“These Little Facts Don’t Really Matter.”

Josh Marshall:

All politicians stretch the truth, massage it into the best fit with their message. But, let’s face it, John McCain is running a campaign almost entirely based on straight up lies. Not just exaggerations or half truths but the sort of straight up, up-is-down mind-blowers we’ve become so accustomed to from the current occupants of the White House. And today McCain comes out with this rancid, race-baiting ad based on another lie. Willie Horton looks mild by comparison. (And remember, President George H.W. Bush never ran the Willie Horton ad himself. It was an outside group. He wasn’t willing to degrade himself that far.) As TPM Reader JM said below, at least Horton actually was released on a furlough. This is ugly stuff. And this is an ugly person. There’s clearly no level of sleaze this guy won’t stoop to to win this election.

And let’s be frank. He might win it. This is clearly a testing time for Obama supporters. But I want to return to a point I made a few years ago during the Social Security battle with President Bush. Winning and losing is never fully in one’s control — not in politics or in life. What is always within our control is how we fight and bear up under pressure. It’s easy to get twisted up in your head about strategy and message and optics. But what is already apparent is that John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest and race-baiting campaign of our lifetimes. So let’s stopped being shocked and awed by every new example of it. It is undignified. What can we do? We’ve got a dangerously reckless contender for the presidency and a vice presidential candidate who distinguished her self by abuse of office even on the comparatively small political stage of Alaska. They’ve both embraced a level of dishonesty that disqualifies them for high office. Democrats owe it to the country to make clear who these people are. No apologies or excuses. If Democrats can say at the end of this campaign that they made clear exactly how and why these two are unfit for high office they can be satisfied they served their country.

There is no longer any need to be bewildered over just how sleazy the lying campaign of McCain/Palin will get.  There’s no more call to lament over how once McCain was a respectable and honorable guy; he threw that all away a long time ago.

He wants to be president.  For McCain, the sheer desire to be president has overcome the rationale justifications of being president; this campaign can not be in any way characterized as a fight for us, it is an assault on our sensibilities and an insult to our intelligence.  This became clear when McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis stated that this election wasn’t about the issues.

If John McCain really had any desire to actually lead a people instead of hold an office, he would actually sit down and talk about the issues.  He would engage in a meaningful debate over education, national security, and most importantly, the economy.  That’s what Obama’s been talking about, where’s McCain been?

He’s been telling lies.  He’s been generating mock outrage over the stupidest things.  He’s been pushing sleazy ads that are themselves outright lies intended to make you think that Obama’s going to show your kindergarten aged child pornos, and that he called Sarah Palin a pig to her face.  He’s been doing everything he can to stay away from the actual issues because he would rather win an election than do what is right for America.

Yes, after all the talk about he would rather win a war than win an election, John McCain has proven time and time again in just the past two weeks alone that he would rather win that election than anything else, including preserving his own sense of decency and honor.

What John McCain doesn’t understand is that the things he’s doing right now won’t be forgotten.  The sheer ugliness of his campaign is leaving an indellible markand I think Joe Klein is dead right: win or lose, when McCain comes around and apologizes for the shameful acts he committed on the campaign trail, there are going to be quite a few who are not willing to accept that apology.

If John McCain truly wanted to lead a nation, he would have been honest; he would have let the strength of his ideas be the core of his message.  Instead, the core of his message has been nothing but lies.  Instead:

John Feehery, a Republican strategist, said the campaign is entering a stage in which skirmishes over the facts are less important than the dominant themes that are forming voters’ opinions of the candidates.

“The more the New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there’s a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she’s new, she’s popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent,” Feehery said. “As long as those are out there, these little facts don’t really matter.”

I left that in context for a reason.  I could have done what McCain does and simply snipped the most damaging part of the quote, but I chose to put it in context, and then refute it; you know, because I’m not a coward.

What Feehery gets wrong is not the fact; I agree, as one who studies political science, that the facts could fall by the wayside.  But that is not as a matter of incident, but instead a direct driving result of the McCain campaign’s strategy.  They COULD make this an election about fact, but instead they have chosen to make it one about fantasy.

