Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The abyss gazes also


It's hard to know what to make of the McCain campaign's descent into one of the sleaziest campaigns in modern memory... I mean, they were bad in August, but they were mainly childish and, dare I say it, "unserious"... however, in the last couple days we've him and his surrogates lie repeatedly, and baldly, while sacrificing any semblance of honor the man had left with some of the most offensive attacks I've ever seen in a Presidential race.

The "Bridge to Nowhere" lie that Palin and McCain endlessly repeat is shameful... but repeating lies that have been thoroughly debunked by all media outlets I can think of is pretty much the Republican way, right? If you're interested, TPM has a good time line of her fervent support for said bridge, that only ended once Congress said no and that Alaska would have to pay for it themselves. However, lying to the American people is only the beginning of McCain's dishonor.

Hell, it's not even the McCain's pathetic attempt to play the gender card that, once again, all the reporters who used to be in his pocket are calling out as ridiculous.

The real sleaze, however, is an ad I won't even link to... an ad that claims that Obama wants to give your kindergartner sex lessons. It even includes images of Obama seemingly leering at children! Of course, it's also a complete and utter lie.

I'd call it career suicide, but I guess it's still possible he might win this thing... and that appears to be the only thing that matters to him.

When McCain first started running the "Celebrity" ad, I warned that he risked losing the press... well, little did I know that he had even deeper depths to sink into. As Steve Benen noted a couple of days ago:
In recent weeks, we've seen fairly strong denunciations of McCain from Time's Joe Klein, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, and the New York Times' Thomas Friedman. Today, it looks like the Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby, hardly a reflexive liberal, has joined the club.

Well, there hasn't been much reaction from the pundit class on this latest bit of shameful behavior from McCain... only Joe Klein vowing not to accept the inevitable apology 6 months from now... but I'm betting they won't be fans.

Will it matter? I don't know... I'd like to think so, but it seems that the McCain campaign is going for full on Culture War and character assassination while working the age old "liberal media bias" angle. I really don't care so much about the politics at the moment... I mainly find it sad to see a formerly honorable man become what he hated.

UPDATE: I should also note that the title reference is not merely a denunciation of McCain, but a warning to my fellow liberals. As the not-dead-and-not-fired Andrew Sullivan says:
My only advice to Obama: stay calm; stay cool; focus on the issues; behave like the president you want to be. They are trying to get into your head. But you are so much smarter and more decent than they are. Patience. And steel.
I would expand that out to Obama partisans in general. Let's not be so shell shocked from 2004 that when we see it happening again we turn to the Rove playbook. These are the ploys of desperation, not a call to arms. Stay cool. Knock down the nonsense, but keep it rational and stay away from all caps.

photo used under a Creative Commons license by flcikr user my stification