Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Das Bull

I finally got a chance to take a look at the new McCain attack ad that plays on the celebrity status of Barack in an attempt to convey a 'more sizzle than steak' image of our Democratic nominee. Something struck me as especially odd about the piece, but I had to watch it a few times to get at what it was. If you haven't seen it, watch it now and see if anything comes to mind.

It finally dawned on me as if I was hit upside the head with some schnitzel. Despite the gratuitous images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, it is another celebrity altogether with whom the ad attempts to link Obama.

The opening of the piece
- the chanting German crowds, the camera angles, all of it - looked like an updated version of old Hitler newsreel footage. Watch it a couple of times and you realize (at least I do) that this is no coincidence. On its surface, the ad is a routine 'don't believe the hype' piece. But the real subtext of this commercial is to implant a 'cult of personality' message by shamelessly invoking Nazi parallels.

I'll admit to having reservations about my belief that McCain supporters would stoop to such a tactic, but my doubts were quickly allayed when I did a search on the Google for 'Obama Hitler'. It took all of .19 seconds to find a slew of results including this gem by a writer for the National Review. In whining about the fact that McCain simply can't get any attention from the media, she talked about how much attention Barack's acceptance speech at the convention will likely generate. Apparently having no rational way of trying to make a point, she blurts out:
To me, this is evocative of something Leni Riefenstahl might have documented.
For those who miss the somewhat obscure, and inflammatory, reference, Leni Riefenstahl was, among many other things, the cinematographer of the Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the Will", a film that purely coincidentally contains the rally footage from the 1934 Nuremburg Congress that was evoked by my watching the McCain ad.

But don't think that the vitriol is is limited to your Republican media outlets. Continuing this year's wacky pastor parade comes Pastor James David Manning, who crosses the line of reason and decency by such lengths that the line is just a blur in the rearview mirror of his crazymobile.

You have got to watch this one to believe it.

The fact that one can find so many variants of this message is simply beyond the pale. And given that they're playing the Hitler card and it is only July, who knows what else they'll trot out between now and November. (Can you imagine if they find out about Barack's '666' birthmark?)

But keep in mind, that even in a Presidential campaign, Godwin's Law still applies. And under Godwin's Law, McCain's a loser.


At July 31, 2008 at 5:27 AM, Blogger ollie said...

Hmmm, it appears that their complaint about Obama is this: "oh no, Obama is popular"!!!!

Oh no, not that!!!! :-)

At July 31, 2008 at 8:51 AM, Anonymous Ohioan for Obama said...

It's one thing to complain that he's popular, but the Hitler inferences are downright Rovian.

Good post.

At July 31, 2008 at 1:45 PM, Anonymous lake county democrat said...

As a Jew who voted for Obama three times already and will again in November, calling this ad "playing the nazi card" is, to me, offensive. Tell me John, have you ever spoken with Alderman Preckwinkle, who won election when a top person in her campaign braintrust went around Hyde Park putting up TRULY anti-semitic posters with Tim Evans' name on it and did no more than chastise him? Um, wasn't that a blatantly gay-bashing reverend who Obama invited on stage with him at a campaign function?

And what was that about "no guilt by association" with Reverend Jerrimiah "AIDS is a government death plot" Wright? Guess when it's McCain we can throw that out in a heartbeat and smear him with whoever comes up in a google search!

Last, and most important, IF YOU TRULY ARE OFFENDED BY HITLER, DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ONLY OFFICIALY CERTIFIED (BY CONGRESS) GENOCIDE GOING ON TODAY, something that both candidates fail miserably on and something to keep in mind while you worship the repeat of MUNICH 1936!

At July 31, 2008 at 3:04 PM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...


Preckwinkle and Wright are irrelevant to my belief that this ad clearly plays the Nazi card. I assure you that this was not a premise that I threw out there lightly, and I only did so because I believe that the ad itself, not my criticism of it, is offensive.

I'll concede your guilt by association issue - to a point. I included the National Review article and the video solely to make the point that the Hitler analogy is not an isolated incident. I was not impugning McCain individually for the other instances.

With respect to McCain's ad though, no "association" issue even exists. He 'approved' the ad. He gets the guilt.

At August 1, 2008 at 10:14 AM, Anonymous lake county democrat said...

I respectfully disagree with the irrelevancies of Preckwinkle - it's something about not throwing stones at glass houses, or cleaning up one's own house, or some "house" thing :-)

But what I said was the most important point goes unanswered. If we're going to take time out of our lives to talk about Hitler, why not address the officially declared genocide going on rather than the implications of a political ad? It's hardly a false dichotomy -- at least I don't believe the Illinois legislature has re-written its sanctions law to comply with the federal judge's instructions after he struck the law as unconstitutional (other states did). And even if it did, compare the attention pols and the media have given this ad with the coverage of Darfur in the last week/month/year. You can say the two are independent, but I think this incident shows what Hitler analogies motivate them and which don't.

PS For all the self-righteousness above, let me praise Nancy Pelosi who has repeatedly been willing to sacrifice political capital for her bright-line views on genocide (be it Armenia or Darfur) -- few pols would have the guts to make even the mildest challenge to the good-time feeling of the Olympics. This is no surprise to those who saw her get in the face of the Clinton administration over China MFN status back when she was just a congresswoman from S.F. The best the GOP can come up with on this front is the marginalized Sam Brownback.


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