Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Republican Strategy: Straight from Sesame Street

For some time, I have been meaning to post a couple of thoughts I had after reading The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. At the time, I was worried that the book would launch a wave of attacks similar to those that hit Kerry in 2004. Thankfully, that didn't happen--largely due to prompt responses by the Obama campaign and supporters. The media has since moved on to other things (e.g., Palin-mania), but I wanted to get my points out there anyway.

The book epitomizes two of the things that trouble me deeply about politics today, particularly as it is played by the core of the Republican party (aka, the "religious right"). First is the abuse of science and academics to prop up completely bogus claims. "Dr. Corsi," and others in his camp, attempt to mimic the methods of scientists and academics but ignore the most critical aspects of those disciplines (such as refutability in science), in a blatant attempt to support their own views rather than to discover the truth. Second, there is a subtextual campaign to divide the world into "us" and "them," with McCain-Palin in the "us" camp and Obama belonging to "them." You remember the Sesame Street song that goes, "One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn't belong ..."? That about sums up the theme of The Obama Nation, and for that matter the entire Republican strategy this election season. (Though in all fairness, I don't think that's the message that the Cookie Monster was promoting.)