L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

04 September 2008 Blog Home : September 2008 : Permalink

McCain-Palin and Uncle Remus

I don't know whether the Palin family ever read Uncle Remus' tales about B'rer Rabbit and his escapades but I suspect John McCain would have been familiar with them. And it seems to me that a lot of the Washington/New York insiders ought to be familiar with them too - at least the "Tar Baby" and "Brier Patch" incidents. Yet on the evidence the McCain-Palin campaign are basing a part of their strategy on Uncle Remus style trickery while their opponents seem to be cheerfully walking right into the traps.

I doubt that anyone on the campaign expected the "Trig is Sarah Palin's grandson" smear because a moment's verification with Mr Google confirmed to me what I thought was well-known, namely that Down Syndrome is something that tends to occur to children born to older mothers not younger ones. Yet I guess the 'Kos kids', who probably don't have children of their own or little nieces/nephews or indeed much to do with children, didn't think that one through and realize that it would not stand up to more than about 5 seconds of investigation. However I do think that the Palin family, and that includes the pregnant Bristol, must have been aware that they would be subject to innuendo and gossip about being a bunch of dumb hicks and that the gossip would include Bristol Palin's pregnacny, jokes about shotgun marriages, abstinence education and so on. So, since they knew this and since they aren't in fact dumb hicks they (and the McCain staffers) must have formulated a plan to let the snobbish insiders sneer down at them because they could be sure that such sneering would gain them sympathy and paint the sneerers in an unattractive light.

I mean given the extreme sensitivity shown by a certain Democratic presidential nominee regarding his own family and the excessive delicacy that the MSM showed in the Edwards affair it would seem clear that no one would dream of subjecting a Republican candidate to an invasive investigation of their private life in 2008 would they now?

Yet astoundingly in 2008 the MSM, the left wing bloggers and so on went right ahead ('but do fer de Lord's sake don't fling me in dat brier-patch,') and mounted a campaign of sneering investigation. And lo and behold the Palins are discovered to have a pregnant teenage daughter, a husband who had a DUI at age 22 and other issues that cause the MSM and democratic party elites as well as the nutroots activists to smear and sneer and snark and look absolutely terrible to Mr. and Mrs. Middle America. Mr & Mrs M. A. are probably from small towns themselves, they've done the hockey/soccer mom thing, they or their friends and neighbours have been pulled over for a DUI or had a daughter who got pregnant (or a son who was the cause of someone else's daughter getting pregnant) and so on. Hence Mr & Mrs M.A. can look at the facts that emerge from under the suffocating smearing and think "that happened to us" or "that's the same as Josh and Karen on the corner" and realize that not only do these things happen but that they don't actually affect anything important. Mr Palin being caught DUI 5 times in a dozen years, driving without a license etc. now that would be bad, but 22 year olds  (and even 42 year olds) sometimes drink more than they ought and 99% of the time when they get caught that is the end of it and Mr & Mrs M.A. know that only too well. Ditto with the teenage pregnancy. These things happen. The question is not whether the Palins have lived a blameless life but how they dealt with the upsets they have encountered. Going on the evidence to date the Palins have handled the problems just fine.

Oh and there is a rumor somewhere that Track Palin is a drug addict. Mr & Mrs M.A. know people who've served in the military recently and they know that, unlike in the Vietnam era, the military does not tolerate drug abuse by its personnel. Hence if Track Palin were a drug addict he would not be deploying to Iraq on Sept 11 but would instead be deplyoing to a stockade somewhere for a court martial.

I'm sure the Palins and the McCain's would prefer to not have such sordid rumours floating around but "when life sends you lemons make lemonade" and they can use the debunking of these rumours and smears to demonstrate just how derranged the rumourmongers are, and in the process of course they also gain sympathy from "regular folk" who realize that they too would be sneered at by the same self-obsessed elites if they were investigated.

I think Obama realizes just how dangerous this is to his campaign because he seems to be trying to shut it down. But I doubt it will do any good, his supporters simply don't understand how they are preceived by the "great unwashed" and they forget that in this election the "little people" have a vote. If this smearing continues then voting for Obama will be seen as voting for elitist snobbery while voting for McCain will be voting for the unfairly smeared underdog. That looks likely to swing quite a few million undecideds into the McCain camp and out of the Obama one.