13 September 2008

How Long Before It's True?

Boy, oh boy. Seriously, Senator McCain, I mean, seriously.

During his appearance on The View, John McCain claimed that, while Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has not accepted state earmarks. This might have been a gaffe, and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here, because the evidence is so clearly and obviously to the contrary of McCain’s assertions. Michael Dobbs’s Gact Checker at The Washington Post clarifies:

While it is true that she has sought fewer earmarks than her predecessor, Governor Frank Murkowski, Alaska still leads the nation in terms of per capita spending on earmarks, according to Citizens Against Government Waste.

The WaPo FactChecker granted four Pinnochios on this attempt to "rewrite history."

Apparently, the McCain campaign has decided veracity is for the birds. Which, in a wildly awkward jump, brings us to those ads, “approved by” John McCain, that distort reality. Here’s John McCain’s explanation for them:

The defense from the candidate himself — heard only on “The View” because he hasn’t held a news conference in more than a month — is to essentially assert that he’s savaging Obama because the Illinois senator wouldn’t agree to the series of town hall meetings McCain proposed at the end of the Democratic primary season.

“If we had done what I asked Sen. Obama to do, because I’ve been in a lot of other campaigns where I have appeared with the opposition with the people and listened to their hopes and dreams and aspirations, I don't think you’d see the tenor of this campaign,” he said.

Huh? So if Obama had agreed to the town hall meetings, there would be no maliciousness? Hardly. Chances are that even with the Town Halls, the close nature of the race would have prompted the negative ads. Face it, the only goal here is to win, even, as Politico puts it, if it “soils his reputation”:

“We recognize it’s not going to be 2000 again,” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said, alluding to the media’s swooning coverage of McCain’s ill-fated crusade against then-Gov. George W. Bush and the GOP establishment. “But he lost then. We’re running a campaign to win. And we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it.”

Rogers, who hung tough with McCain through the dark days of the primary and has lived through every high and low of this turbulent and unpredictable race, argues that they tried to run a high-ground campaign and sought to keep the candidate in front of the media in the fashion he enjoys. His point: No one paid any attention.

There you have it. The McCain campaign just doesn't care if they're caught out. What matters is being newsworthy. They've decided to be selective with John McCain's greatest strengths, his principles, for a "win at all costs" strategy, which is disheartening. Despite his critiques of other politicians who put personal ambition before honor and integrity, John McCain is risking his own—to win an election.

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