Monday, August 18, 2008

A Senator and a Gentleman

Field Negro wonders whether Obama was too gentlemanly in his defense of McCain during an exchange today with a supporter during a town hall meeting in Reno.

"He was the fattest man when he got off the plane....He didn't want to talk about how he turned in all those names," the supporter said of McCain.

As is his style, Obama refused to co-sign on a clearly inappropriate remark: "Respectfully I am going to disagree about Senator McCain's service, I think his policies are terrible, I think his service was honorable."

However, Field Negro wasn't impressed: "Don't apologize and come to the other guy's defense. ... (Bush) and his ilk show their opponents no respect, and that's how they win elections."

I'd also like to respectfully disagree.

The answer for Obama and other Democrats, I think, is not to engage in the same sort of divisive, Swiftboat-style politics that twice sent Bush to the White House. Obama has not become a frontrunner by fighting dirty; he's offered a more nuanced, thoughtful approach for voters around the country who seem to be growing tired of the resolute and righteous Right Wing.

You really think, given the chance, that Field Negro's so-called "frat boy" could win his way into the White House with the same playbook? I think we all know the answer to that.

Were Obama to embrace cheap shots and deploy Democratic Rove-like goons, it might actually taint one of his more appealing qualities. He is a gentleman, and aspires to elevate political discourse in a way that has been sorely missing from 21st-Century campaigns. Things done changed, as Biggie might say.

And that includes occasionally coming to the defense of an opponent who might not return the favor.

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