Thursday 1 May 2008

Playing the politics of fear

As a former politics of student, this years US presidential election is shaping up to be very interesting and especially the battle for the democratic primary.

What I have found fascinating is how Hilary Clinton and her team have been using all the best republican tricks to try and discredit Obama.

Take for example, her recent mention in a speech of Louis Farakhan, who had once met the Obamas radical pastor. While clearly there is no link with Obama, why mention it unless you want to sow fear into the minds of the white population.

Michael Crowley article There's real danger to Obama in a cry of 'snob' highlighted exactly why character is so important in the US elections and how the Republicans in the past have so skillfully exploited it

"The man knew whereof he spoke, for character largely explains how Bush won two presidential elections. In 2004, torture and beheadings were the norm in Iraq. Yet Republicans substantially focused the election around John Kerry's persona. He was a flip-flopper, a windsurfer and snowboarder, a Swiss-educated man with a slightly 'foreign' mien. Never mind that Bush was the wealthy son of a former President educated at both Yale and Harvard - he was the 'regular guy'.

Amazingly, one poll taken just before the election showed that pro-Bush voters cared more about 'character and strength of leadership [than] how a candidate stands on the issues' by a nearly three-to-one margin. Is it any wonder American politics is the subject of ridicule and derision around the world?

It had been the same story four years earlier. A long stretch of peace and prosperity had made Al Gore clear favourite to succeed Clinton. But the GOP skilfully caricatured Gore as a pedantic snob, a know-it-all who allegedly claimed to have 'invented' the internet. That defamation campaign, in turn, was modelled after the 1988 ridicule of Michael Dukakis as a product of pointy-headed academic Boston"

Just in cast you'd forgotten how much the Republicans exploited Iraq and 9/11 four years ago, watch this video

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