Pity the poor right. The party faithful's fear and smear machine that has worked in the past--quicker than you could say Swift boating or Willie Horton--just doesn't possess that same old white magic.
Right wing-imagined Bogey men Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers ain't scarin' 'em this Halloween season. Nor are those old, tried but untrue Republican boos about higher taxes and big government. Bald-faced lying doesn't even work--Did you hear the ones about the Michelle Obama tape where she speaks ill of whitey or that Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. was born in a village in Kenya, not the good ol' USA? Do you think that the latest ploy, morphing Rashid Khalidi, director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, into a PLO spokesman and Obama pal, might spook the voters?
It must be frustrating. For the longest the Right has had a bulging bag of dirty tricks and a mountain of mud it summoned at will to muck things up.
This time, it's not working.
Obama just isn't as scary as they believe he should be.
The Democrat is cleaning McPalin's clock in Red states that should readily be in the taken-for-granted column. In Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the Democrat enjoys a commanding lead in the polls. In Florida and North Carolina, he and John McCain are tied. Even bloody red Indiana is in play and one poll has him just two points ahead of Obama in Arizona.
This time, real-world fears got in the way of the Right's manufactured ones: The housing crisis, the credit collapse and the plunging stock market.
All of a sudden, the economy was on life-support and the Republicans were still prescribing that we take two aspirins and a tax cut for the rich. Why worry about what might be, when you're trying to survive what is?
Spooky tales about Obama raising your capitol gains tax just aren't the same when you're staring at your portfolio and seeing equities that have lost all their gains. Screaming "welfare" sounds dumb when you're worried about how well you and your family are faring. Crying wolf has no bite once you realized that it's the foxes in the hen house who have ruined the day. Or that George W. Bush is our national gremlin.
And Wednesday night's roadblock commercial only makes it more difficult for any fair-minded America to fear anything but fear itself. His narrative is our narrative and our narrative is his.
That's why the Republicans are running scared. Paper-tiger warnings and scary tales of yore sound like off-key whistling in the graveyard while the Repo man and the sheriff with an eviction notice are both banging on your door. And then there's Sarah Palin--the thought of her sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office is the most frightening thing of all.
Cyber Columnist Monroe Anderson is an award-winning journalist who penned op-ed columns for both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. You can read his blog at http://www.monroeanderson.typepad.com/