Thursday, July 31, 2008

top ten list

When John McCain looks back on his campaign for the Presidency and reviews his proudest moments, let's hope he doesn't count yesterday's performance among them.

Does he think that we have forgotten that, at the time he stood on the sideline several months ago and watched Hillary Clinton attacking Barack Obama, he promised that his would not be a campaign based on negative attacks? Did any of us really believe that this was a promise of substance? It is not even the end of July and we have already been subjected to a series of comments from him and those in his camp that turn one's stomach.

The comparing of Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton is a new low that undoubtedly will be surpassed in the near future by yet an even more outrageous comment. Is anyone surprised that McCain is turning to the Republican machine and the veteran's of Bush's re-election bid to give guidance in formulating an image of Obama based not on anything but the worst in political bashing? It is McCain's version of the audacity of hope and it is his audacity of negative hyperbole.

McCain grows smaller every day, as he has already seemed to run out of energy to present his version of what he can bring to America. In a time where this country is struggling to find something positive in a very difficult environment, all McCain can offer is the same old Republican strategy of hit and run. This was an effective tool against Kerry in 2004 and it is clear that this is the centerpiece of what we can expect over the coming months.

McCain has attempted to portray himself as something better than the same old, same old. He was the maverick, unwilling to accept the Republican positions unless it comported with his sense of what was right. He would not take the party line and he would not follow the template for negative campaigning. As his positions of substance have regressed to be in line with party philosophy, so has the promise of a positive McCain disintegrated.

The fear for all of us is the psyche of those who are his audience. The 'when was the last time you beat your wife' statements, if repeated often enough, lead many to question whether an assault did occur. The linking of Obama to vacuous celebrities seems a petty and juvenile strategy aimed to catch the attention and the minds of those most susceptible. We all know that there is no way to stop this beast once it has been unleashed. The ads will increase in rhetoric and frequency as we grow nearer to the election.

We have not even officially chosen our candidates yet. The debates are months off. As we look back in November over the carnage that is sure to take place, I can only wonder where yesterday's comments, approved by McCain, will fall on his top 10 list. For all our sakes, let us have the audacity to hope that the negative hype is squashed and overwhelmed.

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