"Straight Talk Express" runs into the ditch.

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.

Comments

Particularly offensive

As a practicing politician myself, nothing about the dark side of politics makes me madder than watching people get away with lies. It's important to call them on it. One can take any absurd position that he or she pleases--but tell the truth. That's all I feel I have the right to demand of a candidate.

No candidate should be allowed to profit by lying.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

Dan, I have been constitantly amazed at how the Right Wing

will lie about an issue in a completely ridiculous manner, and then just repeat it over and over and over until to a certain part of the population it becomes a fact. It is maddening.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

That's exactly

what's happening here, and it's infuriating. The Post article makes the McCain deception its focus. I'm hoping that we can encourage more traditional media coverage of that (the pattern of deception) as the issue, instead of the false accusation itself. The McCain campaign will continue to repeat the lie so long as they profit by it. When "the story" becomes the fact that they're lying, they'll quit.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

Democratic party needs to learn the '30 second message'....

Many people I know learn about politics based on some quick blurbs, and tuck them away in their brains as facts learned. The Repubs have learned this very well, and with the oil money behind them, have used it to prod the media in their direction. Meanwhile our Democratic party leaders hold their heads high, so as to not get their hands dirty. Most people, including maybe the majority of our veterans, believe the Republicans support them the most. Meanwhile, the Republicans are busy voting down veterans benefits whenever they can. Almost any congressional Democrat has a more friendly voting record for the vets than McCain, who manages to abstain when they really need him there. And why the Obama people are not pounding out this message is beyond me. This is why I'll never send one dime to the national Democratic party. They really don't want to win! I support organizations like VoteVets and MoveOn.org with targeted messages and are willing to get into the trenches against these Republican slimeballs.