McNasty talk express
August 1, 2008 | It's only August, and already the presidential campaign has turned disgusting. Having been defeated by it in 2000, collaborated with it in 2004, John McCain has embraced the Rove/Bush slime machine in 2008. The "straight-talk express" has been replaced by innuendo, misstatement, sloganeering, and mudslinging.
In July we were treated to Barack Obama at his best on display before the world. During a whirlwind tour of two war zones, the Middle East, and Europe he met with world leaders, answered questions thoughtfully and at length, and spoke before an amazing crowd of 200,000 amassed in Germany. He threaded through a minefield of issues and walked that fine line between being a (presumptive) candidate and the office he seeks. He was presidential in every way but for one pesky fact — he hasn't been elected yet.
It was a performance that gave hope that America's standing in the world can be repaired, that a US president can think and relate to others, that the nightmare of the last seven years just might be coming to an end.
Meanwhile, John McCain was showing himself every bit as inept and phony as the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He had to cancel a publicity stunt appearance on an offshore oil rig because of an incipient hurricane that anyone with access to the Weather channel knew about. While Obama was in Germany talking to Chancellor Angela Merkel and addressing the throngs near the Brandenburg Gate, McCain was in a German restaurant eating frankfurters. From there it has only gone downhill.
A central principle in the Rove/Bush and now McCain strategy appears to be to practice precisely what one's opponent is accused of.
Example: Saying he's "not questioning Obama's patriotism" while saying Obama "would rather lose a war" than an election. It's pretty hard to imagine questioning anyone's patriotism more than calling him, by implication, a traitor!
Example: Charging that Obama will "say anything to get elected" all the while McCain himself panders in the most blatant way to get himself elected. McCain courts the right-wing fundamentalists, the same ones he once labeled "agents of intolerance." (To my great shame, I was once so impressed by McCain's willingness to call a bigot a bigot that I actually gave money to his 2000 campaign.") McCain was against off-shore drilling but now he is for it, making the spurious suggestion that turning over even more coastal waters would immediately make the price of gas come down. Only a crazy person believes that. Or one who'll say anything to get elected!
It is easy to see through all this, but I fear that too many will refuse to. The media keeps these ridiculous charges and distortions alive by repeating them over and over, when what they ought to say is, "That's bunk!" Chills went down my spine yesterday when I saw clips of McCain in Wisconsin, surrounded by white, middle-aged, middle-Americans cheering and clapping to his best bogus one-liners.
Obama asked just the right question: "Is this the best you can do?"
As usual, the editorial cartoonists are having a field day. Check the slideshow.
Update — 2-Aug-08 | I just received this picture (right). It's simply too good not to include.
Last updated on Sep 7, 2016