One of the things about blogging I kind of like, but don't, but do, is that if I feel too lazy to blog about something right when I'm thinking about it, somebody else most definitely will. Now, I have been way too occupied lately to have pieced together something like this, but I totally commend kelly at The Eclectic Quill for doing it.
The actual outright mendacity of the Political Artist Formerly Known as the Straight-Talking Maverick John McCain has to become a campaign issue. There's a few things at work here that are really pathetic and sadly revealing about the negative and dissebling turn of the McCampaign.
The first, and obvious thing, is that McCain really is the candidate of the incumbent party. Which is, I might add, a wildly unpopular administraton. It's hard to say whether he has a hard act to follow, or big shoes to fill--whether he has to correct the opinion people have of the promise of his party and what his candidacy can do--or put on the record that he can do more of the same, only better. If the Bush Administration had been doing "a helluva job"--well, he wouldn't have a problem, but they didn't. Nonetheless, he needs the Bushies. He can't disown them. Ususally, it's the change candidate--the opposition, that brings the criticism. But all McCampaign can do is complain. What gives?
Short answer: He's got nothing. Not a thing. Nothing. No better policies. No changes. John McCain is crowing about being right about the Surge, a proposal he hedged his bets on when it was first announced--but everybody knows there has to be a next step. Is he offering one? Nah. He's against timetables, except if Maliki's for them, then he'll consider timetables, but he never said timetables, except he did say timetables, if they're reasonable, and uh, if that JCS Petraus (wait--he's not JCS?) lets him, as CINC go for it.
Got that? Yeah. And that's supposed to be the thing McCain knows about. What makes it worse is that an Iraq timetable, and maybe, um, concentrating on the Iraq-Pakistan border (oh, noes, that was the Afghan-Pakistan border...hah...heh...huh?) were things Obama was saying. So now, he's deferring to the expertise of the fresh-faced newcomer.
Oh, and the Long Answer: Jealous to the point of green. Obama can draw massive crowds. He looks presidential. He's young and has energy and is well-spoken. He's got the nomination of his party after a meteoric rise, and poor McCain has had to slog through more rubber chicken fundraisers than you could shake a fork at. Obama--Harvard. McCain--damn near bottom of his class at the old Academy. Obama--praised for showing up and being right; McCain--paid his dues and then some, can't get a refund. Witness the little trip to sausage houses and the negative ads McCain ran in US cities called Berlin while Obama was in Germany--
How small, is all.
The second thing that jumps out about McCampaign's mendacity is that it really does not match the John McCain Honorable Narrative. There was Old McCain, the Straight-Talking Maverick, years ago, telling us he was going to be an honest campaigner and actually making straight talking his "brand". But then, just to make his opponent look bad because he can't seem to make himself look good--he has to lie. And lie. And repeat his lie. It hardly seems worth it to poison what goodwill he has with the informed voters--
But that's desperation for you.
And the last awful thing about it: It's so damn cynical. These negative ads are not merely false but sensational. Barack Obama has been a senator for a couple years, but all by himself he's to blame for high gas prices? WTF? And is he, like, a blonde girl celeb like Britney or Paris--funny, he doesn't "look" like a blonde girl. These negative slurs don't even need to make sense--they just have to be "out there". They prey upon the likelihood that the low-information voter really won't find out that the McCampaign is lying--if the poor media-consumer could figure it out, why, what a waste of money in getting airtime for ads that would only reinforce the following message:
"This is a big old lie. I'm John McCain, and I approved of it."
That would hardly be a good thing, would it?
It would be a shame (for McCain) if average Joe Sixpacks had the Google, and could come across good articles about these lies.