It was a hard week for John McCain: after his lackluster debate performance, an unflattering report on Sarah Palin’s trooper business, and continuing turmoil in the stock market, he’s down in the polls. His supporters are feeling the desperation: McCain rallies have grown so furious that some of his campaign staff are disturbed, and the alarmed candidate has started telling his fans to cool it.
But neither McCain nor anyone else can get rightbloggers to cool it. True, there’s been some maudlin despair; even a normally pep-filled RedState author said that “the McCain chances of winning diminish on a daily basis,” and Rod Dreher hinted that he would vote for Ron Paul.
But remember, whatever their electoral fortunes, rightbloggers’ backs are always against the wall — the left, the media, and most of the known world outside the red states is always somehow oppressing them. If the economy and the voters have also turned on them, that just increases their eagerness for combat.
So in this past, eventful week, rightbloggers fought on the grounds left to them: they attacked Obama as a terrorist-by-proxy and McCain “wets” as traitors, and warned of the Democrats’ plot to bring back the ruinous policies of that socialist villain, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Tuesday’s Obama-McCain debate, as we have noted elsewhere, was hard going for rightbloggers: Michelle Malkin‘s “I think I’m going to throw up” was not atypical. Some rightbloggers suppressed nausea by focusing on oddities: Ann Althouse wrote a long post about an imaginary transmitting device in Obama’s ear (“just because the thing I saw wasn’t there doesn’t mean there wasn’t something there that I didn’t see”).
But that was quickly forgotten as rightbloggers got back to Bill Ayers, the former Weatherman whose acquaintance, National Review‘s Peter Kirsanow insisted, “alone disqualifies Obama from being president.” For many days now, a scan of NatRev‘s The Corner has reliably turned up “more than 100 matches” of Ayers’ name. Rightbloggers generally demanded McCain adopt their mania and ride it to victory. “Obama’s associations with such figures as William Ayers, Tony Rezko and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright should be hammered home by McCain,” said Heading Right, “not only at every political rally, but also at each debate between these two presidential contenders.”
Their endless pounding of Obama’s dealings with Ayers having failed to stir a popular revolt, some went further. Jack Cashill suggested that Ayers had actually ghost-written Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father. “Is Cashill onto something?” asked Ann Althouse; “Cashill raises significant questions,” said Andy McCarthy.
When outsiders suggested all this was a poor use of campaign energy, rightbloggers grew testy: Jules Crittenden snarled that Josh Marshall was “some dweeb on the Internet,” and John Cole “throws hissy fits.”
But that was nothing compared to the rage rightbloggers turned on conservatives insufficiently supportive of McCain. When David Brooks made some noises of discomfort with Sarah Palin, National Review‘s Victor Davis Hanson called it “part of a larger pernicious conservative trend” — that is, Brooks referring to intellectuals like Reinhold Niebuhr when he should have been yelling “Drill, Baby, Drill.” Mark Steyn traced Brooks’ “condescension” to shortly after September 11 and asked, “when the next shoebomber bends down to strike his match, would [Brooks] rather the guy sitting in the next seat is too immersed in his Niebuhr to notice?”
“DAVID BROOKS IS PROVING HE BELONGS AT THE NYTIMES WITH THAT IDIOT TOM FRIEDMAN AND THAT MORON KRUGMAN AND THAT SLEEZEBAG DOWD AND THAT LOON HERBERT,” added The Astute Bloggers.
Christopher Buckley, son of William F. and now an Obama supporter, got mostly gentler treatment at National Review, being part of its royalty, but much rougher from Five Feet of Fury (“Victor Davis Hanson… bashes Chris Buckley’s face in [please]”), Conservative Heritage Times (“What a joke!”), the Right Coast (“pathetic… one might have hoped for more from a Buckley”), et alia.
And those McCain people nervous about the ugly turn the campaign was taking? “Concern trolls,” said The Other McCain. “The only conceivable way John McCain can win this thing is to be as relentlessly vicious as a horror-film monster.”
As to the economy, some rightbloggers continued to work the angle that the crash was caused by Democrats making banks lend money to black people. But others noticed a similarity between our current crisis and the Great Depression — and asked voters to choose the party of Hoover rather than the party of Roosevelt.
At RedState Pejman Yousefzadeh lectured on the horrors of the New Deal, and at National Review Jonah Goldberg said, “the tragedy is that this election year does look quite a bit like Hoover vs. Roosevelt (and given that choice, I’ll take Hoover)…”
Right Coast had been thinking of boycotting McCain, but is so fearful that “electing Obama and the congressional Democrats will be like electing FDR in 1932” that he’s leaning Republican again.
Ed Driscoll tried to cover both bases by denouncing the New Deal and then linking to Hugh Hewitt, who compared Obama to Herbert Hoover. But overall their message is clear: a vote for Obama is a vote for a Neo-New Deal.
We sincerely hope this gets around. FDR is better-known than Bill Ayers, so it should be easier for rightbloggers to connect him to the current Democratic candidate. Then they can tell voters about the golden age of free enterprise that existed before Roosevelt brought in the twin scourges of the WPA and Social Security, and how McCain’s will be the second Hoover Administration America never had. It makes as much sense as anything else rightbloggers have been trying and, if McCain runs with it, would have the added advantage of showing the rest of America what modern conservatism is really about.