Monday, January 14, 2008

Two wrongs make a right-wing attack ad

John McCain. Tireless, bedraggled, poor ‘ole McCain. He was supposed to be the one taking the high road. He knew all too well the disgusting tone that attack ads bring to the political cacophony from his experience in 2000 when then aspiring evil-political-mastermind Karl Rove posed a hypothetical question that left South Carolinians wanting to lynch the venerable senator. He was supposed to be above that, staring stoically into the wind from the conductor’s seat in the Straight Talk Express. It may be true that his excrement, in fact, does not smell like roses, however we must give some credit to the undoubtedly most moderate candidate on the republican primary ballot. He is a man of (seeming) integrity and (partial) honor, and he, of all people, would not stoop to using attack ads, at least certainly not in the primaries.

We were mistaken, it seems, since it has come out that his campaign released it’s very own attack ad LINK, replete with out of context, sloppily researched statistics about his main opponent, Mitt Romney. Mitt’s campaign has had no shortage of turds LINK flung from it’s monkey hand, but our public is over political attack ads, aren’t they? They’re tired of hearing about the bad things that other candidates may or may not have done in the past, they want to know what this candidate is going to do now, right?

Leaving that painfully moot rhetorical question aside, I love the details of this showing of poor taste. The letter was nowhere near as harsh as some of Mitt’s attacks LINK on McCain. McCain, however, feeling a little guilty (he’s obviously not a politician at heart), tried to justify and excuse the malicious mass mailing.

"The McCain campaign says that the contrast piece is accurate and fair in light of Romney's use of negative ads against their candidate throughout the primary season. 'We've been attacked enough times by Mitt Romney to justify getting out front to set the record straight,' said McCain spokesman" [source]

Earlier that week, McCain had formed a league of superheroes known as the Truth Squad, whose mission is to defend the honorable moniker of John McCain. Much like our current president, Senator McCain apparently believes that the defense against possible attacks includes preemptive strikes on those who may possibly be attacking.

As an aside, I don't want to leave the delightful dems out of this. Barack and and Hillary have been playing badminton with allegedly racist comments for the past few days. Attack ads are as common to Hillary as lead in Chinese toys but many were a surprised and quite frankly a little disappointed in our beloved Barack when his campaign went on the offensively defense regarding the twisted statement. He, like McCain, had the dignity to feel undignified and openly apologized for the nasty remarks he had been trading with Mrs. Hillary.

You have to wonder if these two are just diving into the ongoing barroom brawl only to jump back out with a little dirt on them and excusing ourselves to our humiliated girlfriend. In one fell swoop they were able to show their authority and conviction, be absolved of the abomination, and make those still throwing punches look even worse.

To sum it up: Much like every other presidential race in recent history, this one will have no shortage of attack ads. One difference this time, however, is the use of the meta-attack. Indirectly attacking the opponent by attacking one's own use of attack ads. If we can't vote for someone who refuses to use the demeaning tactic, I guess we should at least vote for the one who uses them with remorse.

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