Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fighting smears: A damn good idea

I remember when the rumor mill was going full tilt about the Clintons in 1992, and thinking that as unsavory as I found them (even before I had a grasp as to what neoliberalism was, I could tell there was something wrong about the policies that the "New Democrats" and the DLC were pushing), the smears against them were worse than worthless. Fast forward 16 years and I can say practically the same thing with regard to the Obamas and the smear campaign that has been going on in earnest. I'm hoping that the tide is turning with regard to the legitimacy of the smear campaign, given that even folks who would ordinarily be hostile to Obama's candidacy are debunking the outright lies that have been spread by the pinche puercos at No Quarter and elsewhere. The latest has to do with the Barack Obama's birth certificate.

There's probably no ideal way to deal with smears. From my standpoint, smear campaigns are a form of bullying, and over the years I've become convinced that the best bet is to simply fight the bullies - in this case by debunking the lies as proactively as possible. Obama probably should have done this a bit sooner, but so it goes. It won't stop the smear-mongers entirely, of course, as the folks who are prone to smear others seem to enjoy wallowing in their own filth. What can be accomplished is to eliminate the credibility of those attempting to spread vicious lies, leaving them isolated in their own ever-shrinking echo chambers. As a public services, I'd also suggest consulting Snopes.com's urban legend dossiers for Barack Obama and John McCain before writing or saying anything stupid. There is plenty of ammunition out there for those wishing to challenge both of those candidates based upon the positions they've taken, their voting records, and so on without resorting to smears.

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