Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Sleeping Giant Stirs...

It's very interesting that McCain's disgraceful departure from truth telling has become so blatant that he's shocked some journalists into actually engaging in journalism. This has happened because McCain's detachment from the truth, and the cavalier way he has insisted that black is white, is almost unique in American electioneering. It is a genuinely shocking display of rampant dishonesty.

We are all used to spin, to politicians presenting their plans as slightly better than they actually are, but McCain is entering new ground completely.

Until very recently he was allowing Palin to stand on public platforms and claim that she opposed "the bridge to nowhere" long after it had been shown that she had done no such thing. But with his recent insistence that Obama called Palin a pig, and that Obama wanted to teach sex education to kindergartners, McCain crossed a line and even the slothful US press have been stirred into opposing him.

This piece in The New York Times is an example of the way the press are now starting to openly call McCain a liar.

First the McCain campaign twisted Mr. Obama’s words to suggest that he had compared Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, to a pig after Mr. Obama said, in questioning Mr. McCain’s claim to be the change agent in the race, “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig.” (Mr. McCain once used the same expression to describe Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health plan.)

Then he falsely claimed that Mr. Obama supported “comprehensive sex education” for kindergartners (he supported teaching them to be alert for inappropriate advances from adults).

Those attacks followed weeks in which Mr. McCain repeatedly, and incorrectly, asserted that Mr. Obama would raise taxes on the middle class, even though analysts say he would cut taxes on the middle class more than Mr. McCain would, and misrepresented Mr. Obama’s positions on energy and health care.

A McCain advertisement called “Fact Check” was itself found to be “less than honest” by, a nonpartisan group.
McCain has for years prided himself in being above this kind of politics, he is supposedly the man who runs the straight talk express, the guy who tells it like it is. This is mainly because McCain himself was sunk during his battle with George Bush for the Republican nomination by the tactics of Karl Rove, tactics which it appears that McCain is now prepared to use against Obama. And the first casualty in any Rovian battle plan is the truth.

Mr. McCain came into the race promoting himself as a truth teller and has long publicly deplored the kinds of negative tactics that helped sink his candidacy in the Republican primaries in 2000. But his strategy now reflects a calculation advisers made this summer — over the strenuous objections of some longtime hands who helped him build his “Straight Talk” image — to shift the campaign more toward disqualifying Mr. Obama in the eyes of voters.

“I think the McCain folks realize if they can get this thing down in the mud, drag Obama into the mud, that’s where they have the best advantage to win,” said Matthew Dowd, who worked with many top McCain campaign advisers when he was President Bush’s chief strategist in the 2004 campaign, but who has since had a falling out with the White House. “If they stay up at 10,000 feet, they don’t.”

The polls show that McCain has had success employing this tactic, but this article shows that it is a high risk strategy. Until now the press have had an astonishing soft spot for John McCain, and a built in reticence to ever criticise a man who had once been a POW. But this soft spot was also enhanced by McCain's image - deserved or not - that he was a straight talker, that he was unlike other politicians.

As McCain's campaign sinks further into the mud, his gloss is coming off, and the disappointment of some journalists is palpable.

Because of the disgraceful nature of some of his most recent ads, McCain now finds even normally neutral territory, like a visit to The View, to be places where he will be forcibly challenged.

On Friday on “The View,” generally friendly territory for politicians, one co-host, Joy Behar, criticized his new advertisements. “We know that those two ads are untrue,” Ms. Behar said. “They are lies. And yet you, at the end of it, say, ‘I approve these messages.’ Do you really approve them?”

“Actually they are not lies,” Mr. McCain said crisply, “and have you seen some of the ads that are running against me?”

McCain is playing fast and loose with the truth and there are stirrings in the press of which this article is merely the earliest indication. Within it, lies the stark warning which McCain would do well to heed:
Mr. Sipple, the Republican strategist, voiced concern that Mr. McCain’s approach could backfire. “Any campaign that is taking liberty with the truth and does it in a serial manner will end up paying for it in the end,” he said. “But it’s very unbecoming to a political figure like John McCain whose flag was planted long ago in ground that was about ‘straight talk’ and integrity.”
As Obama said only yesterday, McCain appears willing to lose his integrity rather than lose an election. But, with the press beginning to wake up to what he is doing, there is every chance that McCain will, in the end, lose both.


This is a further indication of how much McCain overplayed his hand here:

It's hard to deny that the Republican put forward to defend this nonsense simply gets eaten alive.


And now the press are reporting on Palin's lies as well.
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin made her first solo campaign appearance outside her home state Saturday, sticking largely to a speech that has boosted her popularity among Republican faithful but drawn criticism for having misstatements.

The Alaska governor repeated her claim to have killed the now-famous "Bridge to Nowhere,"
which her running mate, Arizona Sen. John McCain, has derided as wasteful pork. Palin first approved of the project. She turned against it only after it proved to be a political embarrassment.

You can't lie on the scale which these two have been doing and not expect to be called on it. And make no mistake, AP are calling Palin a liar.

Click title for full article.

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