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Posted by on May 19, 2008 in Media, Politics | 9 comments

Tennessee Republican Senator Corker Agrees With Obama: Leave His Wife Alone

Democratic Presidential nomination wannabe Senator Barack Obama has just gotten an unlikely ally in his demand that the Tennessee GOP “leave my wife alone”: Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker has made it known he agrees with Obama.

Given the nature of campaign 2008, the reaction to Corker over fiery debate over the Republican web ad is likely to lead to another debate: Is Corker really sincere? Or is he just posturing?

Regardless, as Republican bloggers, conservative talk and cable show hosts say Michelle Obama is fair game Corker’s reaction stands out, as the New York Times’ blog The Caucus notes in a quote it got from the Nashville Post’s lively blog. Post Politics’ blogger A.J. Kleinheider is the one who asked for, got and posted the comment [We failed to specify that in our earlier post. We regret the error…]:

The office of Senator Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee, has weighed in today, siding with Senator Barack Obama’s objections to the state’s G.O.P. Web campaign against Michelle Obama.

To recap, the officialdom of the Tennessee G.O.P. posted a Web spot that mines remarks Mrs. Obama made in February that “first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” The ad repeats footage of her speaking those words, interspersed with comments from Tennesseans, talking about how they’ve always been proud to be an American.

The blog has an embed of the ad, a typical political ad designed to show over and over a foot-in-mouth or unwise comment a candidate or — these days — someone close to the candidate said, to try and politically hang that candidate for what he or she said or what…by association..the associate said (which means that the candidate must be dangerous).

This kind of ad gets tons of publicity since due to the controversy it’s aired for free on television, covered in blogs, run on You Tube, and the You Tubes are run on blogs — so the message gets out extensively. Virtually for free.

According to The Caucus, Mr. Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, demanded that his boss’ state party remove the ad:

After the Republican National Committee damaged our campaign with their infamous ‘Call Me’ ad — which we immediately denounced — we have strongly encouraged the national party and state parties to absolutely refrain from getting involved in negative personal campaigning, and we have asked the state party to remove their You Tube ad from their Web site.

Republicans will be in much better shape if we spend our time focused on issues like reducing federal spending, lowering the cost of health care and creating a coherent energy policy.

The Tennessee Republican party has made little pretense of doing a no-holds-barred campaign that will grab onto hot button issues.

For instance, earlier this year the party sent out a photo of Obama dressed in African garb. That photo allowed some voters to assume he was dressed like how they felt a Muslim dressed or, if they knew better, further underscored his African (i.e. black) roots.

What does this mean?

Obama can expect A LOT more of this. Saying “lay off my wife” means his political foes (in the GOP, talk radio, cable radio and blogs) will most certainly use “the Michelle issue” extensively, and look for more (and get it if they find it). He has shown it gets to him so they’ll try to get to him more until he overreacts or is damaged by it.

21st century campaigns more and more focus on ways to accentuate personalities, demonize candidates, use guilt by association (if Obama or McCain’s dog bit a neighbor, watch out), or set up straw man arguments (“There are those who say…” when those may not be saying that at all..).

If there were only a few real issues to talk about, it might be different…

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • Mike_P

    I really think conservative 527s/Republican campaigns and their like would be smart to “back off” Michelle Obama. I mean, given Cindy McCain’s history of drug abuse/addiction and rumored mental instability, as well as her refusal to release her tax returns and his use of the benefits her wealth brings – paid for air transport, for instance, I’m not sure they oughta’ go there. Not to mention how crass it is, after all.

    But they just can’t help themselves, can they? It’s how they roll.

  • vwcat

    I disagree. Seeing the clip from the interview Obama was making a strong statement and then at the end he gave a nasty little grin. To me it showed he relishes going up against them if they do so. He may already know what he will do but, this whole election season so far has shown that to underestimate the man is to look foolish.
    He may want an excuse, by putting this out, that if they persist then Cindy McCain becomes fair game.
    It also makes McCain look weak by not being able to make the state parties listen to him if he tries to tell them to stop. And then, Obama can use that.
    My guess is that Obama has something up his sleeve.

  • AustinRoth

    Um, if she is going out on the campaign trail, not only shilling for her husband but expressing her political points of view, why isn’t she fair game? She made herself part of her husband’s campaign.

  • “Um, if she is going out on the campaign trail, not only shilling for her husband but expressing her political points of view, why isn’t she fair game?”

    By today’s political rules there isn’t any argument that she’s “fair game”. The problem occurs due to the fact that the majority of the country is sick of today’s political rules – it is sad that both parties spend money attacking their opponents, but when they have to stoop to attacking that candidate’s wife, mother, father, kids, or whoever it is tremendously distasteful, and made even moreso when the subject’s words are distorted.

    If that argument seems unreasonable, consider for a moment whether it would seem distasteful to see an ad attacking the current first lady, or if there had been an ad attacking Nancy Reagan. They both campaigned for their husbands, and I’m sure they both said some things that could be used for attacks, but any such attacks would have seemed totally distasteful. The argument that things are somehow different with Obama’s wife is a tough one to buy.

  • StockBoySF

    Austin, you raise a good point. She’s made herself par of her husband’s campaign and she should be fair game. Perhaps not as “fair game” as Obama is because it is he, not she, who will be elected. Though spouses should be looked at and considered. But I think the constant attack on Michelle over this statement does go a little far. Can’t the GOP come up with anything about her beliefs or positions to attack?

    As far as Corker’s stance is concerned: I don’t know enough about him or his politics to speculate about his motives. Perhaps he does see the peril that Cindy McCain brings to her husband and Corker is being preemptive, hoping to head off attacks on Cindy before those attacks harm her husband’s chances.

  • CStanley

    Why doesn’t anyone question Obama about why Bill is fair game, if spouses who campaign actively and give stump speeches are supposed to be off limits for criticism of those speeches? It’s not like someone is criticizing something Michelle Obama did in her private life- it’s what she said in a campaign speech for her husband that is being played.

    I have to agree though that this could cause a backlash on Cindy McCain- and although the same principle should apply (anything she says in campaign speeches should be fair game, but not her personal life), there’s no doubt that people would use other things against her as well.

  • StockBoySF

    Bill is fair game- he was prez. after all and has much more influence within the US and world stage than Michelle does. Hill would most definitely rely heavily upon Bill for his advice and influence.

    Now that’s not to say that the attacks on Bill have all been fair… I’m just saying that given Bill’s influence, star attraction, power and campaign experience (including his creative definitions) that it’s necessary to treat him as the co-President he will surely be. Michelle may influence Obama’s thinking but will nonetheless first and foremost be a First Lady.

  • Michelle’s a strong woman. She can take it and in the long run, just like every other time people go overboard, it will work in his favor.

  • StockBoySF

    Angela, good point thanks! Michelle would make an awesome First Lady.

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