22 September 2008

22 September 2008 - Lefty Jews roped into fear-mongering campaign

Obama strategist David Axelrod has been accused of masterminding a "sockpuppet" campaign against Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, using a faked "grassroots" information effort to spread vicious lies about her. At the very least, it is clear from breaking reports that the smear campaign against her has been orchestrated by a professional public relations agency.

We hear lots of complaining by Obama that he is the target of a "misinformation" campaign. His surrogates repeat the claim in conference calls with Jewish leaders and activists. Obama himself shouts the claim at old ladies asking uncomfortable questions.

(How about that debate over "temperament" now, Senator? John McCain gets interrupted by protesters all the time but has never reacted like that.)

The claim about a "misinformation" campaign against Obama has less to do with reality and more to do with narcissistic paranoia and a fear of facing certain true but uncomfortable facts about Obama's life and candidacy. Some of the "smears" Obama complains about, such as the fact that he voted to allow babies that survived abortion to be killed, are simply true.

It is Obama's own campaign--or, at least, his close supporters--that is engaged in a real smear effort. And many Jewish voters--desperate to find a reason to avoid breaking the psychological barrier and actually voting Republican on the merits are participating.

Friends and relatives have e-mailed me demonstrably false accusations about Sarah Palin, such as the lie that she banned books from a library. It is clear that they are sending these emails to many people and that they have been circulated widely already. This is part of an attempt, conscious or unconscious, to frighten Jews by resorting to old fears of Republicans--particularly religious Christian voters.

For example, Ha'aretz, the left-wing Israeli daily, has been running the graphic below for quite some time:

Burston's article appeared a week ago, yet is still on the front page of a newspaper whose website is updated daily. Interestingly, what Burston sees as "truly frightening" about Sarah Palin is that she seemed unable to identify the "Bush doctrine" in an interview with Charlie Gibson, but Burston himself does not identify what that doctrine is (and Gibson got it wrong, too).

I'm not saying that Ha'aretz is part of a smear campaign, but it is the main news source for lefty Jews on Israel (and lefty Jews in Israel) and it reflects what is going on in the lefty Jewish community. No one is making rational comparisons between Palin and Joe Biden (or Barack Obama, for that matter). Instead, they're running around hysterically proclaiming that she is some kind of terrifying conservative monster from the primeval Pat Buchanan past.

Whenever I challenge my Obama-leaning friends and family on this point, or point out Palin's enthusiastic support for Israel (in contrast to Obama's dubious associations and clumsy coverup pandering), the response is always: "The courts! The courts! Roe v. Wade!" This even comes from Jewish Americans who live in Israel or are well past childbearing age and will not be affected by any change in American abortion laws whatsoever (unlikely in any case, given that nothing happened on that score in the eight years of the Bush presidency).

This indicates to me that the campaign against Palin among lefty Jews is not based on who she is or what she offers but on fears about the Republicans that are at least twenty years out of date. And the flipside of this "sockpuppet" effort is the outright intimidation against Jewish organizations being practiced by the Democrat leadership. I am still waiting to hear a word of protest about Palin being compared to a Nazi by the Obama campaign, about the arm-twisting to get Palin uninvited from today's anti-Ahmedinejad protest, and about the smear campaign allegedly being masterminded by that paragon of Jewish political activists, David Axelrod.


At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel is absolutely right about the phenomenon he is describing in relation to the Obama smear campaign. This combined with her relative "inexperience" has made her a liability to the McCain campaign. But if the fear of her inexperience had not been fueled by the smear campaign it might not have reached the proportions it did.
It does look as if Obama is going to win this election, although it will be closer in the end, because of concerns regarding Obama's inexperience. There can be no question that Obama will be worse for Israel than McCain, the question is how much worse. What will be really bad is when he puts his attempts to negotiate with Iran's leadership at the front of his agenda. Do people really believe the line that giving Iran a chance to change will strengthen future confrontation with Iran? All it will do is confirm in the Iranian leadership their contempt for a failed Western civilization. In light of last century's Shoah, Jews who are not even considering their vote concerning this point, and are willing to trust Obama instead of trying to correct him, are going to feel awful when the Middle East unravels into apocalpytic war before their very eyes. No one should be relying on the conventional wisdom that election promises do not have to be fulfilled by the winning candidates. It is too risky.


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