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Posted by on Aug 22, 2008 in Politics | 25 comments

It’s All About the Arugula

When McCain’s people called Obama an “elitist,” the Obama campaign pointed out that the GOP man of the people isn’t exactly living the life of your average middle-class American (let alone your average blue collar one). After all: eight houses?

But some days the stupid is almost too thick to see through.   “This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years — in prison,” spokesman Brian Rogers told the Washington Post. (TPM)

Seems as if we’ve heard this one before. Uh….yes, I guess we have.

For those of you who haven’t kept track, the McCain campaign just recently cited McCain’s POW years in explaining away the Miss Buffalo Chip gaffe, and in dealing with the allegation that he broke the rules and listened in on Barack Obama during the Rick Warren forum.

Also, Rogers made sure to play the anti-intellectual card: “In terms of who’s an elitist, I think people have made a judgment that John McCain is not an arugula-eating, pointy headed professor-type based on his life story.” (TPM)

McCain’s far from unintelligent, so why is this a major theme for his campaign: “Do smart people scare you? If yes, vote for McCain”?

All righty then.

Do you get the impression that Obama’s silence is making the McCain campaign very nervous?

Marc Ambinder:

Sen. John McCain’s campaign is finishing a hard-hitting television ad highlighting Barack Obama ‘s ties to shady Chicago land dealer Tony Rezko, the one-time Obama patron who was convicted earlier this summer of fraud.

A campaign official said that the decision to Go Rezko was Obama’s. “He’s opened the door to this,” the official said….

Though McCain is widely perceived to to drawn first blood by attacking Obama’s character, the official said that the difference between Obama’s mocking McCain for his wealth and his shaky answer on the number of homes he owns was that McCain’s charge “reflects an existential reality,” where Obama’s charges “attack Cindy. She owns the homes. I thought he said the wives were off-limits.”

McCain strategists hope that Obama’s brass knuckles punch doesn’t work. “Americans don’t like this class warfare stuff,” the official said. They aspire to be rich, the official said. They don’t aspire to eat arugala or hang out with celebrities. (Marc Ambinder)

I guess calling Obama “elitist” isn’t class warfare. Honestly, I think Obama should just rise above it. He could bring up McCain’s “poor judgment” in re: the KEATING 5, of course, but if I were his campaign, I’d just produce ad after ad pointing out that McCain’s so lacking in any ideas for helping ordinary Americans with their ever-increasing financial burdens that all he can do is trot out Karl Rove’s same old schoolyard bully techniques.

Though I might be tempted to show a few scenes from his all-American, totally typical ex-vet lifestyle in juxtaposition with shots, say, of some typical vets enduring typical vet hardships. Or of working Americans whose jobs got sent to the far east and whose homes have gone down the latrine as a result of the housing crisis.

Anyway: “Existential reality”? That phrase does not mean what the McCain official who used it thinks it means. (Note to McCain campaign: leave the philosophical references to the Arugula-eaters. Otherwise, they might think your guys are secret arugula-eaters.) So now the strategy is….to focus on McCain as an ordinary, God-fearing vet who just happened to marry a beer heiress and whose material success is attributable to that?

By the way, the arugula meme cracks me up. Say it with me. “Ar-U-gu-la!” It’s as if any time anyone from that campaign speaks, they’re blowing a little ah-OOGA horn. I laugh every time one of them says it. But I’m laughing at them, not with them.

As for not aspiring to hang out with celebrities, is McCain’s spokesman kidding? It’s replaced the American dream as the American dream. Well, except the dream where the object of your little extramarital fling turns out to be a beer heiress. (Before you go crazy, I like Cindy and I’m not interested in McCain’s marital history. In the parlance of McCain’s people, they brought her up before I did).

I used to kind of like McCain. As Republicans go, I thought he was one of the good ones. Remember when Fox News and the far right pundits and bloggers hated his guts? Remember back when all the moderate Republicans gave the bird to Fox News and the far right pundits and bloggers, and picked the seemingly moderate guy to be the presumptive nominee?

For a Dem, Obama’s middle-of-the-road and for a Republican, McCain seemingly was. There was a time when I might have thought there wasn’t much to choose between them and that at least McCain is a known quantity. But “Neocon John” made me an Obama supporter. Think of that.

Too bad he’s taking his campaign tips from the School of Karl Rove and pandering to them and the End-Times Christians instead of the swing voters. It’s as if the McCain the Republicans are offering us is the real McCain’s evil twin. Though maybe the evil twin is the real McCain. You be the judge:

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