September 10, 2008 Leave a comment
I have seriously spent today somewhat anxious and depressed (a very unusual state for me) and it took me a little while to realize that these feelings were emanating from my utter disgust with the McCain campaign. This lipstick on a pig fiasco is just about the lowest, basest, most cynical thing I have ever seen in presidential campaigning. Here's nobody's media liberal Mark Halperin, (via Steve Benen):
“Stop the madness. I think, with all due respect to the
program's focus on, listen to David just said. I think this is the
press just absolutely playing into the McCain campaign's crocodile
“They knew exactly what he was saying. It's an expression. And
this is a victory for the McCain campaign in the sense that every day
they can make this a pig fight in the mud. It's good for them because
it's reducing Barack Obama's message even more. But I think this is a
low point in the day and one of the low days of our collective coverage
of this campaign. To spend even a minute on this expression, I think,
is amazing and outrageous.”
To any half-awake political observer, it is and was 100% clear that Obama was using this expression, as he has all summer, to refer to McCain's policies, not Sarah Palin. Heck, McCain himself used the expression about Hillary Clinton's health care plan. To cynically turn this into an all-out attack on Obama as some kind of sexist, is the most base, cynical, and morally disgusting of politics. John McCain may know how to survive 5 years as a POW, but he certainly does not seem to know much about honor. Added to the fact that the McCain campaign has spent over a week now perpetuating the lie that Palin is truly Ms. “I stopped the Bridge to Nowhere” when it has been thoroughly debunked by many major news organizations is just too much.
EJ Dionne nicely and succinctly takes on many of the major ongoing lies here. He conlcludes by stating: “And I wonder if the media will really take on this onslaught of half-truths and outright deception.” Sorry, EJ, it is already clear that the answer is no.
As I was pondering all this I was asking myself whether McCain had truly sunk to a new low and I really believe the answer is yes. The 1988 campaign is noted for George H.W. Bush's absurdly trivial attacks on Dukakis (pledge of allegiance, anyone) and the race-baiting of Willie Horton, but as sleazy as this was, Bush's charges against Dukakis were not out-in-out falsehoods. And if they had been, I suspect he would have been shamed into not continuing them.
Today, I feel radicalized. I give lots of interviews, analysis, etc., as “Associate Professor of Political Science” and I try hard to play it down the line and be fair (as I think the Op-Ed shows). But I've decided in upcoming appearances, I am not going to pretend that McCain's campaign is not the absolute affront to democracy that it is in the interest of some pretend objectivity. Sometimes you've got to call a spade a spade (and I can imagine the McCain campaign claiming I'm racist for that little expression), and good people who believe in what democracy is about need to stand up to the lies. I sure do wish some Republicans would, but I'm not exactly counting on it. I truly believe this transcends partisan politics. Today, I am utterly outraged as and American citizen, not as a Democrat.