The Tennessee GOP has started its Fall campaign on Obama by attacking his wife Michelle for her “proud of America” remarks. They must figure that it’s easier to attack a candidate’s spouse rather than go for the main contender. It’s discourteous and one that is reminiscent of the 1828 attacks against Andy Jackson’s wife Rachel. The Republicans were soundly defeated in that campaign, partly due to Jackson’s immense popularity and the distasteful attacks against his wife.
It remains to be seen if history will repeat itself, but throughout the nomination process, trying to beat Obama with personal attacks instead of policy arguments has all but failed. GOP Tennesseans may feel they were being patriotic in singling out Michelle Obama for their initial attack ads, but this will only increase Obama’s popularity and make Tennessean Republicans look paltry.
If McCain has any spine, he will condemn these spurious attacks and call to make political spousal abuse off limits for both parties. Politics is an ugly business, but drive-by slurs only makes the perpetrators look even uglier in the eyes of voting citizens.