WHY CONSERVATIVES NEED GUILT BY ASSOCIATION.

It's pretty obvious why John McCain is pushing guilt by
association -- he needs to do something to shake-up the campaign, and
he's pinning his hopes on a desperate attempt to convince the world
that Barack Obama has some sleazy connection to former Weatherman William Ayers. Apparently, being on the board of a foundation funded by Ronald Reagan's ambassador to Great Britain at the same time as a former radical makes you guilty of ... well, knowing a former radical.

But the real question is, why are some conservative intellectuals -- I'm pointing at the Corner gang
-- taking this seriously? They've concocted a fantasy world where the
biggest unknown is whether Obama is a Maoist or Stalinist. I kid you not.
Keep in mind, Obama is a guy who is subject to a lot of suspicion among
the actual far left. If we engaged in the same level of intellectual
chicanery here at TAPPED, I'd be breathlessly debating what kind of fascist John McCain is; after all, he served on the board of an organization that included neo-Nazis and supported right-wing death squads in South America.

But we're not doing that, because John McCain's actually stated
policy goals are scary in and of themselves. He does want to continue
the war in Iraq indefinitely, with no plan for, or even concept of,
what a victory would like look like. He'd love to pass $300 billion in
tax cuts. He plans to end employer-based health care as we know it. He
thinks Sarah Palin is a competent public official. No need for
me to argue that McCain was secretly indoctrinated into a national
socialist front and that's he's been infiltrating the government for
years so that, as president, he can seize the reins of the state. (Yes,
that's what the Corner folks argue Obama is attempting).

No doubt the writers at NRO sincerely believe what they've written
there. (Note: this isn't all conservatives or even everyone at NRO;
some realize that they need ideas that matter in context of the times).
But there may be a larger issue. Liberal policies are mostly popular,
reasonable, and increasingly feasible in relation to the larger world
around them, while the last six months have seen conservative rhetoric
have less and less to do with reality, particularly in the economic
realm. It's very hard for conservatives to say that Obama's ideas are
dangerous and be taken seriously. So all that remains is convincing
themselves -- and likely only themselves -- that Obama's rhetoric is
vague enough to impute a future rife with left-wing plots straight out
of Reagan's bad dreams, instead of what responsible reporting indicates
will be pragmatic center-left policies. Well, whatever gets them
through their long, dark night of the soul.

-- Tim Fernholz

P.S. The best line from a recent McCain campaign press release: "Obama
Spokesman Ben LaBolt Told The New York Times That Last Year Obama And
Ayers 'Bumped Into Each Other On The Street In Hyde Park.'" Oh noes!

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