Thursday, August 14, 2008

'A Severe Character Defect'

The biggest myth surrounding John McCain is that he is a man of unimpeachable character, a noble warrior-poet who always chooses what is right over what is expedient.

This is a transparent lie. John McCain is as venal and compromised a politician as currently exists on the national stage. His presidential campaign is a cesspool of villainy.

There has been a strong resistance to acknowledging the reality about John McCain among traditional media opinion makers, but that wall of denial appears to be cracking. Joe Klein, not exactly of the Daily Kos school of political punditry, expresses his extreme disappointment with the way McCain is conducting himself, particularly his eagerness to traffic in character smears against Barack Obama.

[T]here is no excuse for what the McCain campaign is doing on the "putting America first" front. There is no way to balance it, or explain it other than as evidence of a severe character defect on the part of the candidate who allows it to be used. There is a straight up argument to be had in this election: Mcain has a vastly different view from Obama about foreign policy, taxation, health care, government name it. He has lots of experience; it is always shocking to remember that this time four years ago, Barack Obama was still in the Illinois State Legislature. Apparently, though, McCain isn't confident that conservative policies and personal experience can win, given the ruinous state of the nation after eight years of Bush. So he has made a fateful decision: he has personally impugned Obama's patriotism and allows his surrogates to continue to do that. By doing so, he has allied himself with those who smeared him, his wife, his daughter Bridget, in 2000. Those tactics won George Bush a primary--and a nomination. But they proved a form of slow-acting spiritual poison, rotting the core of the Bush presidency. We'll see if the public decides to acquiesce in sleaze in 2008, and what sort of presidency--what sort of country--that will produce.
Slowly, McCain's cheerleaders in the traditional media are starting to realize that his nobility has about as much substance as George W. Bush's cowboy image. Their heartbreak is palpable. They really thought this guy walked on water. They are truly shocked to see him bathing in sewage. It has taken a long time, and the process is not anywhere close to complete, but they are beginning to see McCain's true character reflected in his behavior.

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