Thursday, August 14, 2008

Welp, No Surprise Here

Once again, the bullshit swiftboating book machine is in full operation:

In the summer of 2004 the conservative gadfly Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists as co-author of “Unfit for Command,” the book attacking Senator John Kerry’s record on a Vietnam War Swift boat that began the larger damaging campaign against Mr. Kerry’s war credentials as he sought the presidency.

Almost exactly four years after that campaign began, Mr. Corsi has released a new attack book painting Senator Barack Obama, the Democrats’ presumed presidential nominee, as a stealth radical liberal who has tried to cover up “extensive connections to Islam” — Mr. Obama is Christian — and questioning whether his admitted experimentation with drugs in high school and college ever ceased.

Significant parts of the book, whose subtitle is “Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality,” have already been challenged as misleading or false in the days since its debut on Aug. 1. Nonetheless, it is to make its first appearance on The New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction hardcovers this Sunday — at No. 1.

The book is being pushed along by a large volume of bulk sales, intense voter interest in Mr. Obama and a broad marketing campaign that has already included 100 author interviews with talk radio hosts across the country, like Sean Hannity and G. Gordon Liddy, Mr. Corsi said on Tuesday.

The publisher is Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster whose chief editor is Mary Matalin, the former Republican operative turned publisher-pundit. And it is a significant, early success for Ms. Matalin’s three-year-old imprint, which is also planning to publish the memoirs of Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political guru. Threshold says it has undertaken an extensive printing effort for anticipated demand, with 475,000 copies of “The Obama Nation” produced so far.

“The goal is to defeat Obama,” Mr. Corsi said in a telephone interview. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.”

Apparently this is one of the "unfit for command" guys. Whoopee. Well, he's just a patsy. The real point is that machine discussed in the section I bolded above. People have been talking about the "mighty Wurlitzer" for nearly a decade now, but what's shocking is that it still hasn't changed. We've still got the same suspects cranking out the same lies from the same machine, because the left still hasn't really got its act together.

(How bad? Well, if you want to know, go read Matt Bai's The Argument. It remains one of the most important (yet overlooked) books out there, because it details exactly why liberals haven't been able to build their own machine or tear down the other one. That imbalance is at the heart of modern American politics, and a lot of people realize it: but thanks to the divisions between those who are writing, those with the money, and those with the Congressional and State Houses seats, the right still manages to trump its opposition.

It's not as bad as it used to be. I remember 2002-2003- it's definitely not as bad as it used to be. But damned if this book doesn't show how the Wurlitzer is still very much operational.

Edit: And, naturally, it doesn't matter if every word in the book is disproven. One of the facts that's been rather difficult for many people (including myself) to accept is that, a lot of the time, whether you're right or wrong has little to do with whether people accept what you say. If you reconfirm their biases, they'll do all the hard work of convincing themselves for you. If you challenge them, it'll be an uphill struggle to get them to listen. The right knows they can tap into the fears about a black president with a "funny name" to play up all manner of underlying stereotypes and biases, and know exactly which ones they're after.

(Why do you think the book makes such a big deal out of Obama's purported drug use? It ain't because he's a liberal, folks.)

That's as true for the media as it is for everybody else; they have their own prejudices and biases. Hence The Real McCain getting overlooked by the McCain-friendly media, who think that he's the genial "maverick" he purported to be, while Obama Nation gets widespread coverage, as it gives them the secret little shiver of malicious delight at watching Republicans beat up on Democrats.

(They don't really want to like it, but those evil old men are just so good at it, and those liberals just think they're soooo smart.)

Sucks, don't it? Still, it could be worse. Imagine what they would have done to Hillary.

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