First, isn't it amazing that the recent spate of ads the McCain/Palin campaign has released have all been a tissue of lies? While I think Andrew Sullivan overstates the idea that John McCain was once an honorable man who has sold his soul to the devil (I do not believe McCain was ever honorable for the simple reason that few human beings actually are in the technical sense, and I have yet to meet a politician who is), he gets it exactly right in the second half of his equation - McCain's campaign has demonstrated that he is morally unfit to be President. It's really that simple.
Yet, in recent memory, when have Republican candidates for the Presidency demonstrated anything but contempt for the American people, or for the seriousness and gravity of the job? While many people consider George H.W. Bush's "Willie Horton" ad the beginning of the slide, in fact one can go back to Ronald Reagan's 1984, "Morning in America" ad for the way in which Republicans sidestepped any notion that the Presidency was about governance. In 1992, President Bush actually instructed parts of his Administration to investigate Gov. Bill Clinton's travel records. Some members quit. This largely forgotten story has never been completely resolved, because it became clear in the waning days of the campaign that the President would lose.
The 2000 campaign was as dishonest and trivial as they come, with Al Gore recreated as some odd mixture of megalomaniac who was unsure of his own masculinity, a pathological liar who needed a woman to dress him properly. Yet, an even cursory glance at the facts - such stupid things - would have revealed that George W. Bush was intellectually and morally unfit to lead the United States. He lied so often on the stump, in debates, in interviews, it became impossible to keep up. The nadir, for me, was the dog-whistle blowing "Jesus is my favorite political philosopher". There was actual discussion whether this was a serious answer or not. Political journalists can be really stupid. . . .
2004, in many ways, was a doubling down. When the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth emerged, I believe the Kerry campaign trusted to press to call them out on their lies. When they didn't, he tried to, but their campaign of distortions and lies was already out there, and it was a major distraction and waste of campaign resources to work against them.
This fall, we have the spectacle of a Republican Presidential candidate who offers no serious alternatives to our current policy malaise, yet insists he is the candidate for change. We have a Republican Presidential candidate who insists that experience is a necessary qualification for high Executive office, then picks an inexperienced, unknown governor for his running mate. We have a Vice Presidential candidate who lies so often in her canned stump speech, many are no longer keeping track. We have the McCain/Palin campaign weeping profusely because - in a sane world the following wouldn't even need to be typed - Barack Obama used the phrase "lipstick on a pig".
Whether it's the race-baiting, bullshit-filled McCain ad that lies about Obama's support for a bill in the IL legislature on sex education, a McCain ad that had to be pulled because of copyright violation (the sixth time the campaign has failed that particular legal test), or the lying about Obama's tax plan (more esoteric to some people, but far more important to their real lives than the contrived hissy-fit over the whole lipstick rigmarole), it seems McCain/Palin is constitutionally incapable of telling the truth.
There is some concern that the Obama campaign isn't keeping up. I think that's true, but I also think there's a reason they can't keep up. The lies are so transparent, and they come so fast, so often - at some point they are wondering if someone, somewhere might not just call John McCain a big fat liar and be done with it. Now, Obama did it in one ad. It would be nice if the campaign took the recent potshots McCain has tossed at him, bundled them in to an ad, and just had the word "Bullshit" printed across the bottom. Of course, that won't happen.
It is impossible to keep up with this kind of thing because it is quite clear that McCain doesn't really care about the truth, about how he is perceived in the eyes of voters, or anything other than winning. The irony, of course, is McCain once tried saying that Obama would rather lose a war than lose an election. The past couple weeks have made it abundantly clear - if it hadn't been already - the real pandering opportunist in this election, who would do quite literally anything including lying, cheating, and stealing (at least in ads, so far; in the technical sense, the McCain campaign has done all three) to win, the man who has no honor or integrity at all - John McCain.
This is more than just four more years of a George W. Bush Administration. Consider how this man has run his campaign, then imagine America run by this clown.