There’s no use whining about it.  There’s only one way to battle habitual liars; tell the truth.  Tell the truth on them often.  Tell the truth on them, and don’t let them get away with a single lie.  If we do our jobs right, the whole electorate will see John McCain for the grotesque shadow of a person he once was, they will see him for his lies, and they will not let him get away with it.

If the McCain campaign wants to make this about character, I got one huge character flaw for the McCain/Palin ticket: they are liars who hate Americans so much they refuse to tell them the truth or how they plan on addressing the issues that we Americans are concerned most about.  I can think of no character flaw that would disqualify someone more from the highest office in the land.

UPDATE: Another former McCain fan dismayed at the shame this campaign has heaped upon the former Maverick.

7 Responses to ““These Little Facts Don’t Really Matter.””

  1. xranger says:

    Well, since Obama’s record is paper-thin, they have to find bills he actually voted upon, and there aren’t many of those.

    Besides, who the hell wants their kids to get sex eductaion in elementary school? Especially in kindergarten. If he voted for the bill, he has to answer to it.

    You Dems spent a week pounding Palin on her teenage daughter’s pregnancy, then calling her a bold-faced liar, and now you’re upset when Republicans play the tough political game better than you do.

    More to the point, the Reps attacks are working.

  2. Nailed it. This reminds me of the speech the Andrew Shepard character gives at the end of “The American President”, the gist of which was that being president is all about character and his opponent, by his underhanded campaigning, has demonstrated that he doesn’t have it.

  3. Macswain says:


    You’re either a dumbshit or a liar. Sex Education in elementary school involves teaching kids how to avoid the advances of sexual predators. The cub scouts sagely provide the same type of instruction.

    Apparently, you and McCain oppose that and would prefer our children be unprepared if and when a scumbag pedophile makes advances.

    As to calling Palin a bald-faced liar, the truth hurts. Please tell us all exactly when, where and how Palin “told Congress Thanks but No Thanks for that Bridge to Nowhere” as she has claimed repeatedly.

  4. Kathy says:

    Plus, “elementary school” covers a lot of age territory. Considering that nine- and ten-year-olds can get pregnant, you need to start giving children sound, factual, scientific information about sex and birth control long before the end of elementary school.

  5. xranger says:

    Seems to me that the type of sex eductaion you espouse to, at such an early age, should come from the parents, in the privacy of the home.

    The sex education that starts in middle school and continues in high school, when the children reach puberty, should be about changes in heir physiology and reproduction.

    Teaching pedophilia to kindergartners? Man, you all really are crazy.

  6. Macswain says:

    Wow. dranger you are amazing. You came in here throwing firebombs about sex education to kids and for the second time you reveal you have absolutely no fucking idea of the facts regarding this piece of legislation. You say this this type of education should come from the parents in the privacy of their own home but fail to realize that the Bill contained a provision allowing any parent to completely opt their child out of this education if they so chose to do so.

    The Bill doesn’t force this education on anyone but lets the parents decide whether they want their kids to get instruction from their teachers on avoiding inappropriate teaching. I have a 3 year old and 5 year who just started kindergarten. My wife’s an elementary school teacher. We are teaching our kids about inappropriate touching so they will not be victims to pedophiles and will welcome the assistance of their teachers who are experts at dealing with this issue in an age appropriate manner.

    Do you even realize that you contradict yourself when you call it “teaching pedophilia” then say parents ought to do it? Man, you are one fucked up dude.

    BTW – you called us out on calling Palin a liar, but still haven’t answered my simple question about her Bridge to Nowhere quote? I’ll take your silence as an admission that Palin lied.

  7. xranger says:

    I pity your igonorance, MacShitHead.

    First off, no child at that age should be taught about pedophilia (you truly are an idiot).

    The time-honored lesson of “Don’t talk to strangers” is a good lesson to all children. You see, even explaining the “good touching” versus the “bad touching” to children is warped and deranged.

    Some kinda parenting skills you got there.

    And, finally, I was stating a fact that the left is screaming Liar! every chance they get at Palin, but also screaming Foul! when an attack on Obama comes forth. I was not debating the merits of the claims, merely the hypocrisy (That girl called me names!)

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