Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Double Talk Express?

I follow this guy Cliff on Twitter, and he made a comment about a half hour ago that "Democrats always make things complicated." And I thought, "well, sometimes things are complicated." And that's when I realized he was probably right.

Republicans don't do nuance. I worked at a bookstore with this conservative, very religious guy once, and he told me that he believed that life was entirely binary. Things are either good or bad, black or white. There is no gray.

"But haven't you ever felt like you loved someone and hated them at the same time?," I asked.

"No, that's just a misleading emotion. Deep down, I actually love them or hate them."

We went on like that for a while. The thing is, he's EXTREMELY INCORRECT. Very few things in life are that easy. But, because we remain a rather primitive species in the geologic sense, this faulty reasoning makes a certain amount of common sense to us. It feels like life is this way, or at least, it feels like life ought to be this way - full of clear-cut decisions, well-lit paths and simple truths.

Which is why George Bush can get away with speaking only in these terms, every day, for eight years. (Bush's worldview is so over-simplified and childish, he perpetually sounds as if he's describing his foreign policy to an elementary school class. "America had to go give some of the Bad People a Time Out but if they promise to be good and learn how to share, they can rejoin the rest of the group.")

So what I'm saying is, if you ask a Democrat what to do about a war, you get some long-winded bloviations about strategies, externalities to consider and nitpicky details. Most of it's bullshit anyway, but there's effort made to make the bullshit sound reasonable. But ask a Republican about war and you'll just get some Fantasyland abstraction. "We must be ever-vigilant in our fight against those who would threaten the sanctity of our homeland and assail our way of life."

Now take a look at this anti-McCain ad:

It's good, right? I mean, it uses his own words to make him look stupid, always an effective technique. But I don't really think you need to try this hard to make McCain look stupid. I think the ideal anti-McCain ad might just be that video of him promising to stay in Iraq for 10,000 years. Just play that, no text, no subtitles, and then we hear "I'm Barack Obama, I approved this message and I'm as dumbfounded as you are."

That's seriously all you need. Simple. Old Man Love War. Young Man Prefer Compromise. Obama '08.

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