About Those Principles

Watching John McCain since he decided to start running for president has been a practice in watching a man turn his back on every single principle he claimed to stand for.  He once said Bush’s tax cuts were irresponsible, now he supports them undyingly, he once held a principled stance against torture, but then he voted against the ban on CIA torture that, through the process of sheep-dipping, also negated the vote to ban torture from the military, he once said that the leaders of the religious right were agents of intolerance, and then he began courting their endorsement, he once said he promised to run a respectful campaign, and now by Josh Marshall’s thinking he is currently running the dirtiest campaign in at least thirty-five years.

Stay tuned, folks, he could do it again.

Now McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, is suggesting that the McCain campaign very well may be considering trying to use Reverand Wright as a campaign issue in the closing days of this election.  The irony here being that McCain had previously declared Wright as off limits inside of his campaign because of the racial implications such a gambit could have.

But McCain really wants to be the president and as a result his principles must again take a back seat to his ambition.  The punchline here is that if the McCain campaign plays the Wright card, they refuse to take responsibility for doing so, instead blaming this on Rep. Lewis and his spot on comments that pointed out that McCain and Palin were stoking the hate of their supporters in frightening proportions.

Just like McCain going negative in the first place wasn’t his fault, but instead Obama’s fault for not agreeing to the eighty billion townhall style debates McCain wanted to have.

This, folks, is ridiculous, and not becoming of someone who comes from the party of “personal responsibility.”  If you’re going to go negative, at least have the intestinal fortitude to take responsibility for the decision of going negative.  If you’re going to play the Reverand Wright card, at least have the conviction to say truthfully, “We’re losing, and we’re going to play this card because it may be our last shot at turning this election around.”

Stand up and take responsibility for your actions, man!

Still, I don’t think even bringing Wright up will do McCain much good for several reasons.

First and foremost, McCain is going to have to put his name on these attacks, as Sam Stein pointed out in his article linked above.  The 527’s have all but abandoned McCain as they see his candidacy as a loser, and they need to put their precious resources in congressional races they actually think they can win.  As a result, if McCain wants Wright to be a part of this election, he’s going to have to do it himself, which means more negative campaigning, which means that his favorables are also going to drop, and whatever voters he does get from the effort will be hamstrung by those voters he lost for the increased negativity.

Also, because McCain will have to fund this himself, he’s going to face another major obstacle in that Obama has far more resources on hand to combat the Wright attacks.  Obama could simply drown out the Wright ads with his own, and even use the Wright ads to again point out that John McCain doesn’t want to talk about the issues.  We have come to know this aspect of Obama’s politics as political jiu jitsu.

Finally, I believe the public has been generally inoculated against Wright already.  Ayers wasn’t brought up very much during the Democratic primaries, but even if you weren’t paying attention to the primaries very much, there just wasn’t any escaping the wall to wall coverage of Wright for the better part of two weeks.

Indeed, if anything, Obama has already proven that he can weather that storm, so I’m not too terribly worried if and when it should come along for an encore.

2 Responses to “About Those Principles”

  1. Mark Vanderloo says:

    Or even more easy, Obama can counter with Palin and her association with that secessionist party her husband is connected to or McCains association with the far-right extremist. Perhaps a McNazi?

    If they want to start a battle, better be prepared for a war. An eye for an eye.

  2. Actually, Mark, I don’t think Obama is going to do that. And, after watching polls for a while and analyzing this election on a constant basis, I would think doing so would be relatively unwise.

    Yes, there’s a kind of desire to want to hit back with equal force, but you have to look at the polls, and look at what the American people are saying. People always say that they are tired of negative campaigning, but negative campaigning has worked in the past. The problem is, in this election they actually seem to mean it. Two thirds of the electorate have stated clearly that they don’t care about Ayers, and the McCain campaign’s insistence on trying to force Ayers into being a center piece of this campaign has backfired in a measurable way.

    At the same time that Obama’s favorables have risen, McCain’s have dropped, and he has yet to enjoy even the slightest positive movement in the polls as a result of his negative tactics.

    The American people have spoken, and what they want is clearly an issues-based presidential election. If I were on the Obama team, no matter how tempting it might be to get down in the mud, I would council them to stay on the high road, and keep hitting McCain with the, “The American People don’t want to hear that kind of thing. There are real issues facing America, and that’s what the American People want to hear about.”

    Would I love to see Palin get hit for her secessionist associations or Witch Doctor priest? Would I love to bring up Hagee again or Rod Parsley? Sure thing, and I probably will if they drag out Reverand Wright, but I would not suggest Obama do it.


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