I’m not sure why this particular ad offends me more than the slew of other really awful character attacks. But it does:
Maybe it’s because Obama is so incontrovertibly right on this issue – we should rely on troops rather than indiscriminate air power whenever possible – that it’s hard to fathom how anyone could disagree. Maybe it’s because his remarks are so willfully ripped out of context. Then again, neither tactic is unprecedented during a modern political campaign, so it’s probably the sheer callousness of the McCain’s camp’s approach to civilian casualties that gets my goat.
Mike Murphy – a former McCain adviser – wants the Republicans to ditch negative attack ads in favor of a more issue-oriented message:
For the last nine weeks the McCain campaign has tried win by raising Obama’s negatives. Ads have attacked, McCain and Palin has have attacked. This has failed. Over the top negative attacks and a campaign message that too often seems to be little more than sarcasm and suppressed anger has damaged McCain’s priceless and hard earned “brand” as a different kind of Republican. McCain’s best option now is to ditch the chainsaw and offer a scared and angry country what it badly wants; hope and leadership.
The media will always bleat on about the “increasingly negative” tone of each subsequent presidential campaign, and candidates will invariably ignore them. Why? Well, negative attack ads work. McCain vaulted back into contention in late August with a series of spots (“Celebrity” is probably the most well-known) aimed at Obama’s character.
So why stop now? Ironically, the most plausible strategy for getting McCain elected is also the least effective way to ensure he has capital to spend once he reaches the White House. I thought this was a pithy way of describing McCain’s hoped-for electoral mandate:
If John McCain’s vicious strategy works, he’ll be elected with a mandate to not be a terrorist, to drill in Alaska and, as Tina Fey put it, to ask what a maverick might do in a given situation and do that.
This is by far the best reason to actively root against the GOP come November. One term pledge or not, McCain is unlikely to squeak through again in 2012 (by then, presumably, Democrats will have found a suitably vanilla white guy to head their ticket). Vetoing bad bill after bad bill is actually the best possible outcome of another Republican administration, as McCain’s penchant for awful legislative compromises may override whatever is left of his “fiscal conservatism.” And who knows what monstrosities thoughtful, bipartisan initiatives will result from McCain’s maverick tendencies? Any self-described conservative/libertarian should remember how this movie ends. Of course, the one area where a McCain Administration will enjoy substantial freedom of action – namely, foreign affairs – is where he’s likely to do the most damage. And while I look forward to the prospect of hearing Sarah Palin defend Outer Mongolia’s pending NATO membership, the prospect of “bomb, bomb, bombing” Iran is pretty terrifying.
So yes, I’m rooting for a McCain loss. And while I’m none to hopeful about the prospect of an Obama Administration, a few years in the wilderness will do Republicans a world of good.