McCain takes a page out of Buddy Ryan’s playbook


I was all of about 13 or 14 years old when the Eagles played the Cowboys in the infamous “Bounty Bowl” series of the late 1980s.  Apparently the coach of the Eagles coach, Buddy Ryan, put a $200 bounty on the Cowboy kicker.  Though the Eagles were a good, playoff-bound team at the time and the Cowboys would finish 1-15, other coaches seem have followed suit with the strategy of if you can’t beat the other team fair and square, the hurt their best player to level the playing field.

Ignoring that lame attempt to work the Eagles into a post about pure politics, John McCain seems to have let his standing in the polls – the latest a 9-pt. deficit according to Gallup – dictate the levels to which he will go in his attacks on Obama.

Politico provides a pretty cold, detached analysis of the strategy while Talking Points Memo adds a little outrage over the McCain’s attempts to hit Obama at the knees.

The constant drumbeat of complaints by the McCain campaign about the alleged “favoritism” being shown to Obama by the major media outlets almost insulates McCain, in some perverse way, from any criticism by the media of these attacks.  Most of the coverage will probably follow the Politico lead in simply stating that McCain is attacking Obama’s character and then going to great lengths to say why this strategy could work WITHOUT actually saying whether Obama has anything wrong with his character.  Instead, they’ll just find a bunch of yahoos who, as Dick Polman puts it, “refuse to believe what they read in mainstream newspapers will nevertheless willingly swallow the toxic sludge that arrives as email.”

They’ll run a few quotes from this folks along the lines of “Obama doesn’t seem like a very American name” or “I heard he plays basketball not lawn darts like a good president would.”  Meanwhile, the real substantive conversation about whether Obama’s life experiences, professional work and knowledge of such minor things as, well, the Constitution, would make him a suitable choice for president.  Appartently, we’ve already had those conversations about McCain and found him acceptable.  When, I don’t remember.  Wesley Clark tried to start that conversation but apparently the matter had already been settled.

Anyway, the media should just use their bullhorn for what we, the people, intended when we gave them free use of the airwaves: to refocus our attention on the substantive issues of the debate rather than magnify the ridiculous ones.

Where is the political media version of Joe Buck who once did about 45 seconds on why it was disgusting for Randy Moss to fake moon the Green Bay fans?  I guess it’ll be up to Olbermann.


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