Swift Boating: Sure To Sink?

by Michael Crowley | August 16, 2008


Ed Kilgore thinks so:

For all the talk about Obama's "charisma" and "story," he actually may be less vulnerable than Kerry was to attacks on his "personal narrative." As a new Pew survey today illustrates, Obama's credibility as a candidate is heavily based on the popularity of his policy positions. McCain is the candidate who is dangerously dependent on "character" and "biography" as a credential.

Finally, of course, there is zero chance that anti-Obama smears will go unchallenged. The Obama campaign decided a long time ago to abandon the once-prevelant belief that responding to smears gives them too much attention. And the fact that most attacks on Obama's "story" inevitably go over the line into thinly disguised racism is a problem for the smear artists as well, as is evidenced by all the disengenuous whining from the McCain camp about Obama's willingness to play "the race card." Racist appeals are far more effective when they are subtle and implicit, not over-the-top. The fact that the whole political world is aware that race is a factor in this election means it won't be as easy to deploy racial weapons under the radar screen.

--Michael Crowley

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