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Obama: Just STFU Already...Or Else!

Submitted by Tully on Thu, 08/28/2008 - 11:04am

Glenn Reynolds has a linkage collection on the more recent attempts by the Obama campaign to strong-arm critics into silence, including the recent attempt to keep Stanley Kurtz off of the air, and the attempt to criminalize this previously-mentioned Obama/Ayers ad:

I can hardly wait for the Khalid al-Monsour connection to get sorted out, but you can bet it will be, and then used against Obama if the oppo research people can put any real meat to it. So far the major attacks from Obama have been aimed at people who bring up his unfortunately close long-term association with Ayers. It's getting downright Nixonian in Obama-land.

(And yes, I will post that video link every time I feel the need to mention this incident, just to emphasize how counter-productive such critic-stifling attempts are for a campaign.)

UPDATE: National Review responds to the Obama campaign attempt to muzzle Stanley Kurtz:

Barack Obama, Aspiring Commissar

While the Obama coronation proceeds apace in Denver, it is in Chicago that Americans are getting a disturbing demonstration of his thuggish methods of stifling criticism.

...The Obama campaign — which has emissaries appearing everywhere — declined Rosenberg’s invitation to have a representative appear on the program and respond to Kurtz’s factual assertions. The campaign did, however, issue an “Obama Action Wire” that encouraged supporters to contact the program (telephone information was provided) and use scripted “talking points” to disrupt Kurtz’s appearance, which it deemed “unacceptable.” As the Politico’s Ben Smith reported, the campaign also urged supporters to demand that Rosenberg scrap the appearance of Kurtz, whom the campaign libeled as a “smear-merchant” and a “slimy character assassin.”

...Kurtz has obviously hit a nerve. It is the same nerve hit by the American Issues Project, whose television ad calling for examination of the Obama/Ayers relationship has prompted the Obama campaign to demand that the Justice Department begin a criminal investigation.

I think "Nixonian" is all too accurate. Of course, if Obama uses Chicago union plumbers, nothing will ever get done, or at least not on schedule.

It's a clever strategy,

It's a clever strategy, because the McCain camp can't respond. The weapon they're going after the ad with is BCRA, better known in some quarters as the McCain-Feingold act. Many on the right have criticized McCain for BCRA, and of course they can go after Obama for this, but McCain himself is basically stuck.

"When someone says their heart needs lifting, don't ask how come, ask how high."

The McCain camp doesn't need

The McCain camp doesn't need to respond, Simon. The ad sponsor is doing a fine job all by themselves, and the Obama camp is enabling them quite well indeed. This leaves the McCain campaign with clean hands, while the Obama campaign jumps into the mud to pig-wrestle. LBJ would be delighted.

I've yet to see

I've yet to see anything suggesting that this sort of "if there's even a whiff of smoke, it must be an inferno" shot is actually hitting the target in any meaningful way. But it's early. This sort of stuff usually works to some extent.

But I think Simon does have a point, because if anyone starts bitching that the avenue of counterattack by democrats is fundamentally improper, the answer is that its what the law says, and then we all know whose name comes up. McCain's.

I mean, your argument really does boil down to "how dare the Obama camp defend itself using the regulations that John McCain championed.?" [Yes, it can boil down to other things too...]

I agree with you that the rectitude of these rules is dubious, but I don't see how you get to make the rectitude argument without getting any on McCain. It was his baby.

The silver lining if you don't have a dog in the hunt is that the whole episode might call attention to the subjective unworkability of the current law.
I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel. -Horace Walpole

No, it doesn't

I mean, your argument really does boil down to "how dare the Obama camp defend itself using the regulations that John McCain championed.?"

No, it doesn't. In the first place, my "argument" is simply that the Obama campaign is demonstrating pronounced thuggish strong-arm jack-booted tendencies in an attempt to stifle free speech, which portends poorly for the future should Obama win.

And the secondary argument is that political pig-wrestling is pretty stupid, an amateur mistake. You only get covered with mud, make yourself look stupid and dirty in public, and the pig enjoys it. At best, you make the pig look as bad as you...but the pig doesn't much care. In the meantime you've diverted resources and used up focus and time. This makes your opponent happy.

The only time it even remotely makes sense is when your opponent themselves is the pig, and that's a different story.

it makes sense

You also argued that McCain can stay clean.

It makes sense if you've already got some on ya, and if by keeping the contest alive you can drag the other guy into it. Like that point wasn't obvious in my last post.

I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel. -Horace Walpole

Apparently the point that

Apparently the point that this ad did not originate with the McCain campaign and that it is the Obama campaign down in the mud stupidly wrestling the happy pig has been lost to you in your dilatory diversionism.

oh, right

Oh, I forgot. McCain is clean on this, you're sticking with that.

And I'm the one using dilatory diversionism. Gotcha! ROTFL.

This has NOTHING to do with McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, not even conceivably. McCain can't possibly get dragged into this if it drags on. Sure. OK.
I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel. -Horace Walpole

Nice try, Brian. Once again

Nice try, Brian. Once again you have completely ignored the points both primary and secondary to indulge in, yes, dilatory diversionism. What YOU want to make it out as is your own mileage, as is your perception of the color of the sky in your geographical region.

Should you ever care to address those points instead of trying to bodily drag the discussion away from them, have at.

Let me agree on the two points, in that it's bad form to silence

critics this way, and it's stupid politically. The old rule still applies that if you tell people they can't or shouldn't see something, it only makes them want to see it more. It makes it look like Obama;s trying to hide something.

The counterattack ad was good, although he needs to explain the details more. Even if Obama's camp has an airtight legal argument, what good does it do them?

"In the world you will find tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world."

John 16:33

Their legal argument is

Their legal argument is indeed far from airtight. It's downright dubious. Which makes it even stupider to pursue, as that too is a lose-lose path.

When in a hole, stop digging. Or at least try digging laterally instead of down.

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