Belmont Club

Fire at will

It’s called going pre-emptively negative.  The Politico says that the Obama campaign has decided that since John McCain is about to launch “dishonorable” attacks on Barack Obama, the Democratic Presidential candidate will go medieval on him first.

Branding his opponent as “erratic in a crisis,” Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is preempting plans by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to portray him as having sinister connections to controversial Chicagoans. Obama officials call it political jujitsu – turning the attacks back on the attacker.

McCain officials had said early in the weekend that they plan to begin advertising after Tuesday’s debate that will tie Obama to convicted money launderer Tony Rezko and former Weathermen radical William Ayers. But Obama isn’t waiting to respond. His campaign is going up Monday on national cable stations with a scathing ad saying: “Three quarters of a million jobs lost this year. Our financial system in turmoil. And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy. No wonder his campaign wants to change the subject.

“Turn the page on the financial crisis by launching dishonorable, dishonest ‘assaults’ against Barack Obama. Struggling families can’t turn the page on this economy, and we can’t afford another president who is this out of touch.” Then Obama says: “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message.”

One of Hitler’s biggest strategic blunders was to declare war on the United States on December 11, 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While the USN had been fighting an undeclared naval war against the Kriegsmarine in the battle to escort convoys across the Atlantic for some time, the joint resolution to declare hostilities on December 8th did not include Germany. Nazi Germany, by declaring war against the US, saved Roosevelt the trouble of having to make the case that it should be at war with Hitler too. The German declaration, signed by Ribbentrop said:

Although Germany on her part has strictly adhered to the rules of international law in her relations with the United States during every period of the present war, the Government of the United States from initial violations of neutrality has finally proceeded to open acts of war against Germany. The Government of the United States has thereby virtually created a state of war. The German Government, consequently, discontinues diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declares that under these circumstances brought about by President Roosevelt Germany too, as from today, considers herself as being in a state of war with the United States of America.

That gave Roosevelt the freedom to pursue the strategy he really wanted.  Pacifists had no answer to the Nazi fait accompli. They had not yet hit upon the modern Leftist tactic of simply ignoring an enemy declaration of war on the grounds that it was too culturally insensitive to take the enemy at its word.  But in the context of the current campaign, going openly pre-emptively negative on McCain would make it pointless for the Republicans to hold back against Obama.  All restraint can now be thrown to the four winds. For example, McCain might even venture utter BHO’s middle name, the connotations be damned. So there. Obama would arguably have been better off continuing to hit out unrestrictedly through his proxies in the MSM, with their stories of rape kits, tanning beds, fake pregnancies, POW betrayals, terminal cancer — or sadly recognizing that Larry Flynt is within his First Amendment rights to distribute porn films starring Sarah Palin look-alikes — while maintaining the appearance of a high-minded campaign. So why should Obama literally free his rival to strike out?

One possibility is Obama may believe that the financial crisis gives him enough ammunition and the MSM enough gun barrels to simply gain fire superiority over McCain and keep him pinned down. The other is to start the meme that he is in the process of being ‘cheated’ or defeated by ‘dishonorable’ tactics so that the political ground is prepared for post-electoral action in the event he is defeated, especially if the margin is narrow.  Finally Obama may have calculated that McCain was going to loosen up the rules of engagement, following reports that Tony Rezko was talking to prosecutors, and decided to follow suit.

It’s going to be an interesting home stretch.