John McCain’s Smear Campaign

As John McCain’s prospects for election diminish, the incidence of dirty tricks and nasty campaigning are likely to increase. Almost every event and news story in the past couple of weeks has resulted in voters trending more to Barack Obama. Polls show Obama gaining support after the conventions, after the first presidential debate, after the Wall Street legislative activity in Washington, and after the vice presidential debate. With less than thirty days until the election, McCain’s desperation is showing. As the Republican angst escalates they will more aggressively execute the tactics that McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, articulated a few years ago in a newspaper editorial:

“The premise of any smear campaign rests on a central truth of politics: Most of us will vote for a candidate we like and respect, even if we don’t agree with him on every issue. But if you can cripple a voter’s basic trust in a candidate, you can probably turn his vote. The idea is to find some piece of personal information that is tawdry enough to raise doubts, repelling a candidate’s natural supporters […] It’s not necessary, however, for a smear to be true to be effective.”

The onslaught of political mud has already begun. Top Republicans told the Washington Post that:

“Sen. John McCain and his Republican allies are readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama’s character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat’s judgment, honesty and personal associations.”

It appears that Sarah Palin has been tapped to be the campaign attack Pitbull (with lipstick). This afternoon she made the outrageous and offensive assertion that Obama associates with terrorists:

“Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

This is the sort of garbage that can be expected between now and November fourth. McCain has nothing else upon which to campaign, so he is resorting to slander, lies and defamation. The candid confessions of Republican operatives, including McCain’s campaign manager, that they intend to pursue this strategy, should remove all doubt as to what depths they will sink. And from now on, any attack that emanates from the McCain camp must be viewed through the prism of these admissions.

They have told us in advance that they will be personal and tawdry, and that they don’t care about the truth. These are their words and their stated objectives. We must remember that and make sure that every voter knows it as well.

Just for the record: It may be John McCain who was really “pallin’ around with terrorists:”