democratic candidates in this election in discussions about what form his plan to provide FEHBP-quality benefits will actually take and report back?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Here's an excellent "fighting back" ad, just out from Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CK3Y1KPzW9k

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    sikj--Chuck Butcher sometimes posts here and makes a point of the fact that no politician is The Messiah. I cannot disagree. I would also note that the equation Politician X = Satan is unlikely to be true, either.

    Barack Obama neither walks on water nor eats babies.

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    "Barack Obama neither walks on water nor eats babies."

    He does, however, walk on babies and eat water.

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    Those of us that have the boob tube permanently out of the house and follow the election in something responsible, like the Manchester Guardian, have never seen one of those commercials! You know, if you don't like the smell of krap then pull your head out of the cesspool!

    Try some simple math. Most claim they have to watch that antiquated burbling for local news and entertainment. Subtract out the time in commercials, chatting, STORIES FROM THE AFFILIATES THAT HAVE ZERO TO DO WITH LOCAL NEWS, etc. Last time I tried this with KATU I got 12 minutes over the days three newscasts.

    Then, look at each show you watch for entertainment. Ask yourself why, and how well it succeeds. How often is that as good as what you could do rollin' yer own from the video store, or online? How many minutes do you get for sitting there, too?

    At the end of the day, only the most stupid in society still do this. High debate of the issues will not draw that crowd. The unfortunate truth is that all these scummy, illogical, irrelevant commercials are where most Americans live. It's how they think; it's how they live.

    That just used to be my opinion, but now there's easy proof for all to see. Most mega-chains- particularly fast food and autos- are very well represented in Europe these days. Across the board, look at the commercials that run in the US and the UK from the SAME COMPANY. From McDonald's commercials with artsy mime scenes to Nascar images based on images acquired with the Hubble Telescope, they are the antithesis of the same ads for the same product in the US. And compare Germany's commercials in Germany vs UK vs US. They get progressively dumber.

    It's not the product. It's not the corporation. It's the consumer. Don't tell me you believe people when they say they are disgusted by it? Commercial interests are the most grubbing, greedy, unprincipled and petty (save maybe real estate) in this society. Do you really think they're not giving people what they want?

    And until we have proportional representation, this is going to continue. They'll do whatever gets that one extra vote and you'll point the finger anywhere but the constituents that vote for it, because you want every one of their votes. Prove me wrong. Name one example of a simple, American style democracy, that ever gets on with anything. You have to have secure niches to carve out positions, which can't happen when the candidate has such an incentive for flip-flopping to add more votes. Ralph Nader routinely pulls 4% and has for 30 years. In a parliamentary democracy that is real power. Here is counts for absolutely nothing. If 40% think he's lame and you're going for that 50%+1 vote, are you going to embrace those ideas? What if it's good for the country? Never happens and never will.

    The Tyranny of the Majority, indeed. Zoe Baird has it spot on. Perhaps the best example is monochromatic Lifesavers. People that like green Lifesavers are much like Nader constituents. A minority, but a solid one. A number of other minorities that disagree. Here, you either pander to them or ignore them. In Belgium, the good folks at Wrigley put out a commercial that put it across in straight humor, irrespective of other minority opnion and general good taste. My favorite was the one where two kids are in the backseat and two parents in the front, stopped at a red light, dad driving. The kid peels off a Lifesaver and it's green and eats it. It's a long light and the father has begun distractedly picking his nose. A few minutes later the kid peels off another one and it's green too, at which point he exclaims, "It's green (het's groen)!" and the father pulls out into traffic causing an accident.

    It's all the things you can't say here that lead to saying things like Joe Blow is Satan. When you ban speech you give it power. Those smear ads. are your PC talk coming back to bite you!

  • Aaron Cady (unverified)
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    Actually I think I can simplify the math. The equation is simple democracy cannot be altruistic until greater than 50% will vote for an issue that benefits a number of others and their children, when it does not do so for themselves. A quick straw poll around the office shows 2 of 23 people claiming to vote that way. QED: You are correct. Any politics based on altruism, read progressive, is currently not possible with the voters and system in place.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Aaron Cady said, "Any politics based on altruism, read progressive, is currently not possible with the voters and system in place."

    Now there's a definition of progressivism I can embrace. However, we need to stop blaming the victims for the crimes of the elites.

    We have a well funded and efficient public relations (propaganda) mechanism that distorts, misleads and truncates facts and analysis. It's not the ordinary voter who does this.

    Furthermore, our economic and political institutions are rigged in favor the wealthy and the powerful, and most people know that. Because they know, they don't engage.

    <h2>What we need is democracy. Now.</h2>

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