McCain and Palin want to throw sand in your eyes. The collapsing economy--which McCain typified as rock solid just before it crashed--has left their campaign flatfooted, so they're pouring on the sleaze in the homestretch. Desperate to get their numbers up, and distract us from the real issues facing the nation, the Republicans are reverting to what they do best: attacking character. From now until the election, expect a campaign of fear and loathing.
According to the Washington Post, "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, several top Republicans said."
Sarah Palin is claiming Obama doesn't believe in America, and he "pals around with terrorists." She is referring to Obama's association (what the NYTimes calls "sporadic interactions") with 60's radical, Bill Ayers, "a founder of the Weathermen who later became an education professor in Chicago and worked on education projects there with Mr. Obama." (New York Times)
According to the Associated Press, "...though [Palin} may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret."
I don't think he'll regret anything, if it works. Greg Strimple, one of his top advisers, said the campaign will be very aggressive the last 30 days. "We are looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama's aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans."
The trouble is, a campaign of bald-faced lies and dirty tricks can work!
According the Associated Press, "Effective character attacks have come earlier in campaigns. In June 1988, Republican George H.W. Bush criticized Democrat Michael Dukakis over the furlough granted to Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who then raped a woman and stabbed her companion. Related TV ads followed in September and October.
"The Vietnam-era Swift Boat veterans who attacked Democrat John Kerry's war record started in the spring of 2004 and gained traction in late summer."
From CBS News: "'We think the McCain campaign made a huge error by telling the press that their strategy was to distract from the most important issue facing voters,' a senior Obama official said. 'Every attack going forward will be easy to characterize for what it is - an attempt to distract from the Bush-McCain economic record.'"
For his part, Obama is preparing for the onslaught by sticking to his guns, taking the high ground, and countering the bullshit calmly and effectively. He slammed the McCain Campaign's "sordid attacks amid economic peril." His numbers are up, and he's gaining ground. Still, it's a long time till November 4th.
Read "Obama Warns Against McCain Smear Tactics," in today's Washington Post, HERE. Here's Obama's response to the latest wave of sleaze:
As usual, check the sources:
The New York Times story if HERE
The Associated Press story is HERE
The Washington Post story is HERE
The CBS News story is HERE