As November looms in the not-so-far-off distance, the story will become more defined and the election will become about one or two issues. While voters will still be worried about the economy, health-care costs and Iraq, the focus from the pundits and talking heads will be about meaningless slogans that they will create and blow out of proportion. The media has no interest in pushing real issues. If they focus on the economy or health care, then that becomes the story for the election. The problem with that story is that it doesn't make for a close rating-friendly election. Obama would slaughter old man McCain. The networks need a nail biter so people are glued to the television. The question is of course, what will they go with?
While this might seem complicated or impossible to accurately guess such a thing, there is one common storyline that always seems to bring the nutty right out in support of anything: Patriotism.
I think that this will become the story. Obama has all sorts of "dents" in the eyes of the GOP and the media will hype this up to make the race appear much closer, therefore defining the story for November. And it will work. The wingers love to focus on shallow expressions of patriotism like flag pins, bumper stickers, saluting the flag and telling other people that they know how patriotic others really are.
As John Kerry learned, even serving in Vietnam and being awarded two Purple Hearts is not patriotic enough to pass the average GOP-voter "patriotic" smell test. Besides the fact that more Congressional Dems have served in the military than the GOP, the Right truly believes that only they can be the judge of true patriotism. Afterall, they have outlined the few narrowly defined ways to express patriotism and the metric, of course, is immesuarble, i.e. Kerry went to Vietnam and was branded as unpatriotic, while Bush was too busy with blow to show up.
Here's a typical right-wing comment that I read on Politio in response to that Clark article. If you click on that link, you can scroll down and check out some of the opinions that illustrate just how easy the patriotism card is going to be pulled.
"When did Obama put His Life at risk for America. McCain was tortured for 5 years. Obama has Not even been in the Senate for that long. Obam should be ashamed of such a comment. He refuses any town hall meetings. He wants to have com-lete control of his public appearances and give a prepared speech. He is aferaid to answer questions from voters."
Time will tell and I hope that I'm wrong on this, but the media often proves just how incompetent they are.