I'd hoped for an honest campaign from McCain himself, at least. It's become clear that I was expecting too much.
John McCain has now personally joined in to the smear campaign against Obama. He has made, and repeated when challenged, false statements regarding Obama's cancelled stop at an American military hospital in Germany.
The entire topic, of course, is the kind of desperate absurdity that trailing campaigns use to inflame public emotional reaction when they're losing the debate on substance. After recent visits by Obama to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital and to a military hospital in Iraq--on both occasions without reporters present--there is no substantive relevance to the question of whether or not he was going to make an additional such visit in Germany.
McCain's campaign, however, is entitled to exercise its own judgment on what is relevant. While offensive to thinking voters, questioning another candidate's patriotism on the basis of facts is not necessarily dishonest.
When a campaign goes further, and bases such accusations on false claims, it has crossed another and even more detestable line. That's what has now taken place--not just from the usual GOP smear machine, nor even just from McCain campaign spokespeople, but from John McCain personally.
In a nationally televised interview ("Larry King Live" on CNN, 7/28/08), McCain accused Obama of canceling a planned visit to wounded troops in Germany because he couldn't bring media, cameras, and "his entourage" to publicize it. The mild-mannered interviewer, King, challenged McCain on his source for this accusation, but the sources cited by McCain in response failed to support his assertions.
Reporters traveling with Obama have subsequently backed Obama's accounts and contradicted McCain's assertions, but the McCain campaign continues its smears.
For details, see the Washington Post at The Trail
This has become the latest blatant example of the "big lie" approach to politics. It's how a campaign and candidate which are willing to say anything, without regard to truth or falsity, can affect public opinion simply by continuing to repeat a false claim. It's possibly the worst single element of the political process, and the McCain campaign has dived head-first into the muck.
McCain has driven his own "Straight Talk Express" into the ditch--or the gutter.