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