Oh shit – I just caught up with this story about the alleged beating of a McCain supporter in Pennsylvania – not only does it follow the form of the key Joe the Plumber and Palin/Wolves narratives of the McCain campaign, it reveals what makes this campaign season so different from the others that have gone before.
Obama proved that Lakoff was right – he’s followed many of George’s recommendations to a T, to great effect. The most interesting part about Lakoff’s strategy is how much he talks about it – he has injected discourse about discourse into the campaign and helped make McCain’s incompetence running his race a key issue.
And that’s why Ashley Todd’s fake story about being assaulted matters. Because it links McCain with the rhetorical tactics of the Willie Horton ad, and sinks him for playing dirty. Progressive folks and politics in general now talks about strategic communications more than communications itself – and the beating story links McCain with a type of Attwater hardball that this discussion about communication roundly rejects.