These attacks from the McCain campaign are really getting more and more desperate. They hammer away at Obama for months for not having been to Iraq recently, then when he goes, McCain and his campaign hammer away at him all week for being abroad and giving a speech in another country (never mind that McCain himself recently went on a trip to Colombia and Mexico, and gave a speech of his own in Canada just a month or so ago). The man who claims that he doesn’t question Obama’s patriotism has been saying all week that Obama would be willing to lose a war in order to win an election. How is that not a questioning of someone’s patriotism? When you ask McCain, he lies and says he’s just questioning Obama’s “judgment,” not his patriotism.
Now Obama is being attacked in a new McCain campaign commercial for canceling a scheduled trip to a military hospital in Germany. The Pentagon has a rule against visits to campaign hospitals by campaign staff, so Obama could have made the visit by himself, but since his visit to Germany was funded by his campaign (unlike the visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, which were officially Senate trips), Obama’s campaign decided that the visit might not conform to the spirit of the Pentagon rules, even if might conform to the letter of the rules — or at least they decided that reasonable people might perceive it that way, so they cancelled the visit to the hospital in order to make clear that they weren’t using the troops as campaign props.
Seems like a perfectly honorable and understandable decision to me. Yet McCain’s campaign is now using the cancelation as fodder for a campaign ad, saying Obama “made time to go to the gym, but canceled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras,” suggesting based on no evidence that the visit was canceled because press wouldn’t be allowed in (never mind that Andrea Mitchell and others were complaing that the Obama campaign would not allow them to join Obama in his visits with troops in Iraq, and never mind that the clip in the ad showing Obama at the gym was in Kuwait, not Germany, and the clip shows that Obama was actually visiting with troops at the gym.) So I ask, which one of these campaigns is exploiting those wounded soldiers for political purposes? And does anyone seriously doubt that if Obama had visited the military hospital, the McCain campaign would have indignantly accused him of exploiting wounded troops by visiting them on the campaign leg of his trip?
I have no idea if these increasingly ridiculous and manufactured attacks will be effective — sadly, they might actually work — but from my point of view, they look like serious desperation. (Unfortunately, things done out of desperation sometimes work. Just ask Doug Flutie.) If I were Obama’s campaign, I would start pointing out loudly and repeatedly that McCain seems to have nothing positive to say about himself except that he supported the surge, so his main campaign strategy has become ruining the reputation of a man who, like McCain, chose to dedicate his adult life to public service. I would also point out the numerous times when John McCain has said he would run a respectful campaign on the issues. This kind of frivolous smearing is neither respectful, nor on the issues.
I used to think that John McCain was an honorable man with political views that I happened to strongly disagree with. I don’t know if that was true at the time or not, but if it was, then he has traded away his soul in exchange for the chance to stay viable in this election. It’s nauseating. When I heard him say, “I’m John McCain and I approve this message” at the end of the advertisement, I really felt sad. It will be worse than sad if he manages to win the election by using these kinds of petty smear tactics.