The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Guilt by association: the other side of the coin

October 10, 2008

My side of the blogsphere seems to think the video of a McCain supporter mouthing off about socialists and hoodlums is an indictment of McCain himself.

When I watch the video, I see McCain affirming the man’s anger but trying hard not to endorse his views. McCain, in fact, says he will work with “anyone” to solve the current crisis.

Although I find the accusation that the contemporary Democratic party and its Presidential nominee are “socialists” bizarre, particularly in light of recent events, this is pretty weak tea when it comes to the rants of everyday partisans.

So why is it getting so much attention? Because it comes on a day of (1) reports of genuinely scary stuff at McCain-Palin rallies and (2) the decision of the Republicans to slime Obama. But this video just isn’t evidence of a McCain descent into demagoguery, nor of anything worthy of indignation.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.