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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Must. Succumb.

I'm breaking down. In a bad way. You probably don't believe this, given some of my recent posts, but I've tried REALLY REALLY hard to keep my political mouth shut on this here blog. When I *have* opened it, I've tried to stick to the issue at hand, or more accurately, the issue at heart.

Yet, as this US Presidential campaign increases in intensity, I can't take it any longer. I fold.

I simply must blog about my sincere distrust and disgust of the Republican campaign. I am so fearful of a McCain/Palin victory, that I've noticed my heart palpitating when the scary thought crosses my mind.

So, today, since I'm really busy and won't have the time to articulate a post of my own, I am going to steal the words of Washington Post reporter, Ruth Marcus. Thanks Ruth. The campaign LIES and propaganda are starting to make me throw up in my mouth.

I thought that Ruth's article was relatively non-partisan. She's calling it as she sees it. I can only hope that the rest of y'all are seeing it.

True Whoppers
By Ruth Marcus Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Washington Post

Economists are not generally known for their lyrical phrasing. But the other day, one told me something about the election that has stuck with me: He cautioned against succumbing to the "symmetry of sin."

This unexpected snippet of political poetry, from a Democrat advising Barack Obama, was prompted by my expressed desire to hold both campaigns accountable for their lapses from good policy and honest argument. At which point my eloquent economist invoked the lure of false symmetry.

He was peddling a self-interested, but important, point: All campaigns fall short, but some fall far shorter than others. And it is a phony evenhandedness, comfortable for journalists but ultimately misleading, that equates these failures without measuring the grossness of their deviation from the standard of decency.

In the 2008 race, and especially in the past few weeks, the imbalance has become unnervingly stark. Ideological differences aside, John McCain's campaign has been more dishonest, more unfair, more -- to use a word that resonates with McCain -- dishonorable than Barack Obama's.
Both candidates are guilty of playing trivial pursuit in a serious season, campaigning from gotcha to gotcha. Obama also has eagerly taken every cheap shot -- McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years, doesn't get the economy, can't count his own houses. Neither candidate is running the honest, confront-the-hard-questions campaign he promised.

McCain's transgressions, though, are of a different magnitude. His whoppers are bigger; there are more of them. He -- the easy out would be to say "his campaign" -- has been misleading, and at times has outright lied, about his opponent. He has misrepresented -- that's the charitable verb -- his vice presidential nominee's record. Called on these fouls, he has denied and repeated them.

The most outrageous of McCain's distortions involve Obama on taxes. He asserts that Obama's new taxes could "break your family budget," and that an Obama presidency would inflict "painful tax increases on working American families." Hardly. Obama would lower taxes for most households, and lower them more than McCain would. The only "painful tax increases on working American families" would be on working families making more than $250,000.

Likewise, the McCain campaign has its story about Sarah Palin, and it's sticking with it -- facts be damned. She said "thanks but no thanks" to that "Bridge to Nowhere," except that she didn't: She backed the bridge until it was unpopular, then scooped up the money and used it for other projects. More than a year after McCain began railing against the bridge, Palin, then a gubernatorial candidate, said the state should build it "now -- while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."

Palin sold the gubernatorial jet, on eBay and for a profit -- except that she didn't. She didn't take earmarks as governor -- except for the $256 million she sought last year, and the $197 million wish list for 2008.

Every hard-fought campaign is in some sense a struggle between the id of political consultants driving for a victory and the superego of policy types who worry about having to govern with the consequences of campaign rhetoric. Every campaign calls on the candidate to calibrate, at some point, how far he is willing to go in pursuit of the prize.

No candidate has felt this tension so keenly, or written about it as movingly, as McCain. In his memoir "Worth the Fighting For," McCain describes the sickening sensation of renouncing his views about the Confederate flag to curry favor with South Carolina voters in 2000 -- "reading it as if I were making a hostage statement."

He wrote that his "theatrics" were designed to "telegraph reporters that . . . political imperatives required a little evasiveness on my part. I wanted them to think me still an honest man, who simply had to cut a corner a little here and there so that I could go on to be an honest president."
Sitting on the couch with the women of "The View" last week, McCain offered a litany of excuses for his conduct this time around: Obama's ads are hard-hitting, too. The tone wouldn't be so negative if Obama had agreed to more debates. McCain's own lipstick comment was different because he was referring to health care.

You had to wonder: Are there any corners left for McCain? Is there any reason to trust that a man running this campaign would go on to be an honest president?


sonic_life said...

You aren't the only one whose humours have been stirred by the campaign.

I was initially excited to see John McCain run. I thought that he got a raw deal back in 2K, and expected him to run a clean campaign. Oh well, hey?

More disappointing to me than the incredible lying (!!!) is that the Republicans have totally stopped trying to persuade people with policy.

Instead, they're selling a muscular (and delusional) image of Joe America as an entirely self-reliant pillar of strength.

And they're going to win because of it.

They're going to win the Presidency with quips and the not so subtle implication that people are leeches/deviants/blasphemers for voting Democrat.



tardis said...

Okay, you know I'm not big on politics, but I wouldn't want to be taking bets just yet on who's going to win the election. What we need is a good 3rd party candidate, or better yet, abolish the party system altogether.

As for the bad reports about McCain and Palin, there's just as many out there about Obama. So who's really bad? I'm afraid we have a tendency to believe the reports that agree with our own political leanings, whether that's conservative or liberal. If it doesn't agree with what we think, must be political hogwash.

"There's 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." And the politcal spin doctors are adept at lies, damned lies and skewing the statistics.

And sorry, but the press really isn't any better. Unbiased reporting just isn't happening these days. It's all about getting the most sensational story for tv ratings or newspaper readership.

Perhaps the problem with campaigns & politcial promises is that once you get into politics, you don't know how to tell the truth any more. They most certainly seem to forget they're supposed to be following the will of the voters, not the lining of the pockets and doing the will of the lobbyists.

Politicians & reporters... for the most part the truth isn't in either one of them. Just getting elected and getting the story.