10.08.08 “One of the most appalling campaigns we can remember. . .”

I have not considered it the mission of this blog to forward the analysis and opinion of others, but this is an exception to the rule . . .

Following is an extensive quote from today’s lead editorial in the New York Times:

Politics of Attack

It is a sorry fact of American political life that campaigns get ugly, often in their final weeks.  But Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember.

They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia.  Senator Barack Obama has taken some cheap shots at Mr. McCain, but there is no comparison.

. . .

Ms. Palin, in particular, revels in the attack.  Her campaign rallies have become spectacles of anger and insult.  “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America,” Ms. Palin has taken to saying.

That line follows passages in Ms. Palin’s new stump speech in which she twists Mr. Obama’s ill-advised but fleeting and long-past association with William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground and confessed bomber.  By the time she’s done, she implies that Mr. Obama is right now a close friend of Mr. Ayers — and sympathetic to the violent overthrow of the government.  The Democrat, she says, “sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses.  A recent Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an African-American member of a TV crew.

Mr. McCain’s aides haven’t even tried to hide their cynical tactics, saying they were “going negative” in hopes of shifting attention away from the financial crisis — and by implication Mr. McCain’s stumbling response.

We certainly expected better from Mr. McCain, who once showed withering contempt for win-at-any-cost politics.  He was driven out of the 2000 Republican primaries by this sort of smear, orchestrated by some of the same people who are now running his campaign.

. . .

In a way, we should not be surprised that Mr. McCain has stooped so low, since the debate showed once again that he has little else to talk about.  He long ago abandoned his signature issues of immigration reform and global warming; his talk of “victory” in Iraq has little to offer a war-weary nation; and his Reagan-inspired ideology of starving government and shredding regulation lies in tatters on Wall Street.

But surely, Mr. McCain and his team can come up with a better answer to that problem than inciting more division, anger, and hatred.

The epithet that the Times chose not to repeat was “Sit down, boy!”  They also didn’t quote another participant at a Palin rally who shouted, “Terrorist!” at the mention of Obama’s name.

Here is something with which we (hopefully) can console ourselves:  if and when John McCain loses this election, he will have not a friend left in the whole world (except for Joe Lieberman, who will join him in blessed isolation).  Republicans, who have always hated McCain, will blame him for their abysmal failure at the polls this year.  (Though the entire party is responsible for the destruction of the GOP “brand,” McCain’s campaign and the candidate’s performance have been particularly inept.)  Liberals and moderates, who were once beguiled by the old maverick, have been permanently alienated by the country-last cynicism of this truly despicable man.  And his bare-knuckled rage at the media has lost him that contingent as well.

After all this, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cindy leaves him.  Rarely has any individual so deserved the opprobrium that awaits.

©2008 Keith Berner

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6 Comments on “10.08.08 “One of the most appalling campaigns we can remember. . .””

  1. Leon Morse Says:

    It is clear that McCain has nothing. Just listen to his answers in debates. He reassures us he knows how to fix the economy or to catch bin Laden. Oh, OK then.

    And I will note here for the record that I scooped Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. I was the first to compare Palin to the Church Lady (she all but said “well isn’t that special” about Obama’s community organizing (though I guess PTA work that she did is above ridicule and a positive qualification to get into politics)), the day after her speech. I also was the first to say, right after Tuesday’s debate, that McCain is a jerk for holding out on us. He knows how to catch bin Laden and hasn’t shared that secret?

    Problem is, I can’t prove any of this. Only my wife is a witness.


  2. Stan B Says:

    Cindy’s not leaving him…she’s part of the team. I dont know what she learned in her days at Narcotics Anonymous certainly not the part where you ask forgiveness of those you screwed over.

    My biggest criticism of Obama is why he is not attacking McCain’s pathetic record on Veteran’s funding. To use a football analogy, Barrack could drive a Mac truck through that hole. With all the “love” the vets feel from McCain who needs enemies.

    BTW Michelle Obama was first-class last night on The Daily Show.


  3. jerry berner Says:

    Hi Keith,
    Thanks for creating your blogs. I did finallyu receive all of them. I hope that I will now be able to receive them on a regular basis. I think that they are well thought out and focus on the blatant miserable attacks by the McCain campaign. I certainly hope that the polls you cited hold true. I’m also hoping that the extensive grass roots team that Obama has spread throughout the country will really pay off. I feel that real hope lies with the very large number of newly registered voters who were energized during the Democratic primary contest. I reeally do expect that most of Hillary’s supporters will vote for Obama/Biden rather than McCain/Palin. Gender certainly doesn’t trump policy and thoughtful positions on all major issues.


  4. Mark Says:

    Even as an Obama supporter it is sad to see what McCain has become. I know Lefthandview had problems with what he perceived as Obama abandoning some of his principles (a point on which we disagreed), but the McCain campaign will be an example for years of a campaign abandoning ALL principles and ALL issues. Bob Dole knew he was going down in smoke but never stooped to this level. Jimmy Carter knew he was going down but did not stoop to this level. McGovern knew he was going down but did not stoop to this level. For a man who was savaged by Karl Rove (whose disciple, Schmidt is now with McCain) in 2000, the behavior is particularly disturbing. Behavior directly planned by the campaign itself and implemented by Palin, John McCain, and Cindy McCain and designed to appeal to the worst racist, xenophobic, and intolerant instincts lurking in many Americans.

    Is this what the Republican Party and Conservatism has become?


  5. Keith Berner Says:

    Reply to Stan B: The reason why Obama is not attacking McCain’s record on veteran’s funding is because that is hardly the salient issue of the moment. Though the McCain campaign seems to think the most salient issue is William Ayers, in fact (gasp!), IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID! There are a gazillion things Obama could be attacking McCain for, but he’s got to pick and choose among them and veterans’ issues just don’t make the cut.

    Frankly, I hope Obama will drop the Keating thing, ’cause that doesn’t deserve to make the cut, either. At this point, Obama should be running mostly positive ads (as he is) and focusing his negative ads on Bush/McCain/Gramm economic policy.


  6. Keith Berner Says:

    Reply to Mark: Yes, this is indeed what the GOP and conservatism have become. As long as it does not result in violence, WHICH WE CANNOT BE SURE OF, it’s a good thing, because those awful and awfully vapid people could be in the wilderness for a long time.


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