Without a doubt, the timing was purely coincidental.
In late 1964, Shirley Ellis recorded a memorable melody, with a nod toward novelty.
“The Name Game” zoomed up the charts and into childhood memories. For kids then, as well as kids now, it has become a staple of youthful singalongs from day care to day camp.
Unintentionally, its title also captures the essence of an enduring campaign tactic brutally and effectively employed in that American election year.
Child’s play it ain’t… but name-calling it is.
For Lyndon Johnson, who had longed for the presidency from boyhood, only to assume it in sudden and awful fashion, the goal was obvious.
LBJ had to find a way to move past the trauma of Jack Kennedy’s assassination to his own electoral confirmation.
That path went right through Arizona’s Barry Goldwater.
To detract from his own Texas-sized flaws, Lyndon sought to bury Barry by calling Goldwater an “extremist.”
Aided by a press corps eager to serve as an “echo chamber” (sound familiar?) and an infamously memorable TV ad that juxtaposed a little girl pulling petals off a daisy with the detonation of a nuclear bomb, it worked.
That’s why virtually every GOP nominee in almost every campaign since has been hit with the same sobriquet.
Conservatives may find this particular political “Name Game” lame, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t fashioned their own. In fact, Republicans simply tagged it with a more businesslike title. GOPers say they “define” their opponents, while Democrats decry such definition as defamation.
But it is difficult to dispute the devolution of the Democratic Party. What was once a collection of classic “New Deal” liberals has morphed into a sanctuary for socialists sympathetic to the so-called “Green New Deal.”
Of course, the “green” of that newest deal isn’t our environment; instead it is the green of money. The wealth transfer from taxpayers to “alternative energy entrepreneurs,” also known as top Dem donors, adds up to what should really be called a “Raw Deal.”
And speaking of raw deals, what about the “Bidenizing” the American people have endured over the past two years? Record inflation has devalued paychecks and increased the cost of gas and groceries.
An open border has resulted in a record influx of illegals, jeopardizing both our economic and national security. And our military policy, enmeshed in adherence to “woke” doctrine, sleepwalks right past clear and present dangers.
And enabling Ol’ Joe at every turn have been Democrat majorities in the House and Senate. Look for that to change post-election.
While attaching a label to political opponents may help define them, documenting their performance in office — or lack thereof — is a crucial factor in defeating them.
But as this column is being written, another important tactic has unfolded in real time: the “October Surprise.” And, as befits its arrival on Halloween weekend, the details are as sadly shocking as they are maddeningly “evolving.”
When reports of an attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first appeared Oct. 28, there was the immediate and understandably human response of concern and compassion.
People of all political persuasions set aside argument for prayerful appeals that Paul Pelosi would recover from an apparent hammer attack by an assailant who somehow gained entrance to the Pelosi family home in San Francisco.
And then, it started.
Rahm Emmanuel’s Rule — “You never let a serious crisis go to waste” — was followed at a frantic pace. Joe Biden used the “bully pulpit” of the presidency to place the blame directly on the GOP.
Press accounts claimed that the alleged attacker, David DePape, operated “far-right websites,” though that would seem difficult for a man described as a homeless drug addict who occasionally sought refuge in a broken-down bus parked outside the home of his ex-wife in Berkeley.
Moreover, a neighbor regarded DePape and his former spouse as “very left … all about the Black Lives Matter movement … gay pride … detached from reality.”
The reality is that this attack — despite its tragic nature — has served to distract and detract from the issues heretofore front and center in the campaign.
The timing? Sadly coincidental.